Filthy Rich 1

By: Scarlett Skyes


The flickering light in the ramshackle old fridge sporadically illuminated the lettuce and corn, and I had to make my choice quickly. The rust-bucket had already lost the ability to freeze food, if I held the door open too long and overworked it there was every possibility that it could stop working entirely, and then we’d be down to whatever wouldn’t spoil too fast in the cupboards. If our luck was really in it might catch on fire too and burn the apartment block down.

I decided corn would go better with rice and snatched it out, slamming the door shut. Voila! The two ingredients for the meal I would be cooking were now selected. My stomach rumbled when I thought of the kinds of things that my classmates had for lunches at school, but I had to make do with what I had.

The budget had always been pretty tight, for as long as I could remember, but it had gotten even worse a few years back when my Mom was in a car accident and had ended up needing to pay damages to the other party. The whole ordeal, legal expenses and everything, were far beyond what she could afford, so the court had ordered her wages be garnished until everything was repaid. This put even more pressures on our already frugal way of life.

I didn’t hold it against her though, how could I? She was the only family I’d ever known, it was her and I against the world. I already saw in her eyes how sad she was, how guilty she felt about not being able to provide everything that my peers seemed to take for granted, why would I ever rub salt in that wound?

I remembered one time when my pen stopped working when I was doing my homework, I had to finish the rest of it with a nub of a pencil that I had to sharpen with a kitchen knife. My teacher had phoned my Mom at work and tried to inform her of the ‘poor standard’ of my work. Judging by the pale-faced apology the teacher gave me the next day, I thought my Mom might have threatened to disembowel him or something. I knew she’d kill or be killed for me, I’d do the same for her. You could say we were close.

The bland meal was still cooking in the pot when my Mom burst through the door with a look on her face I’d seldom seen, she was smiling and had a kind of dreamy faraway look in her eye. She dropped her tote bag on the ground and slumped into the rickety couch, kicking her feet in the air like an excited schoolgirl.

“Uh… good day in reception, Mom?”

“Yeah, the SUPERBOWL of working reception,” she replied.

“Whaddya mean?”

“Guess who Attison Technologies Ltd’s newest customer is.”

“Abraham Lincoln?”

“Better.”

“Lady Gaga?”

“Who? I don’t know who that is, but it’s better.”

“I give up.”

“Cal Willis.”

“No way!”

“True Story!”

“Did you meet him?”

“Yeah! He walked right in the front door like any other person, if other people had bodyguards, that is. Told me who he was there to see and talked with me while our CEO rushed downstairs like a chicken with its head cut off. I literally mean he rushed down stairs, the elevator was going too slow or something, so he ran down like Mr. Willis had his family held captive.”

“Hahaha! He doesn’t strike me as the fittest person, what kind of state was he in by the time he got to the ground floor?”

“Not a pretty one. Bald head shiny with sweat and all red in the face. Cal and I talked for the few minutes while he was waiting, can you believe it? He flashed me this smile, I think he was flirting with me! He said I was doing a great job. Get this, he saw the picture of you I keep on my desk and said that beauty must run in my family!”

“Wow! What happened then?”

“Well… then he had his meeting and left,”

“Oh. Well, that’s a bit anti-climactic, isn’t it?”

“I’d probably have had a heart attack with anything more, Nova. My God, you wouldn’t believe the presence this guy has, it’s like everybody was terrified of displeasing him. I don’t doubt that he got exactly what he wanted out of the meeting.”

“Well, that’s pretty cool. You want salt on your rice and corn?”

“Wait, I need help.”

“With what?”

“I know when his next meeting is scheduled. I… I hope you don’t mind me saying… I’d kinda like to flirt with him again. Can you help me with choosing the right kind of thing to wear? Maybe we can borrow some clothes and make-up from somebody. You always had such a great eye for that kind of thing, you should be in the fashion industry.”

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