Thunder banged, hammering its way through the walls and seeming to echo even louder in the empty second floor above. Mother Nature’s tantrum was nothing new for the day. The bang on the table, that was different.
Elrick Bandor glanced up from his computer to the residents. Kevin’s voice raised an octave. He and Burt sat at the table outside their bedroom focused on one board game or another. Elrick watched them a moment, Kevin’s hand slapping the table, his legs bouncing in anticipation of Burt’s next move. Burt sat calm and quiet, like the older lumbering giant he was, studying the game board, he no sooner moved his piece and Kevin pounced for his, leaving Burt to painfully contemplate another move with no time to take a breath.
From their body language, Elrick decided none of the actions or loudness was due to anything more than excitement. It was encouraging to see them engaged and enjoying a game. Not much of that had happened since the tragedy at the start of the month. Elrick ran his hands over his tight-curled coarse hair. He had feared the circumstances would set the four remaining residents back in their treatments, making Emie’s job that much harder. Only time would tell, really.
He returned his attention to his studies on the computer, adjusting his wire framed glasses. He sipped his mineral water, making notes as he did, making sure to glance at the residents every so often to make sure they were all where they were supposed to be. He was little more than an overpaid babysitter these days, all because the alphabet soup after his name didn’t have the right letters. Not yet.
It would take a while, but when it was all said and done, he’d be in a position to garner more respect and the first in any generation of his family to reach such a level. As long as this current job didn’t mess him up. It wasn’t easy doing the studies and juggling what Miana wouldn’t help him out with. He shook off the flare of frustration with the thought. She acted like he inconvenienced her, taking off most mornings to actually attend a class.
The hours crept on, but not quickly enough. He glanced at the clock above the game shelves Sandra ran the feather duster over, pretending to clean, though all the feathers did was throw the crap into the air, as far as Elrick was concerned. But it wasn’t his job to do the cleaning, nor was he willing to lower himself to do it, even if he could do it better.
Just a few more hours and his shift would end. He turned his attentions back to his laptop.
Miana slammed the door to Lamartha’s office, not caring who heard. She kept her eyes averted from everyone in the commons room and stormed back to the front, her slave station.
Lamartha had dismissed her again. Of course everyone was short staffed. Miana knew that, but no one else had to be there 24/7 when Elrick refused to be there in the mornings or take weekend shifts. Miana yanked her hair back from her face. She really didn’t know how much more she could take.
She was one person, often alone in a huge building with four crazies she struggled to keep stable, and it was more than anyone should put on a single being in her opinion. And it irked her to no end how Elrick acted like he was above her, that his studies gave him a get-out-of-jail free card any time he liked.
She plunked down in the desk chair, its lopsided stuffing ingrained in her behind to where the ache stared almost immediately. She stared out the front doors, knowing no one would enter, feeling trapped more than ever. She couldn’t do anything without the absent Sourpuss RN telling her she could. Lamartha made it clear she had no intention to make golden boy Elrick take more shifts. She wondered if his skin color made Lamartha behave so gently with him in an effort to not be accused of nasty behavior.
She’d been there so long now, she knew every inch of the place and item in it. She knew procedures and could do anything the others could. She knew more than Elrick and Ms. Sourpuss, as far as she was concerned. But obviously everyone just expected her to stay in her place, sweet meek little Miana. She was sick of being seen that way too.
The ability to tolerate it weakened severely with each passing morning and weekend. And Lamartha made it clear there would be no changes made to bolster that ability. No one cared.
Pretty soon, she’d make them care. She couldn’t afford to quit, but maybe if she regularly didn’t show up, they’d fire her. She had done everything to avoid that till now. But now she had a bit of a nest egg built up. A couple more weeks and it would be even larger. Just a couple more weeks…