by Shoshauna Shy
I’m almost late for my house-sitting interview in plush Glayden Hills, a potential gig I covet because this split-level ranch sports five bedrooms, enough to host all of my Pacific Northwest pals. Aside from being right around the corner from popular coffee houses and bars, it’s a brief bicycle clip from my new employment. I start at Geneva Solar next week, the one female in management, and I have only today to locate a place to live. I have to win this summer situation.
But the pedestrian moseying in the crosswalk in front of my borrowed Toyota has a churlish curl to his lip when I screech to a halt. Jeans sagging, he swaggers like he has more time than he needs plus all of mine, King of the Castle, the tips of a bandana tied about his forehead flapping at me with glee. I stare him down as he passes, and when he yells an expletive, I return one through my open window, flip him the bird, and roar on.
Ms. La-Di-Da + Hubby situate themselves in twin armchairs so I have to take my seat on a hassock in the center of the room. They whack tennis balls: what is my schedule—am I a night owl—where am I living—did I vote for Trump. I get Brownie points for mentioning how I hate to cook (saving wear and tear on their appliances) and having a sister in the city symphony, which they attend. We tour the premises laughing, and they’ve just handed me the house key when there are footsteps from the kitchen.
“Oh, Bobby, come say hello. Ginger’ll be here for us while we’re in Zermatt.”
Bandana Boy. Regret slices through me like a cold blade. But Bobby is probably not even 15 years old, much younger than I thought. I suspect that persona of scornful bravado that he displayed in the crosswalk was a charade he has yet to fully adopt under the parental roof. I tilt my head and squint. Wordlessly, he ducks out.
His mother rolls her eyes, inviting me to excuse what she presumes is rudeness. Oh, teenage boys!
For the rest of the day, I dread getting a call demanding I bring their key back.
But it never comes. And here I am, dropping my bike on the lawn of my new abode, Queen of His Castle.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Author of five poetry collections, Shoshauna Shy is not a monogamous writer but works on 7-11 pieces at one time. Her fiction has recently appeared in Five on the Fifth, BigCityLit, Scribes MICRO Fiction, and Brilliant Flash Fiction. One of her stories won a page in the Best Microfiction 2021 series by Pelekinesis Press, and she was also a finalist for the 2021 Fish Flash Fiction Prize out of County Cork, Ireland.
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