Chapter Nine: Reckoning

Tony took a shower and dressed himself. Then he went to Jennifer’s living room. “You do have a nice place.” he said.

“We have to do some arithmetic.” Jennifer explained. She took a sheet of lined paper and a pen.

“What do we need to figure?” Tony asked.

“Let me see your pay stub.” Jennifer said.

Tony produced a pay stub showing $55.64 net pay.

“Now, you received fifty-five sixty-four, right?” Jennifer said, writing the figure on the sheet of paper.

“That’s right. The guy at the shelter paid me in two-dollar bills.” Tony replied.

“Now, at the supermarket, you bought a toothbrush and food for tonight and tomorrow.” Jennifer continued. “The total came to twelve seventy. That leaves forty-two ninety-four. You paid seven dollars for your movie ticket, so that leaves thirty-five ninety-four. Let me see that you still have thirty-five dollars and ninety-four cents.”

Tony counted out the money. There was $36.40. “I had thirty-six cents in change left over after I paid the guy with the car, for my ride to work today. Plus, I found a dime in the parking lot.”

Jennifer said, “Remember that on Fridays, you’re going to need to set money aside for food for the weekend, and for Monday. You can stay at the shelter, but eventually you will want to rent a room, and then an apartment. You’ll need to save up your money for that, and because if you get hired by a company, you’ll need to work a week and then wait until the following Friday to collect your pay. Since you’re a beneficiary at the shelter, they’ll cash your check. It doesn’t matter what company you’re working for, or what bank the check is drawn on. Practically all companies are good about paying their workers. As long as you keep up the good work, I’ll bring you here every day that you work, and I’ll give it to you. I will also go over your money situation. I will not give you or lend you any money. You have to earn it. And if you mess up, and have a relapse, it’s over between us. This should be a powerful incentive to keep you off cocaine.”

Tony gave Jennifer a hug. Then they got in the car, and she drove him to the shelter.

Copyright © 2004 Tom Alciere