Featured Story: “Listen To The Rain,” a Short Story by Rachel Elizabeth Cole

by Jason Varrone

Genre: Literary Fiction

Type of Story: Short Story

Summary: All Jeremy Owen and his pregnant girlfriend, Maya, seem to do is fight. With the baby due in a month, Jer’s doing the best he can to make ends meet, to make Maya happy, but it never seems to be enough. Then one night, after a bitter argument, Maya packs her bags and storms out. Now Jer has to decide if he wants her back or if he wants out, too. Just what the hell is he doing with his life anyway?

The woman in the personnel office at Columbia Valley Cellulose glances over my résumé and drops it on her desk. She looks up at me with an expression of tested patience on her round face, like some old schoolmistress ready to break out the belt. “I’m sorry, Mr. Owen, but we’re not hiring at the moment.”

“Oh,” I say and jiggle the black motorcycle helmet in my hands. There’s a small, white scuff-mark above the visor I’ve never noticed before. “Do you happen to know when there will be more openings?”

“Well, I’m afraid we have no way of knowing that. But I can keep your résumé on file if you like.” Her double chin quivers with each word.

I’ve left my job at the lumberyard two hours early specifically because my buddy Brady told me his uncle tipped him off that the mill was hiring. The old guy has worked here for twenty years. How could he be wrong? “Okay, all right,” I say.

She yanks open a filing cabinet drawer and hauls out a file-folder an inch thick with résumés, adds mine to the pile and slides it back in the drawer. Lacing her marshmallow fingers together, she leans forward on her desk and gives me a cardboard smile. “We’ll be sure to call you for an interview when a position comes available.”

“Right.” I stab her with a glare. She doesn’t seem to notice. Probably gets glared at every day by some punk kid like me, hoping for a better paying job. As I stride out of her office into the muggy August afternoon, I can’t stop thinking about the twenty-five bucks my paycheque is going to be short this week and I feel like punching something. The woman in personnel would have suited me fine.

The weather is threatening of rain, heavy clouds cling to the mountains and the air smells and feels damp. Better get home before I’m caught out in a downpour.

I’ve parked the 1968 Triumph Bonneville in the crosswalk out front of the personnel building—the only spot left in the lot. I sense disapproving glares as I swing my leg over it, but I ignore the feeling. Not like I had a hope in Hades of getting a job here anyway. I kickstart my bike. The engine revs into throaty life then sputters for a few seconds and dies.

“Oh, come on, baby. Don’t do this to me.” I give it another kick. It dies again.

This wouldn’t be the first time the old Triumph has left me stranded. The first time was only a day or two after I bought it off an old buddy in high school. I thought I was getting such a good deal. I should have known better than to trust a guy who earned pocket money shoplifting decongestants from the local Pharmasave and selling them to the middle school kids as Ecstasy.

By then the bike was turning girls’ heads in my direction and I quit caring anymore. I emptied my bank account into it. But instead of an engine rebuild, I got a new paint job. Instead of a decent carburettor, a new set of dials. A new leather seat instead of a new muffler. Somehow in my seventeen-year-old mind, I figured I’d be making decent cash at the grand old age of twenty-three and could afford to fix the ‘big stuff’ then.

Lately, I haven’t even had the money to put gas in it. Not with the baby on the way and me having to work nine hours a day, six days a week, and still barely make ends meet. Twenty-five bucks wasted on nothing more than a joyride to the mill. I give the Triumph one last angry kick. Nothing.

Could this day get any better?

Available at: Amazon

Author Sites: Website, Facebook

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