REPARATION

 

By

 

Kimberly Zant

Chapter One

It was early when I staggered out of bed, went through my morning routine of dressing and grooming, making coffee and toast—and turning on my computer to double check my schedule for the day.  I wasn’t a morning person by nature.  But when I’d lost my dead end job some eighteen months earlier, I’d decided that it was time to do something with my life.

Working in the food industry, I realized, was never going to get me very far. 

I’d graduated from high school, but I hadn’t been able to get in more than a couple of years of college and I still had student debt from that pathetic attempt at a career.

So I just didn’t feel like I really wanted more debt and, maybe, a possibility of a career that would pay well enough to pay it off—and maybe not.

On the other hand, I didn’t have a lot of talent, looks, or skills that made me really marketable.

I could clean, though.

My mother had been a total clean freak—really.  Not just a neat freak.  She wanted everything cleaned out right down to the germs when she finished … driving me to do the cleaning. 

That didn’t just teach me neat habits.  It taught me short-cuts on just about everything and the best, most efficient way to achieve a perfection that would pass my mother’s critical inspection.

I hated cleaning as a consequence.

But the neat freak she’d inspired in me didn’t really make that necessary—for personal space.  I always put everything right back where I got it as soon as I finished with it and hardly ever had to do anything—the occasional vacuuming and mopping, etc., of course, and laundry—but nothing that took up much time.

Under the circumstances, when the idea of starting a cleaning service first occurred to me, I dismissed it.  It kept coming back, though, as the perfect fit—housekeeping. 

Of course, there were already a couple in the city, but there didn’t seem to be a lot of competition.  And when nothing more to my liking occurred to me before I started dipping into my pathetic savings, I decided to launch.

It helped that I already owned most of the ‘tools of the trade’ that I needed.

I’d decided to call it Destiny’s Handmaidens—there had to be some use for the name my mother had blighted my life with besides making me a handy target for bullies.  Of course, I had no handmaidens.  It was just me, but I still thought it would be catchy.

The next step was acquiring clients. 

That stumped me for a little bit, but I just happened to drive by a big to-do at the swanky country club one day—because I drove around the well to do neighborhood pretty regularly to admire rich people’s houses and try to think of a way to convince them to hire me.

The flyers I’d stuffed in mailboxes all over the place had produced exactly zilch. 

Checking myself, I saw I was probably dressed as well as I could be considering my circumstances. I’d put on my newest pair of jeans—without holes—and a Poor-mart top I’d gotten off of the sales rack that actually was new except it was last season’s cast off. 

Nothing beat a try but a failure, right?

Ignoring the knot of tension in my belly, I pulled in and parked—for an easy getaway.  Close to the exit.  Then I got out of the car and strode across the country club lawn to the area where a bar-b-cue and picnic were in progress.

I got stared at.

 

Reparation

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