Jillian Perry: The Ghost
Jillian Perry, the future love of my life, grew up like James seeing ghosts, though, for her, they appeared as shadows of different colors. The ones that she feared the most were the ones that showed up as black; those, she said, were evil. But as time went on for Jillian, she saw the shadows less and less until she didn’t notice them at all and ultimately forgot about them.
Much was like her relationship with her brother after high school. James was the weird one. Having very little friends and a magnet for ridicule, Jillian shied away from him and his misery, often finding refuge in her textbooks.
Jillian studied voraciously biological sciences; she wanted to solve the mysteries of human biology and discover how to cure maladies and the pains individuals felt from their own bodies, both physical and mental. One of her more lofty ideas was to develop a means to permanently increase a person’s metabolism…
But all of that seemed so far away. She was very close to finishing her master’s degree in biochemistry, but with the economy in the shitter, she was having a hard time finding a job that didn’t involve managing high school students and their burger-flipping endeavors.
Patience, time, the economy will recover soon… When was soon? She went on to her masters specifically to wait out the failing economy, she even took her time and spent four years on her masters instead of two, all the while waiting tables… Waiting…
It was late; Jillian finished her first half of a double shift at The All-Night Burgers-n-Stuff, and she slid into a booth to enjoy a greasy burger and fries on her lunch break. The best part about working this late, or early, whatever the case, was the lack of people. The worst was over at 2 am with the usual gaggle of drunks and caffeinated punks, and now at 4 am she could sit in a quiet, practically empty dining room and scan the tv for something interesting to watch.
Upon turning it on, Jillian was annoyed to see the news. She hated the news; it was always miserable with death and bad news. It seemed like not only had the economy ruined her life but everyone else’s, creating a domino effect of events where people just lost all sense of good, breaking the walls and falling into a fit of violence and greed…
It made her sick to her stomach and as she lingered to see what tragedy had stuck this time, she couldn’t help but laugh. Not a funny laugh, but an ironic and cold laugh: the two presidential candidates, who raced to inherit the job of revitalizing the US had been brutally killed in a hotel room with some no-name executive.
Jillian smiled. They were the same guy anyway, dressed in a different suit, wearing a different cologne, but, regardless, the goods were signed by Armani… an illusion of choice that we fall for every four years… Maybe someone NEW will be nominated…
“The investigation continues as to why both candidates were meeting with Edward Burr, CEO of financial giant Stantz and Lee…”
Probably just collecting their campaign money. She took a long drink from her glass of cola. When she felt the buzz of her cell phone on her thigh.
She dug into her pocket and swiped her fingers on the touchscreen to unlock it. She blinked as she saw the name: James Perry… A text message? The two hadn’t spoken since a Christmas video chat. James apparently was too busy to spend Christmas with the family that year.
She opened it up, her eyes dilated as she read it:
I’ve deposited some money into your account. I want you to visit me in New York; I think I have a job for you, if you’re interested. I understand that with your future graduation, you are still looking for a suitable position. What I have planned is more than substantial, it will change your life forever, for the better.
Cryptic and weird as ever, she thought, I wonder what he sent me.
She opened up her bank account on her phone to see a deposit of $50,000.00 in her checking account. She did a double-take. It was 50 grand… She stood up and walked over to the office.
“Hi, Jillian,” said the night manager, “I want to thank you again for taking that double. We were hurting for someone to stick around…”
“I quit,” she said, “Thank you for this opportunity. I hope I can count on you for a future reference.”
With that, Jillian walked out to her car and planned her trip to New York.