Terry walked into the bakery in Beaurepaire village with Vani. Lee was taking a woman’s order and when she’d gone he nodded to Terry and Vani, waving them over. They all walked to a back room where a tall, thin man sat at a desk typing on a MacBook.
“Hey Brown, this is Terry, that guy I was telling you about.”
Brown’s eyes darted up and he looked Terry up and down. “You’re hired.”
“Oh, well, thanks. That was easy.” Terry smiled uneasily.
“Seriously,” said Vani, stunned.
“We need someone good-looking to bring back the female clientele. Myles has scared them all away.”
“Who’s Myles?” asked Vani.
“Fuck!” came a frustrated scream from out of nowhere.
“You’re about to find out,” said Lee with a roll of his eyes.
They all walked into the kitchen where a short, scrawny, awkward looking boy was covered in flour. A bag of flour lay on the floor, and it had spilled all over the place.
“Dammit Myles, you fucking retard!” raged Brown. “I told you not to move the heavy bags by yourself!”
“But I was the only one here!” Myles whimpered, almost on the verge of tears.
“This is why I just hired a big guy. Teddy, how much you bench-press?”
“Um, it’s Terry and about two twenty-five.”
“I don’t really know what that means but it sounds impressive.”
“Well, it’s two plates,” said Terry with unmasked pride.
“I don’t know what that means either,” said Brown. “But I’ll assume it’s a lot. From now on Teddy does all the heavy lifting! And you’re not allowed to touch fucking anything, shit-for-brains! Now clean that up and salvage as much as you can.”
Myles nodded and started scooping the flour from the floor back into the bag. Terry made a mental note not to eat the bread from this bakery. Brown announced that training would begin immediately and he led Terry and Vani into the basement store-room, which reminded Terry of the cellar from Cabin in the Woods because it contained not just the expected baking products but also a bunch of random shit like old dolls and furniture. He thought it best not to ask why.
“Wow, he’s already working,” said Cerise as she read her latest text message.
“Huh?” asked Tom.
“Terry, he’s working here now. I guess he’s in the back,” Cerise explained as she finished off the chausson au pomme Lee had served her. He’d been polite but curt as he took their order and Cerise couldn’t help but feel that Terry would bring a much needed boost of charm to this place.
She and Tom went over a few songs and made some good progress. It was actually a lot of fun to write with him. He hadn’t brought his guitar and suggested they go to his house so they could get some work done with his instrument. She laughed at that, pointing out that it sounded like a sexual euphemism. He laughed along and she was glad that they were friends again and so comfortable with each other. It wasn’t weird to be with him. Cerise felt very proud of herself for being able to stay friends with her exes. Even at her most tense moments with Terry they’d always had each other’s backs.
Cerise had to decline the invitation to Tom’s place because she’d promised her mom she’d go to the bookstore that afternoon to train the new girl, who was none other than Trista, her mom’s boyfriend’s stupid hippy daughter. God, this summer would be so painful now that she had to work with that annoying hipster. Oh well, at least her breaks would be fun. She’d probably be able to snag free pastries and ice-cream whenever she wanted.
“It’s fucking freezing in here,” remarked Karine as she put on her hideous pink and orange uniform at her new job at Bonne Glace, the ice-cream parlour.
“I know, but come July we’ll love it I bet,” replied Janice.
They stepped out of the bathroom in their uniforms and joined Jeremy, the creepy little man who managed the place. He looked like the exact stereotype of a pedo, with a thin mustache and a pathetic comb-over and a little pot belly on a wiry frame. He was so gross that Karine felt instantly dirty in his presence but he turned out to be a nice guy and then she felt bad.
With her experience working a cash the only things she had to learn were how to scoop ice-cream and keep the place clean. They only had about thirty flavours and she’d memorized most of their stupid names by the end of the day so no doubt this would be a pretty easy summer gig.
Jay didn’t envy Sarah ‘cause she only got to start working in June and she’d have to deal with a bunch of little kids, who would be hanging on to her every word, and laughing at her lame jokes and she’d be spending her days out on the water in a sailboat, with the sun on her face and the wind to her back. Fuck! It hadn’t even occurred to Jay to be a sailing instructor! Sarah would have a totally awesome summer and his would totally suck!
He and Karl stared into the hood of a big tractor type deal, which had broken down. It was their job to fix it.
“So do you know anything about engines?” asked Jay.
“Not yet,” said Karl, whipping out his phone and apparently googling the issue.
He identified all the parts and even started teaching himself engine repair so by the time their boss came along and started walking them through it, Karl was completely on it, handling tools like an expert. Seriously? Jay thought for sure that Karl would be terrible at this manly stuff, but nope, it was something else that apparently came to him intuitively. Jay nodded along, trying to keep up, but this stuff was insanely complicated. FUCK! Why did life always have to suck so bad?!
Shauna’s life just kept getting worse. Now her mother was dragging her to her gym, and forcing her to take a pilates class, which was utter agony. She was completely incapable of keeping up with the other people in the class, who were all old ladies like her mom. So embarrassing. As she lay on the floor sweating her ass off, the instructor yelled at her to kick those legs and shit. Shauna silently dreamed up various ways to end this sadistic woman’s life, most of them involving the entire building collapsing, which would take her out too, which was fine.
Her mother had also indicated that she wanted Shauna to get a summer job. She had no idea what she would do. Maybe run away again. But where would she go? What could she do? She’d never be able to get a job. She had no skills and she was too stupid to learn any and everyone hated her anyway so no one would ever hire her.
She couldn’t even muster up the courage to go out much less get a job. She wanted to go to bars and make friends but she knew that the more likely scenario was meeting a bunch of people who’d stick her in another porta-potty. Not that her mom would let her go out anyway. The other day she’d tried to go out just to take a walk and her parents freaked out. She was pretty much a prisoner in this house.
She might as well just kill herself and get all this bullshit over with. Except the second season of Teen Wolf was supposed to start pretty soon so maybe she’d kill herself at the end of summer.
Mike certainly didn’t waste any time. Karine met him at
Clyde’s for drinks and about an hour in he was already hinting that they should go to her place to get to know each other better. He was a nice enough guy and a decent conversationalist and had the sense to bring up her play and compliment her performance as . But when she pressed him for details it turned out he hadn’t even seen the play and was probably just repeating stuff he’d heard Terry say. Alice
So he was kind of dumb, but he was definitely cute. She put off his advances and they played a couple rounds of pool and then he walked her home. She let him kiss her but didn’t allow him into the house. One step at a time.
Terry came upstairs carrying a large sack of flour only to have Brown berate him and demand he bring the sack back down.
“But you said you needed it!”
“And now I don’t. Get with the program, Teddy.”
Terry had the distinct impression that Brown was fucking with him and had been for the past week and probably would forever. He was just that kind of guy. No wonder it had been so easy to get a job here; no one in their right mind would want to work for this asshole.
He brought the flour back to the basement and then heard yelling, telling him he was needed in the front. As he trudged back upstairs Brown informed him that when he was done with the customer he should bring a sack of flour up to the kitchen. Terry nodded wordlessly, refusing to let Brown see that he was getting to him.
“Hey sexy,” she purred, leaning against the counter. “I dig the look,” she said, indicating his long white apron and bakery baseball cap.
“Like you should talk.” Terry had once believed that Karine was so hot she’d make anything look good but her neon uniform straight out of the ‘80s was putting that assumption to the test.
“I know, right?” she laughed.
Lee walked by and ignored Karine as he carried a sandwich to another customer. As Brown emerged from the back Terry straightened and asked Karine for her order. He didn’t want Brown to know she was a friend as he’d likely find some way to use it against Terry. Karine picked up on the body language and took a fruit juice out of the nearby fridge and placed it on the counter.
“Just this,” she smiled curtly.
Terry began ringing up the order when Brown sidled up next to him and told Karine the drink was on the house.
“Seriously?” she asked suspiciously.
“Beautiful women always drink for free at Brown’s Homemade Bread.”
His smile was so creepy that Terry almost throttled him right there. Fortunately Karine didn’t fall for his act and tossed a tooney on the counter, taking her drink to a nearby table and whipping out her phone.
Brown muttered “bitch” under his breath and walked back to his dank little office so Terry went to join Karine at her table.
“So how do you like it here?” she asked. “Your boss seems like a piece of work.”
“Total shit-head,” Terry nodded. “He comes on to all the female clients in like the grossest way possible and he’s always making fun of Myles, the guy who does the baking, all saying he’s a virgin and shit. And he makes me move shit around for no reason, just to like abuse his power or whatever. It’s fucking retarded.”
“Sucks,” Karine frowned.
“How ‘bout you?”
“The Bonne Glace is actually pretty decent. I think the manager has a crush on me. He’s nicer to me than he is to Janice and the other girls.”
“Is he gross?”
“Yeah, but he’s harmless. He’s got a creepy pedo ‘stache and he sweats a lot, which is weird ‘cause it’s like minus twenty in there but still, he’s ok.”
“Still, if he tries anything, you let me know.”
Karine snorted in amusement. “What, so you can hit him? Get over yourself, Terry, you’re not my protector. I can take care of myself…” she paused and sighed. “And it’s not like you can be with me twenty-four seven. I mean I have to deal with shit like that all the time. You saw the way your boss leered at me. So gross.”
“He does that to all the chicks.”
“My point exactly. All women have to deal with that kind of bullshit all the time.”
“You shouldn’t have to put up with that.”
“Ok, well I’ll wait here while you go join a gender equality march. In like, the ‘70s.”
“Men are such assholes,” Terry grumbled. “Speaking of which, how was your date with Townsend?”
“Ok I guess.”
“He’s a prick.”
“According to you these days everyone is a prick.”
“Everyone is!” He spoke a little loudly and the two other clients in the bakery looked up from their newspapers. Yeah, newspapers. Most of the people who came here were way old.
Karine giggled and finished off her drink, saying her break was over.
“Friend of yours?” asked Brown as Terry went back behind the counter. “She’s a hot piece of ass.”
Terry ignored that comment and started sweeping the floor, just so Brown wouldn’t ask him to carry flour around again.
After seeing the hideous crime against fashion that Karine was expected to wear at her workplace, Cerise was grateful they had no dress code at the bookstore. Yet she’d swap places with Karine in a second because it’d be a lot more fun to work with Janice than Trista.
Cerise silently shelved all the books readers had taken out while Trista talked to a middle-aged woman in the New Age section.
“This one will tell you everything you need to know about homeopathic remedies.”
“And you recommend this over traditional medicine?” the lady asked.
“Absolutely,” nodded Trista. “Doctors these days only treat the symptoms, not the disease. And they only care about treating the body. But homeopathic medicine treats mind, body and soul. This book has great information about cleansing rituals that align your entire life force and keep you from getting sick in the first place.”
Cerise found the advice inane but the woman bought the book and Trista made some comment about how she was so well suited to this job.
“How many books have you sold, Cerisse?” Trista always pronounced Cerise’s name with a soft ‘S’ and it drove her crazy but she’d never let on that Trista was driving her mad.
“I don’t really keep track, Trista. To me it’s not about how much money we make, it’s about making sure the customer is happy with their experience here. I want them to feel at home, to feel like they’ve really been taken care of.” This was of course a load of bullshit but she knew Trista would eat it up.
“Oh my god, I completely agree. I really think that lady will benefit from aligning her chakras.”
You couldn’t make shit like this up. Sometimes Cerise wanted to record the stupidity that came out of Trista’s mouth just to prove to people that she really was that out of touch with reality.
“We should sell crystals here,” Trista went on.
“Yeah, we could like hang them up everywhere. They’d really help to harmonize the space.”
“Good idea,” said Cerise as she bit her lip. Truth was, her mother would probably think it was a good idea. She braced herself for the crystal palace that was no doubt forthcoming. How ironic that all of Trista’s ideas on creating a peaceful and calming atmosphere always made Cerise want to stab herself in the eye.
This was gonna be a long summer.