By eleven-thirty, Michelle is as frustrated as a NASCAR driver stuck in commuter traffic. In order to stop thinking about Parker, she’s forced herself to focus on the problem with Greg Owens, but she can’t do anything until she reads the man’s application. Once she sees how Owens has presented himself, she should be able to find him a legitimate job offer within a week or two.
The thought of side-stepping the reporter’s assault brings a smile to her face, but she can’t deny the irony. Greg Owens, champion for the cause of integrity and ethics, has resorted to deception in the hope of exposing an employment scam. To remain free of his sticky little web, Michelle will counter with complete honesty. If not for the danger of further fallout, she might even be tempted to expose the reporter’s fake application.
But what kind of jobs might he have applied for? He might have claimed to be a teacher or a writer. Depending on his background, he might have claimed to be a coach or in retail. She could ask the school principal who emailed her this morning for possible leads at local schools, and Lauren might know someone in retail. When they meet at Lord & Taylor tomorrow—if they meet–Michelle could stop by the store office and ask for a sample application.
She pulls her purse from the corner and rummages through its depths for her notepad and a pen. She wants to jot down these ideas before she forgets them; she wants to feel like she’s doing something useful while she sits here staring at the walls.
She finds her notepad, drops it onto her lap, and thrusts her hand back into her purse. After grabbing a handful of objects at the bottom of her bag, she brings them into the light: a wrapped cough drop, a highlighter, a paperclip, a gum wrapper, and two pens, neither of which work when she drags them across a sheet of paper.
From the other wall, Gina watches with a look of patient amusement. “You might check–” she points toward the purse–“to see if you have anything edible in there. By the time the storm passes, we might be hungry.”
Michelle gives her a wintry smile. “We won’t be here when the storm passes. Eddie’s coming.”
“He may be,” Gina counters, “but unless he’s bringing help, I don’t think he’s going to get us out. Even a piece of hardy candy might boost our spirits.”
Tired of arguing, Michelle dumps the contents of her purse on the floor. The other women lean forward as she takes inventory: “Two tea bags—one Earl Gray, one chamomile.”
“Nice,” Gina says. “If only we had teacups and hot water.”
“A USB flash drive,” Michelle continues, “a couple of wadded tissues, one AAA membership card, one tube of raspberry antibacterial hand lotion, and my passport.” She looks up, anticipating the question in Gina’s eyes. “I’m not going overseas, but I do travel occasionally and I hate showing my driver’s license at the airport. The passport has a much better picture.”
Gina tucks a strand of hair behind her ear. “I would do the same thing.”
“One pair of prescription sunglasses, a bottle of Motrin, a travel-sized mouthwash, a handful of receipts, my cell phone, my wallet, my pocket calendar. My notepad, highlighter, and two pens, both of which are apparently out of ink.”
Isabel sighs and leans back against the far wall while Gina folds her arms. “Not even a stick of gum? You must not have been a girl scout.”
“Look,” Michelle says, her voice coagulating with sarcasm, “at least I brought a purse. Where’s yours?”
A secretive smile softens Gina’s mouth, but she doesn’t answer.