The Perils of Louella:

Chapter 189: Louella Quits Her Job

by A.C. Cherbonnier
      LoUELLA input the code for kale into the register, proud that she had memorized the numerical code for every fruit and vegetable sold at Giant Food. Her star-emblazoned name label told customers how special she was. But as she bagged the groceries following the “paper or plastic?” decision, Louella felt restive. What’s the matter with me? I usually like the fact that I don’t have to think on this job. Now I’m bored out of my mind!
       The customer handed Louella a wad of coupons. With the new scanning program Louella didn’t even have to remember if the items had been purchased. The process was all automatic, and error-free compared to what cashiers could do.
       On her 15-minute break, Louella ran into Isaac, the meat manager. They sipped coffee together in the windowless room. “You got over the election yet?” he asked.
       “You mean, the fact that I didn’t win, or the fact that O’Malley got nominated?”
       “Well, both, I guess! You sure did give us a kick, running like you did! I mean, the public isn’t likely to think a supermarket cashier could run a city, but you gave it a pretty good shot. I’ve got to say, I was proud of you, girl. That took guts.”
       “Yeah, but did you vote for me?” snapped Louella, disguising her annoyance with her evenly capped smile.
       “Well, I’ve got to say no, I didn’t. I felt I had to choose one of the front-runners, you know? Didn’t want my vote to be wasted.”
       “Yeah, you and about a hundred thousand other people. I don’t even think my own mother voted for me, she was so hot for O’Malley.”
       Isaac chuckled until his whole body shook. “Man, that’s harsh!”
       “The whole political scene is harsh. Sometimes I wonder if Jesus Christ could get himself elected if he came back.”
       “Hell, he’d only have a chance if he could raise big bucks and knew the right people. That wasn’t his gig. He’d probably get no more votes than you did.”
       “Well, three hundred and ten votes is more than just the disciples, I guess.”
       He laughed again. “You got a point there, girl!”
       He got serious. “So really, who you gonna vote for now?”
       “I’m still not sure. I guess I won’t know until I get in that booth. The moment of truth, and all that.”
       Isaac changed the subject. “You hear if they caught those robbers?”
       “Nope. The police had me look at mug shots, but I couldn’t be sure. I think I’d know them if I saw them again, but you know how pictures are--you can be a new person with a different hairstyle.”
       “So what are you gonna do next? It’s kind of hard coming back here once you’ve been running with the big guys, huh?”
       “I guess that’s true. I’m thinking about quitting my job and maybe going back to school. I’m thinking I’m too young to slide into middle age without trying to do something to improve things.”
       “Improve things? Like what?”
       “Oh, you know--education, stopping child abuse, keeping kids out of trouble, improving families somehow--”
       “Man, you sound just like some kind of social worker, girl!”
       “Maybe that’s what I am.” Louella was stunned.

- TO BE CONTINUED -

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This story was published on October 6, 1999.