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Just a Kid at Heart: The phony solicitor (part two)

By Steve Maanum

This month’s story is a continuation of the one featured in last month’s edition so, hopefully you were able to read Part One. If not, look online ( The ending to this story will make more sense if you have the background provided in Part One.

Carrie was a waitress at Jeff’s restaurant that summer. Each evening when we asked how her day had gone, she always had something humorous or unusual to tell us. One of her episodes occurred after missing work for minor surgery on her big toe.

This is a girl who requires some background information. Events just seem to happen to Carrie that make life interesting. One quick example should suffice. During her first year in college, she was fascinated by all the food possibilities in the cafeteria. There was even a little toaster oven for bread sticks.

They would roll across the top level and drop behind to the bottom level when they were done. Carrie is not real mechanical, but how difficult could this be? What might be routine for the rest of us became an adventure for everyone in the cafeteria that day.

Carrie put the bread sticks in at the wrong angle. Instead of them dropping down behind the upper shelf, they got stuck and started a fire. That set the stage for a very interesting college career.

When she returned to the restaurant after the surgery, Erika, a co-worker, asked where she had been. Carrie responded by simply saying she had a minor surgery. Erika wanted more details. Carrie tried to downplay it and explained that this might not be the time or place to discuss it. That got Erika even more curious so when she persisted, Carrie went into the details – every little surgical detail. Remember, she has a speech and drama background. She became so involved with her story she failed to notice the color draining from Erika’s face. The next sound she heard was Erika crashing to the floor as she fainted. Carrie knelt to help and other coworkers rushed over to assist. Finally, Erika was revived, but was unable to continue her work. She was driven home to recuperate, leaving the restaurant shorthanded for the remainder of their shift. Carrie was teased and blamed in a light sort of way for the rest of the day and into the next.

Jeff always liked a good joke and Carrie made a great target so the next morning, while everyone was getting ready for the lunch crowd, he called Carrie over to the telephone. When she got close, he whispered, “It’s Erika’s father. He wants to know what you did to his daughter yesterday.”

Carrie’s eyes doubled in size as she asked, “What do I say to him? I didn’t mean to make her faint. It was an accident.”

“Well, you better explain that to him. He sounds upset. Just be sincere.”

Carrie slowly took the phone from Jeff’s hand as Jeff and the other workers looked on. She nervously put the phone to her mouth and said, “Hello.”

The corners of Jeff’s mouth began to curl. As Carrie repeated the “Hello” her audience started to understand. There was no one on the other end of the phone. Carrie looked at Jeff who just smiled and said, “Gotcha.”

He thought he had the last word, but he didn’t know Carrie. As she hung up the phone and walked past all the laughter, she focused on Jeff. Very seriously she said, “Dad wanted me to tell you there is an empty seat next to him at his Liars Anonymous meetings and he gets credit for bringing in new members.”

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