A Short Story on the Website of
the Red Dirt Writers Society

Sam's Boss
by Melissa Neely (Apr 2007)

            Sam was known for having the best burgers and the worst service in town. Let me rephrase that, if Sam was a doctor, his bedside manner was so bad, he wouldn’t have had any patients.

            I needed the job desperately, but I didn’t know if I could put up with his brusque, often harsh attitude. I stared at the restaurant for what felt like an hour but was probably only one minute. I gave myself the necessary pep-talk and marched in.

            To my dismay, Miss Elsie, the “town-crier,” was at the counter. I have to give her credit, though, she sure could put and keep Sam in his place. She put up with none of his nonsense. I think it was the first time I ever hear that man say, “Yes, Ma’m. No, Ma’m.” While Miss Elsie chewed on Sam, I wandered around pretending to be preoccupied. All of a sudden I heard Miss Elsie say, “Now, Shelby is perfect for you. She knows how to treat abody. Hire that girl and turn her loose, and your business will triple. This dump could use a woman’s touch.”

            I turned around, face beet-red, with my mouth open. I may have tried to stammer something intelligent, but I don’t believe it actually came out. Sam stood staring at me, then Miss Elsie, and then me, with his mouth more agape than mine.

            Elsie announced, “Well, it’s settled then. Sam, have her start tomorrow. Pay her six-fifty to start. And Girl, you be here promptly at 10.” With that, out she swished.

            Sam was left staring after her. I think he muttered, “You’re not the boss of me.” I can’t be sure. Sam looked at me, turned back to work, and said, “See ya tomorrow - 10 sharp.”

            I walked out like a zombie. How had I gotten a job without opening my mouth. I’d have to thank, or curse, Miss Elsie one of these days.

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