Last week, I started my first serial flash fiction story about a thirty-something single woman named Dee. If you missed it, read Chapter 1 here
A Beacon for the Metaphorical Penis
Beacon might have been the wrong word. A magnet was what Dee considered herself, but men of the wrong kind were an enticement to her. They exuded the pull or lure, an attraction that seemed to trip Dee up every single time. It was as if she was drawn to the jerks against her will, pulled in as if by a magnetic field she had no control over. So she was not a beacon because it was the wrong word—she did not draw them in. She was not the puller, but the pullee. Dickheads were the magnet and she was just the metallic dust they collected.
Dee scowled at the thoughts she was having. There were at least ten other items on her list of problems that she should be concerned about first thing in the morning. Nine of which would drop off her list when she found a job. But her mind kept going back to her blog, pondering the title.
Single cup coffee makers are for light-weights, Dee thought, as she placed the paper filter in the top basket of her twelve-cup coffee-maker and filled it with three round scoops of freshly ground beans. She inhaled deeply, taking in the wonderful scent. Her mind woke up a little more, anticipating the imminent caffeine rush.
She showered while the coffee brewed and didn’t let herself think about anything except what she was doing in the moment. There were too many things she had to get done and if she thought about them in the shower, she’d forget to write them down later.
Clean and freshly dressed, Dee poured herself a large mug of coffee with milk and sat at the cold metal table on her third-floor apartment patio. As always, she kept her laptop to jot down ideas and the days to-do list. She looked over the edge of her mug, sipping and watching employed neighbors scramble into the parking lot and leave for work.
It was barely seven a.m., and Dee had no job to go to, but she still kept her routine of waking early and dressing for the day. She wanted to be ready to go on the off-chance that someone called her for a last minute interview.
The job hunt was not going well. Dee felt as if full-time employment in her chosen field was nearing extinction. There were jobs for writers out there, but they were elusive and hard to catch wind of. Usually by the time she’d heard of an opening, it was already filled. For all her striving over the last three months, all she had to show for it was a dwindling savings account and a growing stack of bills.
Being independent, living in Los Angeles, and building a career in writing had always been Dees dream. But dreaming of doing something was not the same as actually doing it. Dee expected it to be hard, still it was a lot tougher than she expected.
Dee felt herself unwillingly pointed down that reclusive path—the way of the starving artist. The unread writer; that’s what she would be if she didn’t start pursuing work outside her favored spectrum. That feeling was what made her start the blog. It was her way to vent about the frustration she faced in her personal and professional life.
After a breakfast of cup of noodles, Dee took two five dollar bills from her remaining twenty-five dollar food allotment, and headed downstairs to the apartments laundry room with her full hamper and laptop.
Dee had appliance-rich friends who offered the free use of their facilities whenever she needed it, but none of them were home at eight in the morning and she didn’t want to impose. Using someone elses’ washer and dryer was an imposition, no matter what her friends said. Laundry took time. Dee had the soiled clothes and the free hours needed to babysit the machines as they worked. She could live on noodles for the rest of the week, but she had to have clean, non-smelly clothes. The only thing anybody wanted to do with a stinky person was to hold their breath and step away.
Besides, Dee didn’t really want to sit at a friend’s house. The apartment laundry room would give her privacy. Her companions knew how much unemployment bothered her, so they didn’t ask, but their spouses did. And Dee couldn’t endure another awkward silence after she answered, “Nope. Still looking,” to the innocent inquiry of her job status.
Finding a job. Jobs are something given and taken away. They are never lost or found.
The laundry room was in the back of the ground floor of the apartment building. It was the last door at the end of the main hallway, where other corridors crossed and branched off to front doors. It was near the epicenter of the drama. Where most of the younger, single people lived. They were cheaper and almost always occupied. After work hours and on weekends many of the first-floor residents would mingle in the sitting area just outside the laundry room, talking about their busy lives, their education and future prospects. They were sickeningly optimistic.
But it was Friday morning and the valuable, contributing members of society were not home. Dee was content to listen to the gentle swish of machines while taking advantage of the buildings’ free wifi.
She faced many problems for sure. And there was no end in sight. But Dee was an optimist, even when she wasn’t. And she would wisely use empty time she had to her advantage.
She would write.