Published by: eXtasy Books
Author : M. Garnet
Word Count :62265
Publication Date :2014-02-11
Series : #
Heat Level :
- Product Code: 978-1-77111-853-8
Is it more fun to play with shadows or let shadows play with you, especially the shadow man?
To bartender Samantha Set, he was just another customer in the out-of-the-way rundown bar located in nowhere-ville in the farm country in southern Ohio. Yet he stood out among the rough tired farmers and truckers who frequented the Four Corners. He came in quietly and took the same dark shadow hidden table to sit back and watch.
Everyone has feelings, some more than others. She was thirty-years-old and still dealing with hers. Right now, she was dealing with why she was working for her uncle in this second rate bar on the wrong side of southern Ohio. And of all things, she was working as a bartender. Funny, she hadn’t seen herself handing out beers to farmers and wiping up spilt whatever from a long wooden bar.
She had gone to college and taken two majors—one in Ancient History and the other in Accounting, which her mother had assured her would get her into a good office with plenty of young men. Every office needed bookkeepers. Nope, so mother did not know best.
She thought of her many jobs in Toledo right out of college with that shiny diploma that, in error, she’d assumed would open doors for her. Instead, she found her first job in a small bank. Hey, a bank with all that money and respectability. It was horrible, low pay with her boss trying to grab a feel whenever they went into the vault. The next two jobs weren’t much better—a short time in the back of a garage with grease on the paperwork, and then working out of a temp office that sent her for two or three days across town.
She finally got a job in a noisy office in one of the factories connected with the auto industry. She had to join the union, and that entailed some of her paycheck going to the union each month. She soon found that the union didn’t provide anything for people like her in the office positions she held. She worked in a small room with several other people. A union representative in the room, who was an older woman, took a dislike to her. She had never done anything to the woman, but everything she did seemed to make the woman angry. After a couple of years, there was a cut back and the company laid her off. All over Toledo, people were laid off. The auto industry was hit hard with layoffs that affected families all over, but especially in Detroit and Toledo.
She dated some, but mostly it was snatch, grab, and slap and then home to Mom. Mom had an idea about Uncle Roger’s business in southern Ohio. Okay, she had to do bookkeeping for the family. That was a real chuckle. Family members didn’t usually require bookkeepers or office workers.
But she was tired of Toledo. It was going the way of so many large cities in the US—a dying lady. It would take a strange miracle to save it sometime in the far future.
She knew Toledo was trying. It had added a beautiful waterfront along the river, a world-class museum, and a university to be proud of, but people needed jobs to stay in and around large cities. It couldn’t keep the job providers any longer, and it couldn’t entreat new companies to come into areas where there is no parking and the buildings are unusable.
She shuddered. Even driving through neighborhoods of neat older homes, you could see how frightened the owners were of what was happening. The cars weren’t left on the street, but were pulled into garages or close to the back of the house. Security lights surrounded each home with back up batteries that come on in the winter when the sleet knocks out the power for a few hours. There were little signs in the lawn announcing the names of the alarm company in charge of that particular home.
There was no one on the streets after dark, no kids playing games, no one walking a dog for a final evening stroll. There was a strange lack of neighbors to be seen in these neighborhoods.
It got worse. If she went over about ten blocks after dark, she’d drive through areas that made a person feel really uncomfortable. Here, there might be a few on the street, but she’d see groups of young men who gathered to look dangerous on purpose. Houses were either empty, nailed with weathered boards, or closed up with ugly gates bought at the local home-and-garden-fix-it shops to protect the families within. There weren’t as many lights because most have been broken. The advertising for drug sales hung from the wires above with the swinging pairs of sneakers.
There’d be a vehicle or two parked on the streets, but they were stripped of everything, broken windows, tires either rotten flat or long gone. The entire neighborhoods had a strange dark gray overtone to them she found hard to understand—no new paint applied to wood, brick covered with dust from exhaust and fires. There was just a feeling of uselessness in those areas.
Downtown Toledo was no longer the bustling center of shopping that it once was. Like similar cities, the large fancy stores that had drawn families on day-long shopping trips no longer could hold on to the few who had to pay to find parking spots and leave before dark.
Besides, the clothes were so much cheaper at the local large general marketing stores that were opening in each outer neighborhood that provided their own free parking.
The large stores did what many of the wiser people did and deserted the downtown center to only the government requirements that had nowhere else to go.
So Sam, like so many others from Toledo, left. Well, maybe not in the way she had pictured, but better than a lot. She had a job. Again, not what she had pictured, but a job that gave her money and generous tips.