“Hi, you’ve reached Laura Small’s cell phone. Leave a message at the beep, or don’t, I’ll see the missed all either way. Holla!”
“Hey Laura, it’s Jim. Just calling to see how you’re doing. Call me back.”
Three days later she still hadn’t done so. Jim, thinking too much about it, became angry, a feeling accentuated by his newfound financial insecurity. Fuck her, he told himself. She probably doesn’t like you that way. Unfortunately he was coming to the point where he wasn’t sure any woman would. He had nothing to offer them now that he’d lost his job, and that was all that mattered to them.
One night one of his roommates left the heat on and Jim yelled at her when he woke sweating in bed in the morning, telling her that just because she still had money didn’t mean all three of them should have to piss it away. He made his point, but probably overreacted. He was coming to a bad place, with far too much time on his hands. He thought of Laura sometimes. Maybe he should go back to her restaurant, or try to re-convene the Fantastic Four. Yes, that was the way. They’d had fun that night, though he thought he’d noticed something between her and Tyler. Anyway it was easier to think about them than the prospect of finding a new job, which, of course, should be priority number one. Every morning he tasked himself with finding a job posting on Craigslist or Indeed that he found promising and applying to it. One cover letter and one customized resumé per day. He thought this was being fair to himself. Some days were more difficult than others. At least he had a home and an unemployment check. It would be best to make the most of his free time. One day he went to a Walgreens and bought a notebook. He wrote himself a short story about a man getting mugged by two black kids. It didn’t go anywhere.
He called Laura a week later. Again, she didn’t answer. This time he didn’t leave a message. He would try to get the Fantastic Four together again. Maybe they could make a habit of it. Something to think about any way, helping each other out, each of them battling their own demons as they so clearly were. At least they were not alone in their hardships. No one ever said life was easy, after all.