Darlene lived with her long-time boyfriend in this big old house that had been converted into four apartments. One morning she got up early to run some errands before work. She got through with her business a little quicker than expected and lit up a smoke. That's when she realized she was almost out of cigarettes. She could have gone to the store and bought another pack but since she had a few minutes, she went home, where she had a nearly full carton. She walked in and found her boyfriend, in the very bed he shared with Darlene, fucking another chick.
She'd only been out of training at our restaurant for about a week. She'd been pretty quiet and I hadn't talked to her much. That morning she stormed in with "Goddammit this!" and "That motherfucker!" that. I work with a lot of women at that job so of course I heard the story whether I wanted to or not. It was told, between curses and sobs, while we prepared to open. To her credit, Darlene got it together enough to adequately wait on her tables.
Darlene worked at my daytime restaurant Monday through Thursday lunches. On most Fridays she did some work—exactly what I don't know—for an electrician. She got paid $100, under the table, every week that she did that. She also worked two or three nights a week slinging brewskis at a small, beer-only neighborhood tavern. She got $25 shift pay, again under the table, and a free cheeseburger whenever she worked there. Plus she got whatever tips she could harvest, the amount of which varied each night from "shitty" to "pretty good."
Darlene still works for the electrician some Fridays but he's getting up in years and is taking on less work. I think maybe the recession clipped him some too. Anyway, instead of almost every Friday, now Darlene's lucky to get every other Friday with the electrician. Some months here lately she's only worked for him one Friday out of four. As for the beertending gig, Darlene's erstwhile boyfriend is good buddies with the bar's owner. She didn't get fired, she just got phased out. It happened pretty quick and she doesn't get any shifts there now.
Darlene got her stuff out of the apartment that very day and moved in with an old friend of hers. Darlene's dog Shazza moved in too. Things started out pretty cool. Darlene was hurting financially and grateful to have a place to live that she could afford. She was paying about $35 or $40 a week, which her friend was glad to get. But pretty soon the roommate got real tired of having all those dogs around. It didn't take long before an edict was issued: Darlene could stay, but Shazza would have to go.