Gritty Details

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Saturday's Storyteller: "Sam thought today was going to be easy. Sam was wrong."

by Belinda Roddie

Sam thought today was going to be easy. Sam was wrong. In fact, Sam wound up getting fired from her shitty nine-to-five office job because her boss, Giles, had a stick jammed so far up his ass that whenever he talked, he spat out splinters. Also because Sam couldn't type up a proper credit card fee form even if held at gunpoint, but still. Spitting out splinters, man.

So Sam packed up a single cardboard box of office supplies, like in the movies, and got into her old Subaru and sat in 4 PM traffic all the way back to her condo, where her wife sat sifting through bills and their pet cat Oscar left the litter box smelling worse than the dumpster just below their bedroom window. Sam's wife always cared about money. Now Sam was going to get what for, given that she had fucked up a job that at least brought enough money for rent and groceries.

Sam thought her wife would be reassuring and comforting. Sam was very wrong. Nina was furious, and she screamed and cried more than Sam had screamed and cried on the drive away from her old job. The two didn't speak to one another, but at least Oscar decided he'd pay some attention to Sam as she sat cleaning mascara off her face and ate microwave popcorn in front of the TV. How was it that her cat was more therapeutic than her wife was?

And then the phone rang. Bad news about Sam's father. His heart was giving out on him, and the doctors said he didn't have much time to live, medication or no. Sam felt that the corner of the living room was safer than the rest of the world now. At least it had boundaries and edges to close her in. That way, everything bad could feel farther away.

Before she could head to the hospital, Sam got another earful about budget bullshit from Nina, and then she grabbed her keys and went back to her Subaru, just in time to hit 6 PM traffic to the facility where her dad was. Her dad was thin and pale, and he had always been bald, but his lack of hair seemed more obvious and distinct now. He was stuck with so many needles that he almost looked like a suburban voodoo doll. Sam sat next to him and squeezed his hand.

The first thing her father said: "Did you get fired from that shitty job yet?"

"Yep."

He didn't blink. "Did you divorce your bitch wife yet?"

"No."

"Why not?"

Sam sighed. "I don't want to fight over Oscar."

"That damn cat. I'll adopt him. Fuck it. I'll write in my will that he's all yours."

"Not how it works, Dad."

This time, Sam's father looked at her. His eyes were watering, and she could swear that she could hear his slowing heartbeat. "You make the right life decisions, you hear, Sammy? I left your mom too soon. I stopped living well too soon. You make the right life decisions, you hear?"

"I'll try, Dad."

"No. Fuck, no. Do not make me go Yoda on you, young lady. You live, or you don't. Simple as that."

"I've had a bad day, Dad."

"Congratulations. I'm having one that's much worse."

They both found a way to laugh.

After her father died, Sam packed one suitcase and drew a hand flipping Nina off on the whiteboard.

She was going to have a much easier day.

This week's prompt was provided by Chris Morton.

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