Wet Dogs, Pink Scrubs, and the Lottery.
A girl nervously sits in her running truck outside a pet grooming shop, awaiting her 12:30 appointment for a sit down interview. Even though she promptly arrived 10 minutes early, she didn’t want to seem eager and walk in already. Although it was awkward enough for her to sit right outside the door waiting until exactly 12:35 (five minutes early, not too early, but not pressing the appointment time either) she hoped no one would even notice. She nervously changed fuzzy radio stations and hoped no one walked out the double swinging gates that operated as the shops front yard. Her heart pounded, but she knew she had no reason to be nervous. She was an expert at interviewing, and she knew she could nail almost any question that came her way. But still, she worked hard to land this job. At exactly 12:35 she slipped her cell phone and wallet into her canvas shoulder bag and turned off her truck. The heat wave that had swept over South East Texas immediately hit her in the face, and she instantly regretted wearing jeans. But, looking professional was something she was quite anal about, and she knew a lot rode on what she was wearing (Dark wash jeans, a nice t-shirt, and worn boat shoes.) She struggled with the swinging gates (obviously, they only open outward) and she slipped in the door. The place smelled of wet dog and shampoo, a smell she loved, and she couldn’t help but feel at home. After living on the farm, wet dogs and dog shampoo was something she had grown quite familiar with. The lobby was small, yet convenient with shelves of shampoos, leashes and dog cookies that said “take one.” She was intently studying some papers with doggie daycare prices when a woman in purple scrubs walked through the grooming door. She was short, yet stocky and had white-blonde hair that had thinned with age. She looked to be about 50, and seemed to old to be running the halls of a grooming salon. She was panting and sweaty, and breathlessly asked, “how can I help you?”
"I’m here for a 12:30 interview" the girl said, and resisted the urge to glance at her cell phone to check the time. She hated being late more than almost anything, and felt like she had been standing in the lobby for a good 5 minutes.
"Oh, you’re the girl. Okay, just wait here." faux blonde said, and quickly disappeared into the office.
The girl spotted some small plush chairs on the far side of the lobby, and sunk down in one that was by itself. One things she didn’t want was to be next to a old lady with a annoying Chihuahua right before her big interview. She wanted to stay calm, focused and intent. Smile. Breath. Seem like you know what you are doing. She glanced up at the wall behind her, and saw various awards claimed “best dog trainer” and “peoples choice best pet grooming salon.” She gulped, and sunk lower in her chair, hoping that her low amount of qualifications wouldn’t come up in the interview. In her daze, she heard a commotion from back in the shop, and suddenly 4 paws burst into the lobby from the grooming room and a big, slobbery kiss was planted right on the girls hand that had hung over the chair. She immediately set up, and reached out to pet the big chocolate lab that was pulling at her leash. But, the dog was jerked away and it was then that she noticed the person on the other end of the leash. The girl had been so entranced by the bounding, beautiful lab that she had forgotten why she was here, and that usually salon owners walked dogs out of the grooming area.
The girl holding the leash was extremely overweight, and had on tight, bright pink scrubs. She had flame red hair that was in a thin, messy bun, and acne on both of her cheeks. She had small eyes that always seemed to squint, and an extremely greasy (or wet) forehead.
"What you need help with?" she asked in a strong New York accent. The accent was odd for Texas, and the girl vaguely thought she sounded like a drug dealer from "Gangland." Plus, she had always disliked people who didn’t take time to speak clearly and correctly.
"I have a 12:30 interview" the girl said, trying to sound polite and undistracted, even with a 100 pound dog trying to lick her hand off.
"Yous can come on back here. Boss is waitin’ on yous" pink-scrubs said. The girl grabbed her messenger bag and swung it over her shoulder. She tried not to roll her eyes as she followed the Pink-Scrubs and the dog into the door and down a short hallway that led to the kennels.
The kennels. It was a glorious place. There were dogs everywhere. Small dogs, big dogs, furry dogs. She spotted a pair of glorious Shelties, a huge German Shepherd, a few mutts and lots of Labradors. She absolutely loved dogs and it took everything she had not to reach through the wire kennels to touch a cold, wet nose. At the end of the kennels was a small room with a washer and dryer, and a door that led outside to the yard. A sign on the door read “no unattended dogs are to be left outside for more than 10 minutes” and she briefly wondered if it would be her job to take out the dogs.
Pink-scrubs cussed at the Lab still yanking on her leash, and pushed out the door. She pulled the dog into a small, grassy yard, and shut the gate.
"Damn Nike, you ain’t got no manners. You needs a new family that’ll train ya, ya dumb mutt" said Pink-Scrubs, and she latched the yard gate.
The girl shifted her weight to her other foot, and adjusted the messenger bag. She hoped Pink-Scrubs would not be conducting the interview, and gulped down a bit of nervousness and dread.
"I’ll go get boss" said Pink-Scrubs, "yous take a seat out here."
The girl obediently looked around at the three small lawn chairs outside the yard. They had dirty blankets in all of them, and seemed to be covered in a layer of dirt. She picked the cleanest one in the shade, and carefully sat down with her bag clutched to her chest. The yard and surrounding area was definitely a far cry from the professional, award winning lobby. It was 102 degrees, and the girl started to sweat in her dark jeans and t-shirt. She wiped some sweat from her forehead, and watched Nike prance around in the yard and try to open the latch on the gate. She was obviously a smart dog, because she flipped open one latch, and was trying to reach the other when what seemed to be the owner walked into the yard.
The owner was a small woman, and had a long Camel cigarette hanging out her mouth. She had long grey hair tied into a makeshift ponytail that hung down her back, and wrinkles and lines covered her worn face. She smelled of smoke and cherry tobacco, and seemed like an old, weathered piece of leather that had been out in the sun too long. Her voice was raspy from years of smoking and she had Wal-Mart brand fake fingernails. Her arms were small and bony, and the skin seemed to collect in massive amounts of sun-tanned wrinkles, and the girl quietly wondered if she would get skin or lung cancer first. She reminded the girl of a grandma, but not the kind that baked cookies and spent time with her 6 grandkids. She was more of the type that still drank and sang karaoke at the bar every weekend, drove a Harley Davidson, sported multiple tattoos and had more than 4 failed marriages.
Leather Lady sat down in the chair opposite and cut right to the chase, “You start out at $8.50 an hour. You gotta work every single weekend, its required. You will start out back here in the yard, and will move up to washing dogs with Jenny here.” Leather jutted a bony finger at Pink-Scrubs, who was apparently Jenny.
"Its hot work, and I ain’t gonna hire you if you don’t plan on staying. You will work 4 days a week, and 8 hours on Saturday, and 8 hours on Sunday, no exceptions. You can start Tuesday at 7:30 in the morning." Leather Lady looked at the girl with a blank expression, and she nodded and peeped, "Ye…Yes Ma’am."
"Call me before Tuesday, and let me know. Or text Jenny, who is about to go take care of customers up front" said Leather-Lady, with a pointed a look at Jenny. She let out a string of explicative, and lugged her 200 pounds back inside.
"You can find your way out, don’t thank me for my time" said Leather lady, and the girl slowly stood up and walked back into the door. She took long strides through the kennel hallway, and quickly found the door back out into the lobby. She burst into the small waiting area, and was happy to find it empty. She swiped a business card from the counter so she would have a contact to call, and she quickly walked back to her waiting truck. She climbed in and threw her messenger bag into the passenger seat and checked the time. It was 12:40. The whole process had only taken 10 minutes. She let out the breath she had been holding and cranked her silver Toyota truck and carefully backed it out of the parking lot. The job that she had worked so hard to get now seemed like a curse, and as she slowly made her way back to her apartment, all she wanted to do was win the lottery.