Emily got on at the Dollar Tree. She started the day after Thanksgiving. It was a hell of a day. There just wasn't enough cheap wrapping paper in the store.
Of course, she told no one that she'd stoop to this level, except Casper. Lord knows, she wasn't going to sit through three interviews at some of these places just in hopes they might let her in on the Christmas rush.
She'd so wished she'd gotten her flu shot. As it was, everyone seemed to have a cough. Some smoker's coughs. Stinky coughs. Sickening coughs. She found it hard to ever crack a smile and she'd heard from the assistant manager that she was a stuck up bitch. She didn't mean to be.
It was just hard to be nice. And for what? It was highly unlikely she'd become friends with anyone here that might pass by or she might even work with. She had a feeling she wouldn't last long, but at least she could make it on time. Stay late if she had too. And then their was Marie. This old lady who should have been in assistant living instead of working there. As if was they had her lifting things she shouldn't. It was as if they were pushing her to the limits.
Emily could hardly stand it. But Marie just smiled and did whatever she was asked. It was the first time Emily figured out she didn't want to her life to come to this, to be almost eighty and still working in a dollar place.
"So what are you gonna do?" Casper asked when they had lunch at school.
"I want to be a hairstylist. Not this hairdresser crap. A real stylist," she was talking more to herself than him. "But what if I can't cut it. What if I don't know what I'm doing?"
"It looks like you do." He smiled. "You styled my hair, my sisters, everyone in my family, practically. Maybe you could give everyone a free hairstyle where you work."
"God no." Some of them gave her the creeps. Such low lives. She heard this one guy saying he'd just gotten off house arrest that worked in the back. Why had she ever wanted to work there? "Except Marie, I'd do Marie's hair. Because she's nice. And she never has a bad thing to say about anyone. Except everyone keeps telling her how slow she is. Its awful."
"Then you should give her a Christmas she won't forget."
"She's like eighty, you know." Emily didn't mean to scowl, but she was old.
"It'll be a challenge." Casper laughed. "I can hear it in your voice already, but you can do it. Maybe she's not the only one in the family who's due a hairstyle, you know. You need to branch out more."
He gave her something to think about. Casper always did.