Saturday, October 3, 2009


In the Chuck E Cheese parking lot, other employee cars were already scattered about as Melanie maneuvered into a space. The conversation in the red Jetta turned from carefree chitchat to complaints about work.

"Man," Kenneth lamented, while getting out of the car, "these closing, opening shifts suck ass."

"Tell me about it, I'm starting to feel like this is my second home, " Melanie joined in as she protected her Jetta with the press of a button; tow honks and a flash of red light confirmed that her car was safe. "I should just start camping out here."

"Ha! Why not?! This place has everything we need; food, bathroom, an endless supply of fountain drinks and best of all, the comfy ball crawl we can sleep in," Kennethjoked while pulling out another cigarette.

"Well, if you comfy you mean I'll end up waking up with a stiff neck because I'll have plastic balls as my mattress, then sure why not. Hey mind if i bum one?" Melanie asked.

"Sure kiddo," Kenneth replied, extending his pack towards Melanie while giving her a knowing look. He noticed Melanie was bumming more and more cigarettes from him lately and while feeling hypocritical, he silently objected to the habit that Melanie was picking up from him. "This summer rush is crazy' I never new that kids could be so out of control."

"It's more like the parents that are out of control," Melanie retorted between drags, "I mean what normal parent would let their seven year old child stay out until we close at 11pm, and then keep them here for another half an hour because they can't make up their minds about what toy they want? It's absurd if you ask me."

"Yeah, uh-huh," Kenneth responded while looking down as he dragged his feet on the gravel. "Well at least their parents are with them that late at night." He heard Melanie say something, but he wasn't listening anymore, his mind was occupied with the lyrical rhythm that calmed the bubbles that were on the verge of boiling over.

and I am going home... where? The land of the lost souls
Feeling the loneliness that really only exists in abandoned foster homes
How many images of missing kids can be fit onto a milk carton?
Framed, they're starting to look the same
Starting to say his name, and claim privileges
As if they found HIM!
The strangest little kids surrounding the circle of false friendship
Rings of fire are connected at the elbow
Cause they're tired, moms unexpectedly let go

"...once in awhile, on special occasions I could stay up past my bedtime, but that was only until 10," Melanie continued. "Hey Ken, you there?" Melanie waved her hands in front of Kenneth's face.

"Oh, hey, I'm here," Kenneth answered unconvincingly, then paused before cocking his head and turning on his heels, "Hey kiddo, you hear that singing?" Although Kenneth was purposely changing the subject, he was curious to know if Melanie heard the throaty rendition of what sounded like a 70's disco song.

Melanie paused to listen, "Actually, now that you mention it, I do." They scanned the somewhat deserted parking lot until their eyes spied their coworker George marching to the beat that blared into his ears from huge head phones, singing and smiling.


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