“The problem with being roommates who were best friends and did everything together was that when one roommate was fired from her job at Mr. C’s Sizzlin’ Steaks for having a bad attitude (translation: wouldn’t let the kitchen manager grope her in the supply room), the other roommate was collateral damage.
The roommates fled to Doug’s apartment full of righteous fury and threats, and as usual, his was the voice of reason.
‘You’re students working a shitty, low-paying job for a moronic thug. The workforce commission doesn’t care. You’re not going to get unemployment benefits. You’re not going to get Yelp revenge because the public cares less than the government. Mr. C serves a cheap steak in a college town. Plus he could probably put out a hit on you. There’s nothing noble about dying young because you can’t be a server at a steakhouse, is there?’
‘Well, no,’ Amy said, but her face didn’t look convinced.
‘We need new jobs fast,’ Lindsey said. ‘Like every other student without a parental bankroll.’
‘That’s why it’s so easy for bad bosses to terminate anybody in this town,’ Doug said. ‘Amy, you pop the corn. Lindsey, you pick out the movies. I’ll go out and grab the beer. Doug’s Sanctuary offers a one-night break from studying and working.’
‘In other words, you don’t have a date tonight,’ Amy said.
‘He’s out of town,’ Doug admitted.
An entire wall of Doug’s den was lined with DVDs collected during the decades before streaming services existed, mostly from end-of-semester yard sales. With limited funds and bandwidth, Amy and Lindsey depended on him for free entertainment. When the girls were sophomores, Doug had been a TA in Amy’s English Lit class. He always wrote the best comments on her discussion exams. After the semester ended, she’d stayed in town and run into him and his boyfriend at a poetry reading. They invited her to join them for a glass of wine afterward, and by the end of summer, she and Doug were solid friends. The boyfriend exited just before Lindsey came back to town, and the girls nursed him through a short mourning period.
Two years later, they’d stopped counting the number of bad dates, lost boyfriends, crappy job experiences, bad classes or bad teachers that the wall of movies had barricaded them against. Doug was working on his dissertation; Amy and Lindsey were edging toward graduation and the so-called “real world.” Neither was sure where Amy’s English degree or Lindsey’s degree in Design and Theater Tech would take them.
It was because of Lindsey’s theater background that Amy usually got to pick the movies. Lindsey gravitated toward anything with music in it. Amy preferred romantic comedies or dramas based on literary masterpieces. Doug liked thrillers.
Both Amy and Doug rolled their eyes when they reconvened and saw Victor, Victoria and Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.
‘We’ve never seen them,’ Lindsey defended her choices.
‘I’ve seen everything,’ Doug said. ‘But no worries. This is your night.’
‘I’ll allow it,’ Amy said. ‘After all, you were the one who was manhandled among the industrial cans of condiments. You earned your musicals.’
In their personal history, the night would always be referred to as when drag queens and impersonators inspired The Great Idea. Two broke college girls, in need of a job, pretending to be two sassy boys pretending to be divas in costumes and wigs (“on loan” from the theater department), lip-synching and trash-talking for tips at every club and LGBTQ event that would let them perform. Amy masqueraded as Andrew who morphed into Miss Prissy Paisley Pants. Lindsey transformed into Lucas who morphed into Princess Sparklebutt. Doug became the secret-keeper who morphed into their Pepto-Bismol swilling manager.”
I take photos. I write. Mostly I only take photos of Rescued Pets Movement’s rescued dogs and cats. Since working and volunteering don’t leave me a lot of time to write, I’m spending 2017 borrowing from what these dogs and cats are writing. They said it’s okay.
Parts of Polly’s story were inspired by a donation to my fundraising team for the 2017 Saving Pets Challenge.