Unemployed

by Specs4ever

Ok, well here is another story. I was going to call it Adrift In A Snowstorm, which you will see from the tale is a pun on words, but since I am temporarily Unemployed, I am calling it

UNEMPLOYED:

It was a very cold, gray winter day, and it had snowed all day, sometimes heavily. Jack was sitting alone in the office waiting for his boss who was bringing his paycheck. His boss had probably been delayed by the bad weather. Jack had finished all of his work. He had unloaded the big trailer, placing the freight in neat rows on the dock, all sorted, palletized and ready to go on the smaller delivery trucks for Monday morning. Then, he had given the interior of the cab of his truck a good cleaning, as he usually did several times a year. But, every year just before Christmas, he always did a much better job. Memories came back to him of how he had done the same thing with his room many years ago, when he was a little boy, to impress his mom, and to possibly receive more presents from Santa. It was kind of a routine and he had kept it up even after he had found out that Santa was not for real.

He heard a car drive into the yard, and he knew that the waiting had ended. A car door was slammed shut and then his boss entered the room.

“Oh Jack thank you for waiting. I’m sorry I am so late, and I’m also sorry that I have bad news. I hate to do this, especially right before Christmas, but I have to let you go, as I can’t afford to keep you in your job any longer.” His boss continued, “Jack, it has nothing to do with you, I have always been more than satisfied with your work and you know it. But after September 11th, everything has changed and we are in the depths of a major recession. I just came back from a meeting at the bank, and I don’t know if I can hold the company together any longer”.

Jack was very shocked. Since he was almost 45 years old, it would be hard to get another job as good as this one had been, although driving positions were not hard to find if a driver was willing to stay out on the road, and have very little home time.

His boss continued, “I really feel terrible to have to tell you all of this just a few days before Christmas, but I have no other choice. Two of our major clients have gone into receivership, and they owe me a lot of money that might be lost. But, since you have been such a good worker, I am going to give you as much pay as I possibly can.”

He handed Jack his paycheck. His boss had been more than correct. He had given him all his wages for December and January as well. It was more than he had expected. But the biggest surprise was still to come. In addition, his boss handed him the ownership papers to the company’s, big old mobile home that he had been using as his weekend home for the past 5 years and told him that it was his severance package. Jack’s immediate thought was, “Wow, I have come out of this much better than could be expected.” He thanked his now former boss, and they both said the usual, “We’ll keep in touch”. At least Jack was not homeless. Actually he had saved a large percentage of the money that he had earned over the last 5 years, because he led a very simple life. He had no wife, no family to support and was still living alone, because his job didn’t give him the opportunity to build any close relationships. He had always been out most of the week and was home in his mobile home only for about one day every weekend. But now, things were going to change and Jack was thinking it was time to put an end to his solitary life. He was going to find a partner.

Jack had had short relationships over the years and it turned out that nearly all of the women he was attracted to wore glasses. It was funny but he liked women that wore glasses, the stronger their correction the better he liked them. He had talked about it with his former girlfriends and always got positive feedbacks.

Abby, his last girlfriend had told him, “Jack if there weren’t guys like you out there who wanted to have a severely nearsighted girl as a girlfriend, then what would nearsighted girls like me do? I can’t see a thing without my glasses and I can’t wear contacts either. So, I am destined to wear these glasses with thick lenses in order to see.”

They had ended their relationship almost 7 years ago, because they were only able to spend two nights a week together. And Abby just wasn’t willing to spend the rest of the week alone. Jack really couldn’t blame her, but he was very sorry to loose her.

Jack had been putting money in the bank, and he knew that he had more than enough money saved. He did not have to be in a hurry to find a girlfriend and could take his time to look for the right girl. He went across the yard to his mobile home, which now was really “his”. It felt good to sit down and relax. He would make a nice cup of coffee and think about his options. It was good as it was ever going to get. He had been thinking a bit about leaving his job for a few weeks now anyway. His boss’s decision to let him go, just sped up the process, and the longer he thought about it, the more he liked it. Also, Jack realized that if he had quit, his boss wouldn’t have given him an extra month’s pay, and the old mobile home that he had been living in. So, he was really lucky.

Jack decided the time had come to move his mobile home out of the yard where it had been parked for the past several years. His home was still in perfect condition and all mechanical parts were up to date and performing fine. Jack started the engine regularly every week to make sure it was still running properly. Despite the cold temperatures outside, the engine burst into life at the first turn of the key. Jack let the engine warm up for five minutes and then drove out of the yard. It was still snowing and Jack decided to drive until it became dark. He drove carefully, and as a skilled, professional driver, who had done more than 2 million kilometers behind the wheel of a transport truck without any accidents, Jack was able to easily handle his mobile home, despite the lousy weather conditions.

As Jack continued driving down the road, he passed several cars that had slid off the road and were already covered by thick layers of snow. He saw another car that seemed to have gone off the road very recently, considering the lack of snow covering it. Jack stopped and got out of his motor home. He inspected the car to see if anyone was still inside. The car looked as though another car had sideswiped it recently, as there were scrapes and dents down the side. The door wasn’t locked, and there was nobody inside. Jack kicked the snow away with his boots, and forced open the car door to look inside. He found a women’s purse lying on the car floor, it’s contents spread all around. And then Jack saw the glasses. They were lying among the other things that had apparently fallen out of the purse. He picked the glasses up to inspect them. They were definitely women’s frames, with strong minus lenses. They seemed almost as strong as Abby’s, his former girlfriend, who had -17.5D and –19D as her prescription. Abby’s lenses were quite thick, much thicker than these lenses. One of these lenses was cracked and a little piece was missing close to the center of the lens, making it almost useless. A lady out there needing these glasses must be pretty helpless without them. What had happened here? Jack couldn’t really imagine. He put all the things back into the purse, together with the glasses, and he went back to the warmth of his motor home. He thought that the car must have been there for less than an hour, considering the amount of snow that was covering it, and because of the remaining heat from the car’s engine. He tried to inform the authorities of what he had found, but he couldn’t get a signal for his cell phone. All he could do was to continue on his way down the road, until he reached the next inhabited town and watch for the person who had been in the car and would now be walking along the road.

Jack continued driving very slowly, carefully scanning the area as he drove. He had only gone for about two to three miles, when he saw what seemed to be a person walking, not on the road, but maybe some 300 feet parallel to the road in deep snow. He stopped his motor home and looked again. Now the person had stopped moving, and had fallen slowly down into the snow. If another 5 minutes passed, with the snow falling as heavily as it was, nobody would have been able to see the body. Maybe, if they were really looking, they might, but who would be looking, if they hadn’t seen the person fall. Jack stopped and put on his coat and gloves, and got out of his motor home and waded through the deep snow towards the snow-covered person as fast as he could. As he got closer, he could see that whoever was lying in the snow was wearing a woman’s fur coat. Finally Jack reached her. It had to be the woman from the car. She had fallen asleep where she fell. If Jack hadn’t found her, it would have been a very deep sleep for eternity. Jack tried to wake her up, but got no reaction. This lady must have been very tired and exhausted. Jack picked her up and put her across his shoulders as he had learned to do in his military training days many years ago. She was not very heavy, but the going was slow to get through the more than knee-deep snow. Finally, Jack reached his mobile home. He took the woman into it and closed the door after he had entered. It felt really good to be back into the cozy warmth. He took his coat and gloves off and took a closer look at the women he had saved. He took her coat, and boots off, and carefully placed her on the bed. She was unconscious and didn’t realize what was going on around her. She had a pretty face, but her left eye was badly swollen and the rest of her face seemed to be swollen as well. It looked very much like she had been severely beaten. Anyway, Jack would find out later when she came to. He tried to wake her after another hour, and she seemed to react this time. She started to murmur something like, “Oh please Bill, don’t hit me again. Please no, my glasses... Bill don’t”. She then was silent and Jack let her rest again. Maybe, she would wake up with the smell of fresh coffee.

Coffee wasn’t a remedy in this case, as the woman remained asleep. She had to recover from what ever had happened to her in the past few hours. Jack was still watching her, as she slept on his bed. If he only knew what had happened. Normally things don’t develop at such a speed, unless it is in a Hollywood movie, Jack thought. Meanwhile the weather had changed for the worse again. Snow was falling at a much faster rate, and a strong wind had begun to blow. Jack wanted to bring the motor home to a safer place than the edge of the road. He started the engine and carefully moved the motor home onto the now barely visible road. He had driven in snowstorms like this before and was absolutely sure of what he was doing. Jack knew that there was a parking pull off spot only another mile or so further down the road. If he could reach there, it would be a safer place to park. Jack continued slowly and luckily reached the spot. They were the only vehicle in there, but Jack had a hard time pulling off the road, through the heavy drifts of snow. He checked again to see if there was coverage for his cellular phone, but again the display showed no service. So, getting help if necessary would have to be done by the old fashioned way, which meant using the CB radio or by stopping a passing car. The motor home had a CB, but Jack wasn’t sure if it was still working, because he hadn’t used it in years. He turned it on but it didn’t show any signs of life. That darned thing was dead. Fortunately, it seemed that the woman he had rescued was in no immediate danger. The motor home was built to withstand weather conditions like this and he had enough liquid propane to keep the heater going for another week. And, since Jack had been using the motor home as his weekend residence, there was enough food to last for more than a couple of days. But, should there be any medical problems with his “guest”, Jack would be in trouble.

It seemed to Jack that the woman was fighting in her dreams, because she was rolling around on the bed, her hands clenched into fists that were trying to hit an unknown enemy. In her thrashing, she had thrown the blanket off and Jack put it back over her to keep her warm. She calmed and seemed to relax. Jack switched on the radio to hear the latest news. Strange, but the local station was down and the more distant stations came in with a lot of static. He switched the radio off and continued to watch the woman. She was calm now and from her deep breaths, Jack knew that she was feeling safe and better.

Jack was now hungry and looked over his options for dinner. There were slices of ham and cheese and a new loaf of bread. Jack made some sandwiches and was eating them when his eyes caught the purse he had found in the car. He had grabbed all the things he had found on the bottom of the car, paying no particular attention to anything, except the glasses, and had just stuffed everything into the purse. Jack inspected the purse again, now in a more relaxed way. It was expensive, leather Italian purse. The other things that were in the purse were a makeup kit, a wallet, containing the usual credit cards, and a driver’s license, issued in the name of Laura Ellicott.

Jack looked at the glasses again. They were nice rectangular plastic frames from Calvin Klein. He could tell that they were very expensive glasses. The lenses were definitely of high index glass. This explained to Jack, the connoisseur, why the lens were relatively thin and had cracked in this special way, by shattering a triangular piece out of the lens almost at its center.

Jack was having another cup of coffee when Laura suddenly opened her eyes. She sat up in the bed, really not knowing where she was, and said, “Bill stop playing tricks on me and will you be so kind to give me my glasses back! With or without my glasses, I’m going to leave you!”

Jack had listened to this outburst and didn’t answer it for the moment. Laura calmed and Jack could imagine that she was just sorting her thoughts and trying to recall what had happened during the past hours.

“Bill where have you brought me? It’s not funny anymore! Up till now you have only hit me and taken away my glasses, but now it’s getting more serious,” she said.

Jack felt that it was time now to tell Laura, what had happened. “Laura you are safe. You are no longer in any danger!”

“Who are you,” Laura asked, and how do you know my name?”

“My name is Jack and I just found you a couple of hours ago, outside lying unconscious in a drift of snow. You are now in my motor home.

Laura was silent and seemed to realize what had really happened. “Are you a friend of Bill’s?” she asked.

“No my name is Jack and I don’t know any Bill,” Jack said. “I found your car that had gone off the snow covered road and I found your purse and a pair of glasses with one lens shattered, lying on the floor of the car.”

Laura was silent and took a deep breath, apparently relaxing. Laura seemed to recall what had happened. Jack had offered her a cup of hot coffee, which she gladly accepted. She was squinting every now and then, but gave up after she realized that the effort she was expending produced no improvement to her blurred vision.

“Jack you said something about a pair of damaged glasses that you found?” Laura asked after a while.

Jack handed her the glasses. She put them on and looked around the motor home. She inspected the contents of her purse in silence. She took a mirror and inspected her face. Tears filled her eyes, wetting her injured face. Jack wanted to ask a million questions, but was silent for the moment. He liked to watch Laura, as she was struggling to see out of her damaged left lens of her glasses. But at least she could see enough to function.

“You must be hungry,” Jack said after a while.

“Oh yes Jack, I’m very hungry now,” Laura said.

Jack put a plate with some sandwiches for Laura on the table. She adjusted her damaged glasses, closing her left eye with her finger and smiled at Jack. She ate her sandwiches and Jack just kept watching her. Jack was glad to have found her, because now she could well have been dead out there in the deep blowing snow. It came to Jack that could well have been Bill’s intention.

“Jack can you bring me to the nearest police station?” Laura asked.

Jack explained to Laura that it was quite impossible now, because the weather wouldn’t allow them to travel anywhere at the moment. Laura seemed to be uncomfortable about this. But Jack told her there would be no problem as she was with him now and that he would protect her until they could drive to the next police station.

Jack was right to not put any pressure on Laura to learn what had happened. Laura seemed to relax some and started talking in a low voice: “Bill, my husband wanted to get rid of me. He wanted to kill me because a divorce would have left him without a single dime, because all the money we have came from my father’s estate, and it is in trust for me. Things started getting worse when I couldn’t tolerate my contact lenses any more. I got the thinnest lenses for my glasses that I was able to get, but he said that he wanted his beautiful girl back and that my wearing glasses was not an option. Lasik wasn’t an option either, as my corneas are too thin to allow them to remove any tissue.”

Jack freely asked all the questions he had in his mind and got all the answers he had hoped for. He found out that Bill kept taking Laura’s glasses away from her and destroying them at will. Laura always had a secret, spare pair; hidden in places she could easily find when she had no glasses to help her. But, this afternoon things had escalated. Bill and Laura had had a big argument about the divorce that Laura was threatening to file for. Bill had hit Laura in the face, knocking her glasses off. Bill thought that Laura was helpless and telephoned his girlfriend, telling her that he was going to arrange an accident in the house for his wife. He would kill her by pushing her down the stairs, and it would look like she had fallen down the stairs, because she was blind without her strong glasses.

Laura told Jack that she had made it into the garage, taking her spare glasses from the glove compartment of her car and escaped. “All I can remember is that I saw another car coming very close behind me and pushing me off the road. I was about to get out of my car, when Bill grabbed my glasses and threw them into the car. I could see nothing and all I wanted to do was to get away from him.”

Now Jack knew the whole story and was very angry with Bill, who had tried to get rid of his wonderful wife in such a sinister way. If Jack hadn’t found Laura when he did, Bill’s plan would probably have been successful. All that was left to do now was to get to the nearest police station and tell them what had happened.

Laura was still very upset and she was softly crying again. She had removed her glasses and put them on the table. Jack took a Kleenex and wiped off Laura’s tears. He carefully cleaned the damaged lens of her glasses and then the intact lens. He carefully placed them on Laura’s nose, saying: “Here you go”.

Laura smiled for the first time since he’d found her. “Thank you. Bill would have never done that for me. He destroyed at least 5 pairs of my very expensive thin lensed glasses during the past few months.” Laura said.

“We have to get your glasses fixed, first thing,” Jack said to Laura. “Right now they help you function, but you must have them fixed soon. It would be very dangerous if the lens would crack further, as a piece of glass might get into your eye, seriously injuring it,” Jack continued. He realized that Laura seemed to be pleased that Jack was being so attentive to her about her eyes.

Laura got up and came closer to Jack. Jack again realized that she was a very pretty young woman, and he couldn’t take his eyes off her and her glasses. The concentric rings and the minification caused by the lenses of her glasses gave a strong “bite out” of the contours of her face and was fascinating to Jack.

Suddenly, Jack saw blue and red lights flashing in the distance. As they drew closer, Jack grabbed his coat, and got out of the motor home, and flagged the police car down. An officer got out and approached Jack. “Have you seen a young woman out here?” he asked Jack.

Jack informed him that he had indeed found a young woman out there in the snow. He told the officer what he had found out, so far. The police officer was quite surprised and came into the motor home with Jack to interview Laura.

Laura confirmed everything that Jack had already reported to the police officer. The officer told them that Bill had come out with a real tearjerker of a story about his beloved wife being missing in the snowstorm. But now, Bill’s entire story appeared under a different light. The officer radioed his findings in to the station. He told Jack and Laura that a police car was going to inform Bill about the rescue of his wife and would then investigate, and if they could prove that Bill’s car had forced Laura off the road, they would arrest him for attempted murder.

He asked Laura if she wanted a lift back to the police station, but she said that she wanted to remain with her “rescuer”, and Jack was thrilled to hear her say this. The following day the weather conditions had changed for the better. Jack had slept in the driver’s seat and had left his bed to Laura. She was still sleeping when Jack finished preparing a breakfast of ham and eggs and good strong coffee. He woke Laura up and served her breakfast. Jack could see that Laura appreciated being treated in a way that she hadn’t been treated for a long time.

Later on, they drove back to Laura’s car. Laura opened the trunk, and reached under the spare tire, pulling out a glasses case. “You know Jack with a monster of a husband like mine, I had to be very creative,” she explained, changing her broken glasses for a pair with big brown plastic frames, holding lenses that were at least ¾ of an inch thick.

“Oh Laura, you look gorgeous in those glasses,” Jack exclaimed.

Laura said to Jack,” You seem to like women that wear glasses, Jack.”

“Oh yes Laura, I am very attracted to ladies that wear glasses, especially ladies that are very beautiful,” Jack answered.

There was no way to free Laura’s car from the deep snow without a tow truck, so they decided to go directly to Laura’s home. They arrived just in time to see Bill being lead away in handcuffs followed by a very pretty, but cheap looking blonde girl. The officer informed them that the girl had confessed her part in the plan, as soon as she was confronted with the fact that Laura was still alive.

“I’ll call my lawyer to get the divorce proceedings started as soon as possible!” Laura said to Jack smiling, “ Then I can be free to marry someone who likes girls that wear thick glasses.” Jack went over and put his arms around Laura and kissed her. Jack knew that his search for Mrs. Right had stopped, before it really had started.

From a story by Andy, with help from Specs4ever, and Aliena.

Feb. 2002

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