Continued from the previous chapter, here.
Asa Pemewan shook his head to clear it. Jennifer dropped her hand and seemed to take the head-shake as a no, asking “What’s wrong? Is there anything I can do to help?”
Asa shook his head more definitively. “No,” he said, “nothing’s wrong. I was just taken a bit aback by how suddenly you made the offer. That’s all. And, to answer you, I can indeed come in on Monday. Is there anything in particular I’ll need to bring with me? Is there anything in particular I’ll need to wear?”
Jennifer resumed her seat. “Well, we ask that our drivers wear either khaki or black slacks. We’ll give you a couple of uniform shirts to wear. If you want more, you can buy them. They’re polo shirts, so you’ll probably want an undershirt for under them. I’ll get yours ordered for the next truck. What size do you take?”
“Usually a large.”
“Okay, then.” She made a note on Asa’s paperwork. “You’ll be on your feet a lot, so comfortable shoes will be good. They have to be closed-toe, though. Non-slip’s a good idea, too. Steel-toe is optional, but if you drop the mixing bowl or a box of cheese, you’ll find you want it.”
“Duly noted.” I suppose I have to go buy shoes, now. Probably slacks, too, Asa thought. “Is the cheese really so heavy?”
“Twenty-pound boxes, so more than most bowling balls.”
“I never knew.”
“Most people don’t. There’s really a lot more to getting this stuff put together than people think. You’ll learn it, though.” Jennifer pushed back her chair a bit. “Any other questions for me?”
“None at this time. I’m sure I’ll have more come up, though.”
Jennifer stood. “I’ll be ready to answer them.” She stood and extended her hand again. “Welcome to the crew!”
This time, Asa stood and shook the offered hand. “Thanks, Jennifer. I appreciate the opportunity.” And I do, although I’m hardly glad this is the only thing that’s come through.
Jennifer walked him out of the store and waved as Asa went to his teal hatchback and got in. He sat in the car for a bit after she went back inside. So I’m going to be a delivery driver. That should be interesting enough. And what happens if another job comes open while I’m doing this?
He sighed heavily and said aloud to himself “If it does, then I’ll worry about it then. But I’m not exactly swimming in job offers, and even if another comes in, I’ll see what’s going to treat me better. Nobody else is going to take my part, not really; Mom and Dad might, but they’re not hiring, and who knows what all my sister’s up to–but I’d be surprised if it was anything I could sign onto. So, yeah, I’ll be running deliveries for a while, at least. And who knows? It might be a good enough job to do.”
Asa started his car and turned back onto 411, heading west towards Pronghorn. The work of cleaning up the town continued, of course, as it needed to do; yards needed clearing of detritus and debris, vehicles needed restoration and replacement, and homes needed repair and rebuilding–and the people of Pronghorn were about each such task, plying diligently the skills that they had, even if those skills ran only to lifting and carrying. Asa drove past them all, heading through town as could not be avoided. But I suppose I’ll be relearning these roads. I learned to drive on them, true, but it’s been a while, and there are stop signs and traffic lights I do not remember being here when I was young. And I guess I’ll learn to get around quicker, too.
Asa found himself driving by the church where Anna Kerr preached, passing by it more slowly than the road allowed or that the drivers behind him enjoyed. He thought he caught a glimpse of her just as he passed it, a flash of red and green plaid, but the passing wind of a jacked-up pickup ripping by him and the blare of its horn pulled his eyes back to the road, and the receding image of the pickup driver’s upraised finger reminded him where he ought to focus. And he did focus thereupon for a while, but his mind began to wander yet again.
I probably ought to apologize to Mom, he thought. I really was an ass to her this morning, lashing out the way I did. She really was trying to help, and she did help, and I, well, I yelled at her like I was a stupid teenager again. I’m supposed to know better, to be better, to do better, and I wasn’t, and I didn’t. Why she and Dad still put up with me, I don’t know. So I suppose I’ll be working to move out as soon as I can; having the job will help, I think.
And I guess that’ll mean I’ll need to start looking at rental listings. There’s no way in hell I can afford to buy, not for a good long while, yet. But I’d guess that rental’s about to become dear, what with the Tuesday Storm ruining the homes it did; folks’ll be looking for places to live, and there aren’t as many as there were before. So maybe I’ll have to stay with Mom and Dad for a little longer, but I’ll be able to put some money back if I do, so that’ll be decent, at least.
He sighed again and shook his head as he turned onto his home street. I need to find a way to make it good. And I need to find it pretty fairly soon.
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