The rain came down in sheets, over-flowing street gutters in seconds, flooding the raised sidewalk in many places. As he took shelter for a moment under the Interstate 20 Bypass bridge, Jay sat on the rail and watched the near solid wall of water change to falling ice as hail dumped from the thunder-storm that covered the city in rolling black clouds. Fearful of being in the lower parts of town, if the river backed up and broke the dike, his only thought was to reach safety, and not lose his job if late again.
The fact he had been caught in the down pour may give some excuse, as his employer knew he would be walking. It was his own fault really, having his car taken for non-payment a month before, all for trying a get-rich scheme his friends had come up with.
"Lost big on that flop of a plan," he mumbled to himself as the sky grew darker still. As the wind picked up he felt there was no choice, and headed for the awning of the nearest building. Soaked in less than a minute, he ran as guick as he could, gusts pushing him back as he struggled across every intersection.
A big van pulled along side, a door rolling open to reveal a young woman in the driver's seat, shouting to be heard over the noise of a rattling sign. "Get in!"
Jay's foot slipped on the curb, landing him in a deep puddle of rushing water. Once inside, closed off from the raging weather, he glanced up at his sister, who shook her head as though the storm was his fault.
"You should have taken the bus!"
"They're not running, remember," Jay shouted."Their still on strike."
"I thought that was over?" Janice pulled slowly back into traffic.
"So did I, but they aren't out yet." Jay slumped against the division wall and stared out the window. "I couldn't call a cab, I'm broke 'til payday, and this.. My luck is terrible."
"You only need the right motivation bro."
"And the idea of living on the streets isn't good enough." he laughed, "Kid you not sis, if I lose my job now, I'm stuck with nothing. No rent money next week, the utilities already gave final notice. But, on the brighter note, I won't be bothered by a car payment."
"You should work for Phil and Jen." Janice said as she turned in the parking lot of the mini-mart where Jay worked. "How about food? I might swing some groceries by later."
"I am not working as a flower boy, forget it," Jay replied as he prepared to dash into the store. "Besides, I don't mind macaroni for every meal."
"I will bring something by, now get."
In a mad scramble for the entrance he almost ran down the shop owner as he stepped out of the "Employee's Only" area at the counter. Dripping in the doorway, Jay glared at his smiling boss.
"Wow, a new record, you're actually early."
"I hate weather like." Jay stated, taking off a jacket that did no good to keep the rain from soaking him clean through. "I would be late if sis hadn't come by making a delivery."
"Well, it'll be an easy day for you, so don't worry," the owner told him, pointing to the young lady at the register. "I want you help teach our new night clerk the ropes."
"I may still need to replace you," the man said as he headed out. "So train her good."
"Ya, ya," Jay mumbled at the Man's back as he left, and turned to the girl behind the counter. "Hi, the name's Jason."
"Sarah," she smile warmly and laughed, "and you look like a drowned rat."
"Gee Thanks," Jay reached for a towel, scrubbing it over his head to dry off. "You gotta do what you gotta do to get by these days."
"With the Lord's blessing, Man shall prosper." Sarah told him, "we don't have to struggle when there is help."
Jay stared at her for a moment, the damp cloth resting around his neck and shoulders. "Or the right motivation," he thought, then smiled as the storm broke up and sunlight streamed in the front window. "I think my luck has changed."
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