My new job at Shimuzu was proving to be exactly what I needed. It was the first time since the fire that I actually felt useful somewhere. I was only a server for the time being but my boss was already planning to unleash me in his kitchen soon. But alas, my happiness was short-lived.
Nancy came into the living room while I was in the middle of telling Queenie a story about serving a very famous person their dinner. She cleared her throat loudly and once everyone’s attention was on her, she beckoned for Johnny and I to follow her to her office. “I feel like I’ve been called to the principal’s office. Are we in trouble?” I snorted. “So what do you think this is all about?” I whispered in Johnny’s ear after we sat down across from Nancy’s desk. “No clue, Val. I know as much as you do.” He shrugged. “I just figured you’d know a lot more since you’ve been so stuck up her butt lately.” I hissed at him. I was being immature, yes, but who’s to say that he didn’t deserve it? He merely rolled his eyes at me and focused his attention on his mother.
“Thank you both for coming.” She smiled at us pleasantly and stacked some papers into a pile on her desk. “It’s not like we had a choice.” I muttered to myself. She raised her brows but it was obvious that she didn’t hear me. “I’m going to need you to both come work for my company. Immediately.” She didn’t waste any time getting to the point. I opened my mouth to voice my displeasure but Johnny beat me to the punch. “Mother, I love you but it’s clear that you’ve finally lost your mind!” He snapped. “I’ve been working on my career for nearly six years! I can’t walk away now!” She sighed and leaned back in her chair. “I’ve entertained this idea of yours for long enough…you can’t make a living as a comedian, Johnathan. You’re not even funny!” He blushed and looked at me to save him but I said nothing. “The crowd loves me.” He insisted. “Oh?” Nancy feigned shock. “Then tell me a joke, son.”
He opened and closed his mouth a few times while he thought to himself. “I can’t now that you’ve put me on the spot like this.” He finally admitted in defeat. “It doesn’t matter what you say, mother, I can’t just up and leave because you want me to!” He growled. “Me either. I just started and I’ve already been promised a promotion soon!” I finally added my own two cents. “You can and will. You owe me. You both do.” She reminded us. “So you’ll work for me until I say otherwise because neither of you will ever be able to pay me back with these dismal jobs of yours.” We stared at her in disbelief. “Did you really think I’d give you a free ride?” She chuckled nastily. “If you want to leave, you can. There’s the door.” A cardboard box on the side of the road was beginning to sound appealing…but we had a child to think of. Nancy had us….and she knew it.