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Published by Sandy Sessler
short story
short story

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Published by: Sandy Sessler on Jun 11, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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LAST STOP AT THE IHOPSandy Sessler It certainly wasn’t where Vickie Moreland planned to end up. Certainly, not at her age,anyways. I mean after all, you might start out waitressing at the IHOP, and you might endyour career there, but for God’s sake, it wasn’t where you spent the better part of your working days. That’s not what her mother had told her.Vickie’s mother, Bobbie was a hard-working, hard-drinking woman, who raised her daughter alone, through no particular fault of her own. Roger Moreland had been killed,tragically, at the age of 28 while joy-riding on a motorcycle with Bobbie’s best friend,Angela. But Bobbie was a spunky, determined young woman, who was not about to let a bend in the road, detract her from her mission in life. And her mission was to survive. Shecame from a long line of surviving woman, and they would not be let down by Bobbie.She would persevere and raise her daughter to the best of her ability…come hell or highwater.Some would think she would be bitter. But not Bobbie. No use wasting your time andenergy with something as trivial as self-pity. Even if it was her very best friend that stoleher man and his life. So what. Could have been worse. And that was how BobbieMoreland made it through the exhausting days and lonely nights. It was her philosophy of life. Her life-sustaining
credo…it could have been worse.
So, that was what was instilled into Vickie from the time she was able to sit up. And if it could have been worse, then you had to be eternally grateful for whatever it was you
have.And grateful she was. For every scrap of food, for every hand-me-down dress, for everytrip to the zoo.But try as she might, she was having a difficult time being grateful for being stuck atthe IHOP. It had been 6 months since her mother had passed away from the mereexhaustion of life. Worn away by what could have been worse. Vickie missed her terribly.Bobbie was her shot in the arm; her kick in the pants, whenever she needed it. She was…her best friend. Who was there now, to tell her everything was going to work out okay inthe end? Who was there to stroke her hair, when things had gone awry? Sure, she hadKaitlin, her best friend since she was 12. But somehow, it just wasn’t the same.“Time to go,” she muttered to herself. She donned her apron and slipped her order padinto her pocket and set out for work.Vickie’s feet already seemed to scream out from the expected pain of her shift.Saturday nights were the ones she dreaded most. Once you got past the early bird dinnersand the blue hairs that left a few coins for tips (if any at all), then, the rowdy teens cameto sit for hours on end, drinking Cokes and taking up your tables only to stiff you, in theend. And once they left and the bars let out, you’d have to contend with the drunks, whotried to look up your skirt, or down your top, until it was finally time to close. Yes, it wasan awful shift, but it had to be done.
After all, it could be worse.
“Vickie, pick up!” Miguel called out, as he rang the pick-up bell. The sweat wasdripping into her eyes, as she tried to push back a stray lock of hair that escaped her hair net. She cursed the man who had ever invented those blasted hair nets. Every time she putit on, she felt like Ruth Buzzey. And it wasn’t that Vickie was all that vain. But I mean,after all, even Angelina Jolie would look like a frump wearing one.It was a particularly busy Saturday night. Some big function at the local church, sheoverheard. Oh, to be working at the Steakhouse down the road. She’d be making triplethe tips and going home far earlier than 3am. But no. She didn’t get the job. They wantedsomeone with more proper dinner experience. Well, how was she supposed to get it, if they didn’t give her a chance? Vickie was sharp as a tack, just like her mother had been.Didn’t they know it? Couldn’t they tell just by talking to her? Well, could be worse. Shecould be stuck working at Chuck’s truck stop. Now,
would be the worst!Hang on, Vickie. Sooner or later, you’re bound to get out of this place. Somewhere outthere is someone who’ll give you a chance. Hang on and serve another hundred rounds of  pancakes. Syrup on the side, please.“Vickie, can you pick up that four top over there? I’m swamped,” Tammy asked her.She was pale and diaphoretic and Vickie knew her pregnancy was not going well.“Sure, Tammy. Don’t worry,” Vickie answered, knowing full well that she herself wasalready about to go under.
 By the time Vickie made it to Tammy’s table, the occupants were impatiently lookingaround for a manager to complain to for the protracted wait.“Sorry for the wait. Pretty busy tonight,” she said, apologetically. No sympathy, here,

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