The New Job: Emily
Emily walked down the tree-lined streets, her white, patent leather high heels click-clacking against every red cobblestone. Her hair sparkled lovely, strawberry blonde as the sunshine picked through the looming trees. The smell of freshly-brewed coffee wafted through the air. Emily struggled to get up the outside steps of the large gray home with the black shutters, which seemed to rule Main Street in a god-like fashion. When Emily finally made it up the winding metal steps, she was hoping no one saw her adjust her pale green dress while attempting to comb through her luminous red hair with her bright pink fingernails.
There was no doorbell, just a heavy brass knocker. Emily half expected the ghost of Jacob Marley to appear from the beyond as she made her presence known to the staff inside. Emily reapplied her lip gloss and placed the tube in her white, patent leather bag. She was about to check the voicemail on her phone when a stocky Mexican man arrived at the front door. She smiled. She was a bit surprised to see anyone at the door.
“Hello, my name is Ben,” the man said with a smile. “You must be Emily.”
She sat comfortably on the large, navy-blue sofa made to look like it came out of Gone with the Wind. Ben arrived with two cups of hot coffee and a plate of caramel bars. He sat the snacks down in the center of the large, cherry wood coffee table. Emily picked up the tiny cup of hot coffee very carefully and touched it to her lips, all the while worried she would drop the coffee. A trip to the burn ward in the first hour of her first real job would not look good on a resume. It was two in the afternoon and sunny outside; she could barely see anything inside the home. Ben smiled at his guest, drawing back the thick, black curtains that covered the gothic windows, which seemed to swallow up the parlor.
Way back when, the wealth of the family was shown by how dark the house was. The darker the paint and fixtures of the home, the more money the family was presumed to have. And the Moore family was the richest in the city; they built the park across the street for their kids to play in, as well as the county hospital and Community College.
“I don’t mean to be rude, Ben, when can I see my room? This house is lovely.” Emily gave a skittish smile.
Ben lifted her large leopard print suitcase up the winding stairs. Off the first landing, there was a small room that was to be Emily’s. The snow-colored walls, sparkled with pink rose patterns; the tall black bedposts were blanketed with a white lace canopy and matching duvet. To Emily’s relief the curtains were white, and beyond them, a set of French doors gave her a fantastic view of the city.
“This is perfect!” Emily said aloud to Ben, who was standing at the door with the remainder of her things.
“It gets better,” Ben said and opened the door on the left side of the room. The heavy door with the fancy handle led to the bathroom. The toilet was adorned with a pull cord flusher, and there was a period sink and clawfoot tub. There was a floral water basin and a tiny pink bench. Emily wasn’t sure what the use of the small items would be, but their hand-painted beauty transfixed her. He left her standing on the bench, where she realized she was much taller than the mirror.
Ben called her downstairs to sign paperwork regarding her various jobs and where to send Emily’s paychecks, letters from loved ones, and other mail. She was disappointed that the checks would more than likely not be decorated with fluffy kittens wearing oversized shoes. Ben headed down the hallway to a little cubby, which was a small office-like area. Like the rest of the home, it was very dark.
The glass door was protected by swirly iron bars. The sunlight would be very welcome when getting the mail from their assigned box. Emily found a skeleton key resting on the mailbox. As she fiddled with the key, listening to the tumblers, waiting for them to the lineup, she noticed a brown spotted Great Dane that was gleefully walking down the street alongside a built, tattooed man.
The man and dog refused to walk past the mansion and instead walked clear to the other side of the street. Emily listened as the dog’s huge paws hit the cobblestone street. She collected a Sears ad and an independent sheet of paper reading “God bless you.” It wasn’t a flyer from a church; it wasn’t nicely typed and it wasn’t inviting someone to a spaghetti dinner. In sloppy Sharpie-drawn letters, the pink sheet of paper read “God bless you.”
Emily was alone that night. She had to have everything ready for the curious onlookers by seven in the morning, so it was just her, a pot of coffee, and Jon Stewart. As Emily sipped the coffee, she remembered the old barn that she and her three brothers grew up in as a kid in Ohio. There was a quiet whisper in her ear, her name being called in a soft, sing-song voice, but she assumed it was just her lonely imagination.