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Royal Dilemmas

“How had it come to this?”  Andrew thought as he sighed in the driver seat of his truck.

All he had wanted was to go on a trip to America on his own. Now he was stuck in a godforsaken little backwater town called Walterboro with no way home.  His only way back consisted of trying to make money to stay alive so he could call  home and pray that someone would help him get back.

But he had run into a serious problem, no one he called believed it was him.  Neither his staff nor his family recognized him when he called.

Andrew sighed once more and leaned back in the chair of his truck. He had only been in this town for a couple of weeks but had thankfully found a few people that were nice enough to help him.  He hadn’t told them who he really was, after how some of the other townspeople had reacted to his story before, just that he was a foreigner who needed help getting back home.  They had been able to help him find a place to live until he could find a way back to his country.

But the only jobs he could get were either hellish or didn’t pay enough… though that seemed to be any job that was available.

He’d even tried to get a job at the local Wal-Mart that all the people in town said was the second biggest in the south.  Andrew hadn’t really cared about the size or it’s comparison to the others within this country.  He couldn’t understand why they cared so much about that fact anyway.  It wasn’t anything grand or at least not in his opinion.

“Excuse me, Sir! Are you in there?” Andrew heard outside of his truck.

He opened his window and looked down.  “What can I help you with?” Andrew faked the cheer.

Before coming to this place he had stayed away from the general public.  Andrew had only trouble when he went out into the public.  He had never been known to be a snob though, one of the few within his family that people considered to be more down to earth and kind.  Andrew had always tried to have a smile on wherever he went and it was especially so now that he had a job that depended on him being kind and helpful.

“Hey we’re having a surprise birthday party up the street for my niece, but we forgot to get ice cream.  We were wondering if you would come to the house and sell some ice cream to us.  It’s a little late in the day for us to go get ice cream from the store.”

Andrew looked the woman over a couple of times before he decided that this was too good a chance to make some money to pass up. Besides the woman, or young lady he corrected himself as he studied her a little more, was quite pretty. She had a beautiful smile that only emphasized her heart shaped face. The young lady had auburn hair and green eyes that when in the sun revealed a golden ring around the pupil. It wasn’t often that Andrew saw so many different kinds of people, but it was said that redheads were far fewer.

“Do you need a ride back to the place, that way you can show me where the place is?” Andrew offered.

“Sweet. I’ve always wanted to ride in an ice cream truck,” The lady said as she smiled brilliantly and clapped her hands in excitement.  She giggled as she went to the passenger side of the ice cream truck and climbed in.

“So, what’s your name?” The lady asked as she tilted her head slightly with curiosity.

“Andrew, you?” Andrew said as smiled back at her and started the truck.

“Lynette,” She replied. “Oh and the place is the big two story house on the right, it’s the one with a small vineyard right before it.  The house is kinda close to the road.”  Lynette directed.

The drive to the house was very short and the house was the only two story in the neighborhood.

“So, what’s your niece’s name?” Andrew asked as they pulled into the driveway.

“Cassie, she’s turning ten today.” Lynnette said as she looked around the truck.  “Why did you become an ice cream truck driver?”

“There was no other job that I could do.” Andrew said as he sighed.

“Why not?  You could try going to school and getting a couple of certificates.  Then you could get a better job.”

“I can’t go to school.  I don’t have any papers.” Andrew said as he felt despair grapple hold of him.

“Papers?  You mean like a social security card?” Lynette asked puzzled.

“I…” Andrew started.  He had told this story so many times before but no one had ever believed him.  He looked up at Lynette.  She had a concerned look on her face.  Then again, no one had ever asked him anything about himself before.  Maybe she would listen.  If nothing else it would be good for him to have someone to talk to.

“I’m not from this country.  I don’t belong here.”

Lynette’s eyes widened.  “How did you end up here then?”

Andrew sighed. “I had argued with my parents for a long time.  I had wanted to go on a trip abroad by myself.  They had adamantly refused saying it wasn’t safe for me to be on my own.  So I finally decided to get in touch with a travel agency myself. I told them I wanted to go to South America, but they bungled that and I ended up here… only to find that all my things I’d come with was sent to my original destination.”

“You’ve got to be kidding me?  That’s incredible.  Is there anything you can do to get back home?”

“I’ve tried everything I could, but I have little money on me.  This job is the only that I could get.  All others require I have some sort of construction skill or that I’m a legal citizen.  With this job, I get paid under the table based on how much I make in sales.”

Lynette wrinkled her nose. “Eck, I hate commission jobs.  I’ve got a job that kinda like that, but we don’t make commission.  It’s just straight pay, but if we don’t meet all our quotas it could mean our jobs.  It really sucks.” Lynette sighed.

“So why do you stay at it then?” Andrew asked.

“I like the customers, well most, and the people I work with are really nice.  I’ve made friends with just about all of them. Plus,” Lynette blushed, “I’m actually pretty good at meeting the quotas. I’m not able to all the time, but most of the time I can.”

“Well that’s good.” Andrew said as he turned off the engine and began to stand. “I can set up the stand if you want to go grab the kids.”

“I promise they’ll be nice.” Lynette said as she let herself out of the truck.  As she walked to the door to the house she stopped and turned to look at Andrew.

As Andrew opened up his stand he noticed Lynette looking back at him. “Is everything alright?”

“I just wanted to let you know, if you need help there are plenty of people here that will help.  They’re all basically family to me.  Plus I have quite a few friends.  We don’t have much in the way of money either, but we’ll do what we can to help you get back home.” Lynette said as she looked Andrew in the eyes.

Andrew blinked in surprise a couple of times and he rolled around in his head the words she’d said.  “Why?”

“Because you need help.  Isn’t that reason enough?” Lynette said puzzled.

“But no one else would help.  Why are you helping me; why will your friends help?”  Andrew blurted out.

Lynette smiled once more. “Because you were lucky enough to find one of the few people who has a philosophy about helping people.”

Andrew looked puzzled once more. “And what’s that?”

“I believe that there’s enough meanness in the world, I don’t want to add to it.  So if there is anyway that I can help someone, then I will. Thankfully, my friends are like me in my way of thinking.” As she finished, Lynette finally went into the house to gather the kids.

Andrew was speechless.  He hadn’t thought anyone believed such things anymore.

Even if she couldn’t help him get back to his country, Andrew had finally made a friend.  Andrew smiled as the thought occurred to him.

“Maybe I should stick around this place a little longer.” He chuckled.  He saw the children leave the house and this time he didn’t have to fake his cheer as they came order the favorites.  Lynette even volunteered to help him get the ice cream for the kids.

Andrew couldn’t remember the last he’d had so much fun.  The family had even invited him to eat dinner with them, which he graciously agreed.

“Maybe the travel agent didn’t make such a horrible mistake after all.”


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This entry was posted on February 2, 2013 by in Modern, Short Story.



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