I kept my plastic turkey in hand when I purchased the forty dollars of cheap wine from Josulya Sin Wagon, the cheapest booze shop on my block. The man behind the counter didn't question my five bottles of shameful wine and the turkey; I didn't question his legal residence in this country. He didn't card me either as I handed him my fifty dollar bill, and I appreciated him for it.
I balanced the two bags of wine and the turkey beneath my arm as I exited the store when the man behind the counter wished me a happy turkey day in a very thick accent. I waved to him and ran down the street to my apartment.
Inside, I set Lucifer the Turkey next to my computer after tearing open the first bottle of wine. Not bothering to fetch a glass, I poured the over fermented beverage straight into my mouth, wiped with the back of my sleeve, and opened up my resume. Thirty minutes into the charade, I hadn't bothered typing anything; instead, I began singing my employable credentials to Lucifer.
The knock at the door threw me for a second, but I didn't stop even when Molly and Bea kicked open my door and gawked.
"How drunk is she?" I heard Bea whisper.
"You wish you knew!" I fell back onto my bed and hugged the turkey.
"Kate, what are you doing?"
"I'm writing my resume. My ass got fiiiiiired this afternoon!"
Bea hid her eyes with her hand and backed away from my room.
"What did you do?"
"Seduce all the ugly men; Edward was jealous."
"You wouldn't care, Molly." I talked through Lucifer the Turkey and she slammed the door behind her.
Resolving that sprawling on the bed would accomplish nothing, I returned to my laptop and gazed at the screen. Deleting the line about needing to work at The Enquirer to better enrich my creative abilities, I filled its space with, "Previous job experiences- Professional Bull-Shitter, Official Worst Lay of New York Area, Pathetic Mistress Extraordinaire."
Well that wouldn't work; "extraordinaire" was far too arrogant.
Three days later when my blood alcohol level had not yet fallen below the legal limit and I had not showered since I brought home Lucifer, Molly forced me out of my apartment in my pajamas and suggested I stay out until I make myself useful. Truly, Molly had no place to kick me out of the apartment that was leased under my name, and I was almost positive she just wanted to steal the turkey, but I was too tipsy to do anything about it. Before shutting the door, she tossed my wallet and my keys at my feet and told me to find something lacy and black.
After regaining balance, I was torn for how to spend the next few hours of my day. I began wobbling toward the Brooklyn Bridge so I could cross over to Long Island, grab some coffee and kill the lingering throbbing in my head. Halfway across the bridge, I finally realized that I hadn't bothered to shower or shave since my drinking binge had begun. The sensation of leg hair rubbing against my pajamas was driving me absolutely mad, but I kept going; Molly would find some way of not letting me back in unless I was gone at least two hours.
I staggered into the first coffee shop I found and demanded a triple espresso immediately. Upon receiving caffeinated satisfaction, I turned around to hear a small girl behind a large acoustic guitar perched on a stool. With the most petrified smile, she forced out her lyrics and ignorantly plucked her strings.
"Jesus, no wonder she's only playing in coffee shops in the morning," I settled into one of the cushioned easy chairs in the center of the shop.
"I think her lyrics at least have potential," I lanky man slipped into the chair in front of me and smiled. "Don't you think?"
"Honestly, it's only noon; I'm far too sober to appreciate her whining. And anyway, even if I weren't my head would be throbbing too much from her retched playing to be able to recognize how juvenile her words are."
The man laughed, "Geez, you're harsh."
"I do what I can."
His head tipped slightly to the side as he planned his next proposition. "Do you always have such strong opinions about music?"
Unfortunately, "I had a little musical exposure in my day."
"Have you ever considered publishing your critiques?"
I stared at him, partially convinced I was so hung-over I was hallucinating. Suddenly nervous, I pulled back the knotted hair on the side of my head and cleared my throat. Do I mention the black-eye of journalism as a former career? "I've considered it."
He reached into his blazer, producing a small card. "I'm starting a new music journal. So far we've only published two issues, and we are desperate for fresh minds. Think you may be interested?"
I was utterly speechless. "I'm sorry what was your name again?"
He was slightly embarrassed, "I'm sorry, I'm John."
"Well, John," I realized at that moment I looked like a homeless beggar, "I would love to write for your magazine. There's nothing I enjoy more than forcing my opinions on others." I heartily laughed, despite the brutal honesty in my statement.
He shook my hand, perfectly pleased with himself, and invited me to show up at nine tomorrow morning for bagels and a staff meeting. There, he told me, I would most likely receive my first story assignment.
Boundless excitement shot through my veins as I watched him exit my new favorite coffee shop. I turned to the helpless girl on the stool with the guitar and gave her the thumbs up. My gesture, of course, when unappreciated because she had no idea I was thumbs-upping her musical dimness. I ran out of the shop and across the bridge. Not only did I need to shave my legs and wash my hair, I had to pull all of my business attire out of the trash-heap in the kitchen since I finally had use for it again.
Monday morning, I skipped into my new office. Shocked by the absolute beauty of its white walls and absence of shitty journalistic failures, I ran to the closest wall and began kissing. One of the secretaries rolled her eyes at me and reminded me that John was waiting with the others in conference room B.
I parted ways with the wall, straightened my skirt and calmly sauntered into the room B where a small round table of equally enthusiastic journalists eyed me.
"This is our newest addition to the team," John gestured toward me and the audience mumbled salutations.
"I'm Kate Murdoch, hi." I grinned wildly and took the only empty seat.
John dished out assignments, and of course the good ones went first. I watched as eager journalist by eager journalist nodded and took notes of their next story before slowly leaving the room. Not only was this behavior foreign to me, exiting the conference before the conference was over, but I feared that because I was the only one of two remaining in the room that I would be stuck, once more, with the shitty job of string reporter.
"Kate, I want you to write a small expose on a new artist," Oh exciting! "From what I hear he's pretty decent but a little outdated. He plays every Wednesday night uptown. I expect a rough copy on my desk by next Thursday."
I froze at the mention of Wednesday.
No. This was all a big coincidence. It had to be.
"I'm sorry, where is he playing?"
"Some jazz club uptown. The name escapes me right now, get back with me at the end of the meeting and I'll give you directions."
I closed my eyes. God damn it.