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Friday, February 11, 2011

The Day Ginger Snapped part 13

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I agreed to meet him for lunch at the food court in the mall.

"Wait, did you really just say the 'food court in the mall'?" Linda was laughing hysterically.

"Yes, Linda, I did. Now be quiet and listen." I waited for everyone in the background to stop laughing before I continued.

Anyway, I agreed to meet him at the food court. I figured it was just a safe, public place to meet when he suggested it. I even told him that was perfect because I could get some shopping in while I was at the mall. He made some wise crack about not shop lifting that I really didn't understand, but I laughed anyway.

I was a few minutes late getting inside because I had a really hard time finding a parking space. I circled the food court once and didn't spot him, so I grabbed a seat at a table and waited for him to come find me. Five minutes later I was still sitting there. So, I decided to walk the food court loop again.

Just as I was about to take another seat, a security guard grabbed my arm and said, "Excuse me, Miss, but I'm afraid that I'm going to have to ask you to come with me."

"Why is something wrong?"

The security guard cracked up laughing, let go of my arm, took a step back and said, "Ginger, it's me. Jake."

"Oh my goodness! It is you! I guess I wasn't expecting to see you in a uniform."

"Impressive isn't it? I've worked here for a while now and I love to scare the people I know by making them think they're in trouble. Of course, it only works if I see them before they see me." Jake scanned the area for shoplifters as he talked to me.

"Well, it sounds like you really enjoy your job. You must be very happy."

"Oh I am happy. I'm the sixth person in the chain of command around here. I know all about the sales before the general public. I get a five-percent employee discount at all the shops and sometimes they even let me into the movie theater for free." Jake bragged.

"Hey, that's awesome. Congratulations. How many people work in the security department. I said, hoping that I sounded more enthusiastic than I felt.

"There's nine of us all together, but one guy only works part time. Walk with me and I'll give you the grand tour." Jake took another quick scan of the area before starting to move.

When he finally moved Jake started walking toward a set of double doors marked 'Authorized Employees Only' and I fell into step beside him.

"So, you have two full time and one part time employee that work under you?"

"Well, it doesn't really work that way," he said as he held one of the double doors open and motioned for me to enter in front of him. "The person on duty with the most seniority is always put in charge for the day. Only five people have worked here longer than I have and one of
those guys is about to retire. Right now, I'm in charge on Sunday mornings from nine to eleven o'clock and Thursday nights from seven to close."

He pushed open another set of double doors and I followed behind him. I found myself standing inside the security officers break room. There was one table with five chairs around it, a set of lockers, a refrigerator, a drink machine and a poster reminding everyone to 'put safety first'.

Jake opened the refrigerator and took out a large brown paper bag. "I hope you don't mind, but I packed us a picnic lunch and I thought we could have more privacy to talk if we ate back here. I get thirty minutes for my lunch break and I hate to waste it standing in line at the food court."

I couldn't help but smile. He isn't someone I would date now, but the picnic lunch was a nice touch and he did seem to have all of his teeth. "I love picnics. What did you pack?"

"Well, it's actually leftovers from dinner last night, but I've got some chicken and a pasta salad. I figured I could treat you to a drink from the soda machine."

I pulled out a chair and sat down. At this point I hadn't made up my mind if this guy was a loser or a winner, so I knew I had to get him talking about his life.

"Chicken is my favorite! Did you cook it yourself?" I was going to be really impressed if he had.

He started feeding change into the drink machine and pressing buttons, "I'm worthless in the kitchen. About the only thing I can do is boil an egg."

He placed the drinks on the table and started taking the food out of the bag. The pasta salad was in a plastic bowl with a lid and the chicken was on a plate with tin foil over the top. "My mom's the only cook in our house." Jake explained as he started filling two paper plates with food.

"Your mom lives with you?"

"Actually, I live with her. My dad is always joking about how they are going to sell the house and move while I'm at work."

"How long have you lived with them?" I couldn't believe I was talking to a forty year old man that lived with his parents.

"Um, all my life, they're my parents." Jake gave me a look that said that answer should have been obvious.

It was at that exact moment that I knew which side of the board his tally mark would go on.


LOSER!

"Yes, I know that they're your parents, but you had some pretty big dreams in college. I guess I expected to hear that you had become a world traveler or something."

"Oh don't get me wrong, I have been places. Most of the places I saw were on Uncle Sam's dime too. I ended up leaving college mid-semester my junior year and joining the Army. At the time, I thought I was going to make a career out of the Army, but things changed and I ended up leaving after ten years."

"Ten years? That is impressive. What made you leave college to join the military?"

"Actually, I was asked to leave college. I was on academic probation and I got caught in one of the buildings after hours. They thought I was there to try and steal test answers, but really I was just drunk and looking for a bathroom.

"If you needed a bathroom why didn't you just use a tree or the water fountain on front campus like all the other drunk guys did?" I questioned him.

"OK, you busted me." He held out his hands like he wanted me to put handcuffs on them. "I was looking for test answers. It wasn't my fault though. I was doing it on a dare." Jake laughed as the memory came back to him.

I almost chocked on my chicken when he said that. "I'll just bet you were! So, tell me why you ended up leaving the Army when you were half way to retirement."

He shrugged his shoulders. "Burn out mostly. I didn't make rank a couple of times because of my attitude and once I even got busted back down to private because of a disagreement I had with an officer."

"That must have been some disagreement. Did you decide to leave the military or did they ask you to leave?"

"That's not important now. I'm here and I have a great career. What more could I ask for?"

I took that as a sure sign that he had been put out of the Army. "Are you seeing anyone?" I couldn't help but ask.

"I'm still playing the field and weighing my options. I meet all kinds of women working here so I'm never without a girl on my arm for too long. How about you?" Jake asked between bites of chicken.

"I just ended an eight year relationship. It still burns so I don't care if I never have another man in my life or not."

"Oh come on, you don't really mean that. He just wasn't the right one. You still look Okay, you can find someone else.."

I had to remind myself that he actually thought he was paying me a compliment when he said that I looked 'Okay' so that I wouldn't kick him under the table. "Thank you for that vote of confidence." I still wanted to kick him!

"I tell you what, I get off early today. Why don't you come over and spend some time with me tonight. It's spaghetti night and no one makes spaghetti better than my mom. Plus, my dad just got this new big screen plasma TV and he'll let us order a movie from In Demand."

This poor guy actually sounded like he thought that offer would impress girls. No wonder he's single.

My desire to kick him completely disappeared and I just wanted to kiss him right on the mouth. "I wish I could, but I have other plans."

"Well Okay, but if you change your mind you know where to find me." Jake wiped his mouth on a napkin and started to clean up the table.

I stood and walked to the door. Before I left, I turned and blew him a kiss. After all, I did say that he still looked Okay.

8 comments:

  1. I try to smile at people when I'm shopping. It is interesting to see the responses!

    Thank you for the word art. And bring on the story!

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  2. Thank you so much for this post. I want to let you know that I posted a link to your blog in CBH Digital Scrapbooking Freebies, under the Page 8 post on Feb. 11, 2011. Thanks again.

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  3. thanks for another fab instalment :)

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  4. Just a quick note to let you know that a link to this post will be placed on CraftCrave in the DigiFree category today [12 Feb 12:00am GMT]. Thanks, Maria

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  5. Thanks for another chapter... will wait for more!! Love this word art. Thank you. Have a great weekend.

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  6. Just a quick note to let you know that a link to this post will be placed on CraftCrave in the DigiFree category today [12 Feb 10:00pm GMT]. Thanks, Maria

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  7. Thanks for another great chapter, Ginger. I don't know how you come up with this off the wall stuff. LOL!

    I love the word art. Thank you.

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  8. I love your WA! It's always wonderful. Thank you.

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