The suggestion box is back open, and that means a new short story each week based off the suggestions of patrons! This week’s bonus story can be found here. Thanks, as always, for your support, especially in this rough time. Here’s a teaser for everyone else, for an idea of what you’re missing.
Hugh read the email, and felt the dread welling up in his throat. He’d been furloughed for a month at this point. The owner of the small firm where he worked had promised to bring everyone back on once this dang lockdown was over with, but the fact is, revenue had dried up. They hadn’t been in the best of positions at the beginning of the year, and the owner was cutting his losses, and shuttering the whole company.
Now what? Unemployment? Hugh had heard from a number of folks that no one could even get through to figure out where their benefits were. Rent was due, and other bills–what the hell was he going to do? There had to be something.
Hugh had always been a worker–this last month just sitting at home, doing nothing at all but watch TV, he was bored out of his mind. He could at least be doing something–he wasn’t afraid of some dumb virus, and at least it would help him pass the time. After a couple of days, he found a job working at a local fast food joint. Most of the employees had quit recently–not a surprise really, but the franchise owner was a bit desperate. Hugh had worked at places like this when he was younger, to get him through high school and college, so he decided, why not? It was just temporary–once the economy was up and running again, he’d find something else and land on his feet, just like he always did.
He ended up working the restaurant on the day shift with another guy named Billy. He’d started working at the place a few months before all of this mess started, and he was one of the few employees to stay on. The work was dull, in all honesty, but at least he didn’t have to clean tables or mop up bathrooms after customers. One of them would take orders, and fry, the other ran the grill, and during the ample downtime, they struck up a bit of a friendship.
Billy was a simple guy. He lived in a trailer park not too far from the restaurant, and didn’t have the college degree, or even a high school diploma to his name. He was funny though, and quick witted–but pretty large, and rather hairy. His uniform didn’t quite fit him, and as the first couple of weeks passed by, it was getting easier and easier to see his belly hanging out from the bottom of the shirt–at least no customers could see it through the window. When Hugh asked him about why Billy hadn’t quit, he told him it was because he wasn’t afraid of the virus. “I bought these immunity boosters from a guy I know. Work great! I’ve never felt healthier–I’m not going to catch this thing.”
If you want to read more, you can find the whole story–and many more like it!–over on my patreon page.