“I need to call in sick tomorrow. Pass me the phone.”
The couch smelled like sweat. There appeared some vomit stains that were smeared near where Pamela laid her head. Judy felt sick to her stomach. As she handed her the phone she couldn’t help stare at Pamela’s flushed face. She had refused to go to the doctors. Her persistent sweating got Judy scared. Who knew when the last time she took a shower. Pamela was on her couch completely naked and unashamed of herself. Judy was sure that she was doing drugs. Her legs were wide open, one had fallen off of the couch leaving her unstable. She dared not get wind of her crotch. It appeared it had been used vigorously without wash, leaving a rash looking mark near her crease.
“Hello? I… I’m not feeling well and won’t be in tomorrow.” Click.
Judy took the phone from her and redialed. It was unclear if Pamela actually spoke to someone. The last thing she wanted was for Pamela to lose her job. She needed a place to stay and Pamela’s apartment was it. After speaking to her boss, she dragged Pamela’s lifeless body to the tub and pushed her in. Cold chilling water would wake her up. She had to try something.
“Follow me…” Pamela muttered as she drifted off.
Bing. Bing. Bing. Pamela heard the sound again. She jumped up out of the tub shivering. It was coming from outside. She was sure of it. She pulled open the bathroom window and stuck her head out to see where it could be coming from. There in between the alley was a homeless guy knocking at his tin. Why in the world could she hear that? A thought that she was losing her mind was haunting her. Judy had seen her peel off her clothes and pass out on the couch and then the binging noise was making her crazy. The book! Did she leave it out for Judy to see? Her heart jumped as she rushed out of the bathroom. Judy was no where in sight. As she got dressed, she called her to see where she had gone. The call went to voice mail. It was then that she realized that she had no history on her phone that Judy ever called her. It was like a dream, but she needed to make sure.
“Hello?” Pamela finally got through. It was Judy. She had to explain her case. It was bad food or something.
“Hi. What’s going on?”
“Nothing. I just didn’t mean to scare you. I just wasn’t feeling well and…”
“What are you talking about? Are you sick?” Her tone was of bewilderment.
“I mean earlier when you were here and saw me like this. I just had eaten some really bad Chinese food…”
“What are you talking about? I was never over there. I’ve been at school and then went to work. I’m getting off now. Do you want me to stop over? What’s going on with you?”
“What?” It was then she realized that maybe she was dreaming or maybe she is dreaming. Unless Judy was playing a joke on her, but it would be unlike her to do something like that.
“Hey, Pam? Is everything alright?”
“Um. I think so. It’s been a long day that’s all. Just making sure everyone at your end is good.”
“Yeah, we are. I’m glad you called, because I think I’m getting a promotion. Some of my co-workers are going to be moving at the new location. We’re all excited about it.”
“New location? What do you mean?”
“Yeah, my store. The owners are opening up another store downtown. It’s in a better location and some of us are moving there. Plus, I’m getting a new job title and more money. My boss loves me. You know I can’t wait to tell everyone.”
“Oh.” Pamela stumbled for words. It was her job that was expanding at a new and better location. Did Judy have the same fate.? “Congratulations. I’m really proud of you.”
Her energy was low when she finally got off the phone with Judy’s excitement. Listening to her talk, confused her even more. She wasn’t going to wait until tomorrow morning to find out about her job. She needed to know if they were still opening up the new location. She wanted to spread good news too. When her boss picked up the phone, he was silent.
“Um. I’m feeling better and I’m definitely going to be there tomorrow.” She was careful to sound upbeat to show certainty she was in a better state of mind.
“Pam. What are you calling here for? Begging for a job? You quit a week ago and now you want to beg for your job back?”
“What?” Pam almost choked. She couldn’t believe what she was hearing. A week ago?
“Look, we’ve already got someone for your position. It’s been filled.”
“Wait. I didn’t quit. I never quit. That wasn’t me. You’re mistaken. I don’t know what happened, but I didn’t quit!”
“Pam, whatever you are going through I suggest you get help. This is not the place for it and stop calling.”
“Wait! Before you hang up, what about your expansion? Don’t you need people for the new location? I know you’re hiring for that, aren’t you?”
“What new location? Look, I suggest you get help immediately and stop calling or I’ll have to report you.” The phone went silent.
Pamela couldn’t believe it. She had drunken the potion and uttered the words, then this. She had to fix things. She needed to repeat it, but near someone successful. She needed a job. If she had to switch again, it had to be her on top.