“I can’t, Debbie. My feet are killing me.”
“If we’re late, Mr. Jensen will have our jobs.”
Who’d want them? Filing was the world’s dullest job. Still, she couldn’t afford to be fired. The rent was late, the credit card maxed and the utilities were scheduled for shutoff. Only twenty years old and her life had been reduced to a mindless job and a cramped studio. No surprise that stress killed people in their forties. It would probably be her fate, if her sore feet and aching back didn’t do the job sooner.
Several more hours of filing did nothing to relieve the pain. She looked longingly at the bus stop and hopefully searched the bottom of her purse for change. No ride today. She limped home and grabbed the mail before tackling the six flight climb. A delivery man was using his knee to knock on her door. His hands were occupied with a huge fruit basket and an exquisite arrangement of flowers.
“I think you’ve got the wrong apartment.”
Then these are for you.”
She set the baskets on the rickety coffee table and flopped onto the sofa, carefully avoiding a protruding spring. She sank her teeth into a juicy pear. Might as well have a little pleasure while she reviewed today’s demands for payment. Another notice from the utility? No, an overpayment refund of almost four hundred dollars. Obviously a mistake, but maybe they wouldn’t catch it. The credit card was next. She could use the refund to shut them up. No need for that. Her limit had been substantially increased. A dream? She pinched her arm. Ouch! She turned on the television and found her cable service restored. The phone, silent for over six months, produced a dial tone. She used it to order pizza and wings. It had to be a dream. She didn’t care. Her waking hours weren’t nearly as enjoyable.
The next day brought a bank statement with a six figure balance. Cleo skipped work and went to the mall. She stopped to purchase a lottery ticket on the way home. It would be a shame to waste this lucky streak. Two days later she was the sole winner of the Mega Millions lottery. Life had been good since then.
Cleo relaxed in the huge tub, surrounded by a mountain of bubbles. Clara handed her a glass of wine and lit the candles.
“Anything else Miss Cleo?”
“Yes, I’d like to join Arnold in Paris for supper.”
“Of course, Miss Cleo. I’ll tell the pilots to prepare your jet.”
Nurse Davis turned to the trainee.
“This is Cleo Collins. Been here for over fifteen years. She was found hunched behind a file cabinet at her workplace. She’s been like this ever since. The doctors have tried several treatments, but the catatonia has persisted.”
“Perhaps, but notice that Mona Lisa smile. She may be far away, but I think she’s happy. It’s more than I can say. My feet are killing me.”
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