3. Heather [3]

“How are you, girl?” Jake said as he walked over to Heather’s usual booth. It was a small booth that only sat two. Sometimes Heather’s mother, Bella, would meet her at Lila’s and then the two would share the booth and a meal or sometimes just a dessert. Tonight, though, Heather was alone as she slid gratefully into her regular spot.

“I’m great, Jake, just exhausted,” Heather smiled at him. “Yourself?”

“Fine, fine, all fine,” Jake’s eyes twinkled. “Love is in the air, and all that. You know.”

Heather knew. Vicariously, at least. She’d watched the romance, or dalliance or whatever it was, flourish between Jake and Bo over the last three weeks of beautiful summer evenings. She’d been friendly with Jake even before, but he had seemed so droopy, so sad and sort of lost. But then Bo joined Lila’s staff, and Heather couldn’t be happier for the change that had come over Jake.

“My sister’s going to come over some evening this week,” Jake went on. “Well, I haven’t exactly asked her to yet, but I’m going to. I think she’ll like this place – and you’ll like her, too. I’ll ask her to come in the evening so you can maybe meet her.”

“Sounds great, Jake! I didn’t know you had a sister.”

“Yeah, a twin. Her name’s Amanda. She goes to Valley U. So, the usual?”

Heather nodded, and Jake bustled towards the diner’s kitchen to get her hot-chocolate for her. She stretched back and looked around the small space. At this hour, it was usually still empty, but Heather knew that if she stayed for another half hour, the place would fill up. Downtown Hartscreek was a hopping scene, and there wasn’t a night of the week when an eclectic crowd wouldn’t appear, as if by magic, at Lila’s: there were young professionals, coming for a dessert after a dinner somewhere else, or maybe just meeting up for a meal after putting their children to bed; there were club-goers, dressed in bright colors and skin-tight materials, catching some protein before a long night of dancing and drinking; there were the punkers, stocking up on fries and milkshakes before heading to the latest underground show. Heather loved to take them all in as she sat there, savoring the taste of her hot drink as she sipped it down almost agonizingly slowly.

Tonight would be no different, she hoped, as she lay her chin in her hands and stared across the room to where she knew Jake would be coming out in a moment with that delicious hot chocolate in his hands.

Paranoid Much?

I haven’t written about my clients before – both because they’re not always very interesting and because I’m not technically supposed to. I work for a credit card company, so I get to talk to just about every sort of person you could imagine: Smart, dumb, confused, annoyed, happy, thankful, nice, sweet, appreciative, secretive, and a hundred other moods and traits. It’s interesting to hear the different people and the different voices, and it’s interesting to see how differently people act with their money.

Today, however, I actually have an interesting story about a client, a specific one. The call started out nice and polite – he wanted to know his credit limit and what money will be coming out of his bank account. He was very sweet, talking to me a bit about where our company is in the country and making sure we were away from any danger [Israel is in a “situation” right now.] Then, somehow, slowly but surely, he started telling me about problems he had with banks in the past.

I thought, at first, that he was just a rambler – there are some people like that, who are lonely or bored and take the opportunity to get some conversation into their day when they call us. Soon, though, he started telling me, in a calm voice, about how his phones are tapped, how he’s followed everywhere, how his mail is examined and stopped, how he’s been cheated in place after place.

Eventually, he made me understand that the sole reason for his telling me all this was because he knows our calls are monitered and recorded for future reference if needed, and he told me he planned to use the calls he makes to us in court – to prove… something or other. I really have no idea. It was rather creepy though – the man sounded so sane and on top of things, and then I felt, as the call progressed, that there was something seriously wrong here.

But who knows, right? Maybe in six months there will be a big story in the paper about this man. You never know I suppose.