Wednesday, September 5, 2012

It Was Her Job

Every day she paced that street corner. It was her job, after all.

As she paced, she watched the cars come and go. Some cars were random, while others she could rely on better than her old, unpredictable Timex watch which still hung around her wrist with the help of rubber bands. She wondered where those timely guys hurried off to in their nice expensive cars. Those men must have important jobs. They were never the ones who pulled over and signaled for her to come to their car.

Most of her time on that corner was spent waiting or just walking back and forth. She had stared so hard at the sidewalk, she found patterns in the dirty concrete which transformed themselves into characters which kept her company as she paced and waited for her job to really start.

She had been walking this corner to that corner for almost ten years now. Every now and then, a car would pull over, roll down the window and ask the inevitable. In the early years, they pulled over more often. She was a feisty thing, denying her age to define her. The only thing stopping her from walking her corners was death.

Two blocks over her "colleague", had just met that fate after only 4 years of working the streets. She was happy it didn't actually happen on the street. No one deserved that.

While standing on her corner didn't provide the most lucrative income, it brought in enough money to almost cover the basics. That was all she could ask for at this point. She understood she was working her corners due to a chain of bad decisions she had made throughout her life. The heavy remorse coupled with a decade on the street had turned her sour.

A car pulled up and an older, scruffy guy motioned to her. As she slowly sauntered to up to his car down, he leaned over to manually roll down the window. No fancy car, no nice clothes, no GPS. As she bent over to talk through the window she felt her chronic back pain hit a new note.

"Hey! Tell me how to get to Highlands and Vista Green, will 'ya?"

Begrudgingly, she began dispensing directions to the directionally challenged. She knew she would be lucky if he parted with a "Thank you". Forget about any type of tip. Those who pulled over for her weren't usually the classiest of people.

She felt no guilt for abandoning the lost driver when she saw her John come walking up the street towards her. She could always count on him to be her first.

As he approached her, he smiled a bit and waved a little as she quickly returned to her corner. She returned the courtesy while grabbing her sign. She tried to ignore the arthritic pain she felt in her 80 year old hand and shoulder as she prepared to lift the heavy thing.

As the light turned green and she looked left and right, and walked halfway through the intersection with little Johnny while holding up her big, red, STOP sign.

Trying not to be such a grump, she said, "Have a good day in school, Johnny."

"Mmkay, see you later."

Yes, he would. She would be waiting on the corner just as she did every day. It was her job, after all.





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24 comments:

  1. Nicely done. At first, I believed as you had intended, but then I thought she was going to be one of those sign twirlers until you got to the part about her being 80.

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    1. A sign twirler! Brilliant!!! I should've gone with that!

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  2. You had me going. I was trying to guess who she was the whole way because you said there was a twist in your tweet. lol. Great story, well written. Very entertaining!

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    1. Thank you! Trying to step outside my box... it's hard!

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  3. Wow. That was very intricately written. I was feeling really bad for that prostitute..then laughed when I realized it was an old lady with a stop sign...what are their official titles anyway? I've always wish I had one when I use to walk to school..crossing the highway with my twin sister ever day was like playing real life Frogger! lol

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    1. She's a crossing guard. :)

      I can't believe you had to cross a highway! Talk about dangerous!

      Frogger! I loved that game!!

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  4. A car would pull up and ask the inevitable. I like that. I figured on a twist, but didn't imagine what that twist turned out to be. Nice.

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  5. This was so well written. It made me think of Dorothy, my own crossing guard who shepherded me across the street by my house for all of my elementary and middle school years. Love it.

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    1. I never had the opportunity to walk to school, but I was inspired by the old, tattered crossing guard I drive by everyday as I take my kids to school.

      I so glad you enjoyed it!

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  6. Oh great job! I suspected she wasn't a hooker but didn't guess a grandma waiting for her grandson after school. It would be a bit difficult to turn tricks at 80, I'd think!

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    1. Well, you never know. My husband tells me of some pretty spry 80 year old patients he has....

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  7. Loved every minute of this. I was going along with where you were leading thinking...she's got a different plan for us here and you sure did! Fantastic!

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  8. OH, how fun! And at the same time, how awful that this woman has to work at 80 :( Makes me think of those store greeters that are post-retirement...

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  9. Ha, clever! At first I just thought she a middle aged prostitute. Then, i thought she was a super old prostitute. :P

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  10. This was so good!!! You really pulled me into the story with your perfect details.
    You know what? I think this may be my favorite post of your to date.
    Awesome job.

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  11. Thrilling! The perfect short short-story, it has everything! You are a genius:-)

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  12. What a well-done post! Really loved how you twisted this. My back ached for her, too.

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  13. Randy old lady! ;-)

    It's weird, but it seems to me that crossing guards fall in two categories, those who love it too much, and those who seem worn down to this position.

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  14. I was really worried for a minute that you were going to be telling us about a job you once had!! I was pleasantly surprised. Well done!

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