Welcome to Richmond



December 2023
 
Samantha Bradshaw is 24; Cory Green is 48; Rose Green is 33



Samantha woke up as the train pulled to a stop.  She looked at the sign out the window.  Richmond.  This was the end of her journey, at least for now.  She stepped out into a surprisingly mild winter morning and stretched, glad to be out of the cramped train after spending most of the past 24 hours on the move. 


What she really needed now was somewhere to stay.  She was exhausted and she felt dirty and unkempt, despite a shower and change of clothes at one of her many stops on the way.  She'd made a zig-zagging journey, changing buses and trains often in the hope of putting off anyone who might follow her.  She'd already read about the town in a "Welcome to Richmond" brochure she'd found on a seat in a train somewhere.  It sounded like something a real estate agent would write, but at least it gave her an idea of what to expect, and there was a street map on the back which would be useful.  She stowed her suitcase in a locker at the station and made her way to a street of shops nearby.


She went into the supermarket to buy a newspaper, stopping at a notice board on the wall inside.  No accommodation there, but a "help wanted" advertisement caught her eye.  "Pearls of Wisdom Bookstore", it said.  They needed a cashier/sales person - 'experience preferred but not necessary - training given'.


She hadn't wanted to work in a shop, but it wasn't a matter of what she wanted at the moment.  She was desperately short of money.  She could find something better later, but for now this was too convenient not to follow up.  She found the place easily enough, further down the same street.  Entering the shop, she found a man and woman engaged in some kind of heated discussion.


"Um... excuse me..." Samantha started, but the couple continued their debate. 
"... but we can't be here 24 hours a day", the woman told the man.
"And we can't have this stuff all over the place when the shop's open," he responded, gesturing to a ladder and a pile of boxes in one corner.
"Granddad restocked all the time when the shop was open"
"Your grandfather didn't have six weeks of - "

"EXCUSE ME", Samantha tried again, this time getting their attention.  "Can you tell me where the owner is?"
"The owner isn't available," the man said, irritably.  "I'm the manager.  What do you want?"
"Are you still looking for someone to work here?"
"We are," he said, suddenly smiling, "are you applying?.  Samantha nodded, and he gestured for her to follow him through a door behind the counter. Almost as an afterthought, he turned back to the woman. "Rose...?", he asked.
"I'm fine, go ahead," she said, approaching a man browsing at the other side of the shop, as if to reassure the manager that she could deal with customers on her own.  Then she stopped, turned back to Samantha and said pointedly, "I'm Rose Green, by the way, and that - ", and she gestured to the man, " - is my husband Cory.".


Samantha followed Cory into the break room.  "My daughter's name is Samantha," he said fondly, when she introduced herself.  He picked up a pen and paper, and a packet of cigarettes.  "Do you smoke?"
"No"
"Do you mind if I do?"
"No"
"Come...", and he gestured for her to follow him out into a small courtyard behind the shop."
"Sorry about that before, I've got a lot on my mind right now", he said, lighting his cigarette.  "Finding someone to work here would ease that considerably.  I need some details, though."  He wrote down her name, then asked, "Address?"


"Uh... I don't have one."
He put the pen down, looked up, and repeated, "You don't have one?"
"I just arrived... literally... on the last train.  I haven't had time to find anywhere to live."
"And you don't know where...?"
"No idea.  If you could suggest a hotel or something...."
"No hotels in town, but there is a guest house.  Its not fancy but it's clean and tidy, and not expensive either.  It's just around the corner, across the road from the church.  I think it used to be a convent or something".

Samantha groaned to herself.  Another closet-sized bedroom and shared everything else.  She thought of the apartment she'd left behind in Kayton, then pushed the memory away.  She could get another apartment eventually.  She could start again, here or somewhere else.  If she wanted to stay in one place for that long, that is.

Cory was drawing a rough map on another piece of paper.  When he finished, he handed it to her, and asked, "So, when can you start?"
Samantha was stunned.  "Aren't you supposed to interview me or something...?"
"No"
"... or at least ask for a resume?"
"No"
"References?"
"No"
"But - "

"Look, bottom line, you're the only reply we've had and we're desperate.  We've just lost two experienced staff and a third is probably leaving for college in a few months.  This place closed suddenly and I've just re-opened after several weeks, there's a backlog of orders and deliveries, and a mess of paperwork, and I can't sort all that out and run the shop alone too.  You look honest, and if you're not, I'm going to find out soon enough, aren't I?"

Samantha didn't know what to say.  In Kayton, she'd got a job without identification or references by sheer luck, and this time she'd been prepared to lie, to beg, to do whatever she had to, to convince this guy to hire her.  She hadn't been prepared to have to do nothing at all.  

Speechless for a moment, she finally stammered out the first thing that came into her mind.  "Well, it sounds like the owner picked a bad time to become unavailable, doesn't it?"
She immediately regretted it.  Cory was clearly annoyed.
"I'm sorry," she said, "I shouldn't - "
"Look, do you want a job or not?"


Samantha hesitated for a moment, then replied "Yes, I do,"
"Ok, good," Cory said.  "You start tomorrow morning at nine.  I'm guessing you don't have any money, so I'll pay you daily for the first week.  I realise that gives you a good incentive to just walk off after a day or two, but it also gives me the ability to terminate your employment with a day's notice.  You'll have to trust me and I'll have to trust you.  After the first week, if all goes well, the pay is weekly and you get proper contract. Ok?".   
She nodded dumbly.  She had a feeling the terms were non-negotiable anyway if she wanted the work.


She left the shop a few minutes later, map in her pocket, promising to give Cory her contact details the next day.  She sensed he had some doubts as to whether she would actually turn up, but that didn't matter.  

She shivered.  It was warm for this time of year, but still chilly without a coat.  And her coat, she realised, was back in Kayton.   She thought about Kayton - the Christmas party she'd left, the wrecked apartment, the fact that she hadn't said goodbye to anyone.  It occurred to her that they might suspect that she'd come to some harm, just disappearing like that.  

She briefly considered sending a message to Jeff, then decided against it.  Too risky.  Probably, it was better they did think something had happened to her.  At least that way, no one would try to find her.  The last thing she needed right now, was someone finding her.

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6 comments:

  1. Awww, I was hoping she'd left a letter for Jeff, but I guess she couldn't. It's true, it probably would be too risky.

    Looks like she's off to a great start though! Lucky girl, falling right into a job like that. I hope she finds a place to sleep for the night too, lol!

    I can't wait to see what she gets up to here! :)

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  2. Wonderful start, I'm curious about Cory and Rose and what has happened with their shop.

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  3. Nice! I jumped up every time I saw a reference to my hood! :) That actually makes me curious to how Laura feels about all this, seeing her sim everywhere!

    I like the little mystery aspect, you know how I love my drama! Can't wait to see where it goes - I really enjoyed this!

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  4. Thanks for the comments!

    Laura, she had to fall into the job because that's where I need her in the story... lol... although having said that, the stuff Cory said about losing his staff is more-or-less true in-game so someone I would have needed someone else to work there.

    Her departure from Kayton worked perfectly with my story in the way she lost all her money, and would be willing to take the first job she saw.

    Apple, thanks... I wanted to write it so that, in at least the first few entries, the reader doesn't know any more than Samantha does.

    bbop, you're going to be jumping a bit more in the next few entries :)

    Glad you liked it, the situation isn't a mystery in the same way your story is, although it will be the basis for big drama in future entries.

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  5. I'm happy to see that she found herself an income, and am looking forward to seeing her explore Richmond.

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  6. Thanks, Maisie. I'm looking forward to writing it... I wasn't too sure about the idea when I started this but I'm really enjoying it now :)

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Thanks for reading and commenting!