It's Not So Bad
by Jaye Wells
The silent grey walls of the factory rose from the streets like tombstones etched with broken dreams. I sat across the street in a coffee shop watching the scene through a rain spattered window.
"Can I warm up your coffee?" asked the waitress. Her nametag identified her as "Gladys," and at last count she was missing two teeth.
"Sure, thanks," I said, pushing the cup toward her.
"Whatcha workin' on?" she asked.
"Supposedly, I'm writing a book," I said, lighting another cigarette. The distraction was welcome.
"Well, don't that beat all?" Gladys said. "I love me some Danielle Steel. Do you write stuff like her?"
"I'm afraid not," I responded.
"That's a shame," she said. "Well, I'm sure what you write is nice, too."
As much as I appreciated Gladys' faith in me, it was undeserved. She moved on, forcing me to face my laptop screen again. After an hour, the open document held only two words: "you" and "suck."
The blinking cursor taunted me. We, the cursor and I, both knew I'd given up. Maybe tomorrow I'd find a real job. The factory might be hiring. Assembling widgets probably paid more than writing. How bad could it be?
Then I looked at Gladys, with her grease-spattered pink uniform and orthopedic shoes. What dreams did she have as a girl? And when had she given up on them, deciding a life of serving up hash and eschewing dental care wasn't so bad?
I stubbed out my cigarette and started typing.