by Slo Mo
I am the luckiest little shit since whoever invented four-leaf clovers.
Here's the deal: Katrina, my-cousin-the-mini-mogul, has accepted a job overseas and she needs someone to watch her bungalow while she's away. This bungalow just happens to be located on a beach. A very warm, sunny beach. A very warm, sunny private beach in Florida.
And I just happen to be the only person Katrina knows who isn't currently tied down with a job or family commitments, other than some parolee who said he'd pay for the use of her house and phone lines while he set up a "business". (Translation: Onsite companion service.) - (Further translation: Sticky floors and weird stains on the walls.)
I thought my family would be opposed to the house-sitting idea, as they've waited lo these many years for me to stop fooling around and actually make something of myself. Instead, my boyfriend left me for a deaf/mute aerobics instructor, I lost my apartment when the building was re-zoned for a McDonald's drive-thru, the hemp shop I worked at discovered the joys of capitalism and laid everyone off, and I was forced to move back into my parents' house.
And then depression set in...
As fate would have it, the Florida offer came about a month later, just when mom was sick of watching me watch game shows, and I was sick of watching her watch me watch game shows.
(Dad was sick of both of us, but that's not unusual.)
Katrina's message had the self-important air you'd expect from someone whose resumé includes words like "consultant" and "international":
Need someone to house-sit. No pay, but I'll throw in the use of my Cabrio and a pass to the local beach club. Definitely a six month gig, maybe longer. Get your lily-white northern butt down here!
Which is how I find myself in this current predicament: somewhere over North Carolina, seated in coach class next to a runny-nosed, sticky-fingered monkey-child and her blissfully narcoleptic mother, on an economy flight to West Palm Beach, where I don't know a soul and don't have any job prospects, flipping through an outdated news magazine and wondering just what the hell I'm doing with my life. And for added comfort, the words of my dementedly honest grandmother still ring in my ears: "Living in someone else's beach pad for half a year might not exactly constitute a savvy career move, dear, but let's just say neither of your parents will be sorry to see the last of you and your unpaid college loans."
So... Florida, here I come! If my life is going to be at a standstill, I might as well be standing where I can get a decent tan.