Karen sat on the curb by the service entrance of the country club watching cherry blossom petals rain onto the pavement. She was the first to arrive every shift. Tony hinted at a promotion and a key of her own once she earned the owners' trust. She wondered when arriving early, staying late, and working her fingers raw would be rewarded. She pushed aside the thought and admired the sunlight breaking through the fog on the golf course.
“Good morning Karen,” called Charles, the co-owner and banquet manager of the club. “Early as usual!”
She stowed her purse and began setting up the coffee urns. Tony strolled in a few minutes later and began setting up chairs.
“Karen, can you grab the bin of white tablecloths when you're done with that?” Tony asked.
“No problem Tony.”
Karen finished her task and headed for the storeroom. She heard Charles arguing with John, the other owner and slowed down when she heard her name mentioned.
“I'm not giving Karen a key,” John said.
“Why not? She works harder than anyone else. She's always early. She's willing to stay late. The members lover her. Why not let her move up?”
“She's a good worker. But I knew Edmond O'Brien for years. He was a weasel from the moment he took a breath.”
“John, Karen wasn't raised by Eddie. He walked out on her and her mom years ago.”
“Then Peggy drank herself to death! Blood will out. Karen's blood is tainted by liars, cheats, and drunks. I won't have her holding a key to my club.”
“Fine. Our club. I gave in when Tony wanted to hire her. But I draw the line at giving an O'Brien a key to my livelihood.”
Karen picked up the bin of tablecloths and returned to the dining room.
“You alright Karen? Tony asked. “You look like you've seen a ghost.”
“Something like that.”
I'm linking up this week with Trifecta, who gave us the word “blood” for inspiration and Write at the Merge who gave us a photograph of a flowering tree and a quote from REM. You can read more of Karen's story here.