Nirmala stood at the coffee shop counter reading her favorite computer magazine, waiting for her shift to end. She worked until noon every Saturday even today – her 19th birthday! No one had even said Happy Birthday! Not her dad, not her mother. Her parents wouldn’t even let her have a party. Her friends all had parties! It was so unfair!
Straightening her over-size, crooked glasses again, Nirmala sighed looking at the pathetic cupcake with a single candle; a birthday present from the girl on the last shift. After work she had to go home and phone her parents to let them know she was safely home. Then she could log onto the dialup internet connection, not that she could get to any interesting sites; her strict parents had installed a powerful program that controlled the sites she could visit.
Her parents went away every weekend to visit a holy man and talk about their marriage. Nirmala wasn’t sure what the problem was; all she knew was there had been a big argument about her dad doing something with Auntie Amrita.
Across the street, Jack, 51, complained, “25 years with this company and they send me to the worst territory in the country! How can we sell to restaurants in this hick town?”
Jack, and the new trainee Norma, 29, had hit every restaurant in this Alabama town without making a single sale. Worse for Jack, he had a reputation to keep up. When out of town and away from his wife, he always scored, never failing to pick up a hot chick even if he had to use dirty tricks.
“Bet you can’t pick up any girls in this town Jack” said Norma with a grin. “Betcha 20 bucks.” She was bored.
“I’ve never missed yet. I’ve got the rest of the weekend!” Jack was delighted to take Norma’s money.
“Not so fast.” Norma added. “Let’s make this interesting. You have to pick up the next waitress you set eyes on. Young, old, pretty, ugly, married, single it doesn’t matter. Plus, I get to watch so you can’t screw me on the bet.”
Across the street was the last restaurant in the town; a small, run-down coffee shop.
Jack’s face fell as he entered; there was the geekiest, nerdiest young girl he had ever seen; big nerdy glasses, shapeless sweater, absorbed in some tech magazine. Her hair carelessly fell over her face. She was Indian or maybe Pakistani. Not fair! He only did white chicks; mostly blonde, blue-eyed ones! Shit!
He stopped, turned to Norma and said, “This isn’t a good place, let’s try somewhere else.”
Norma retorted, “Then you lose the bet. Gimme 20 bucks.”
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