Hibbert Takes a Job
Hibbert had, up until the point in time of which we speak,
to be that rara avis, a housewife.
However, being saddled with a husband of
a somewhat spendthrift nature had given her several nice cars
driveway without her having the wherewithal to pay the grocer.
situation was not made better upon the morning that her
husband discovered there was no coffee. The ensuing domestic
scene was one
that we shall draw a kind curtain over, however, the result
was that he had
agreed that she should take a job.
the general worth in the marketplace of your average
housewife is somewhere in the realm of a potted plant, and
Mrs. Hibbert had
found acquiring a job almost more difficult than acquiring
permission to take one. After yet another morning of discouraging
various kind-hearted girls young enough to be her daughter,
cooling her face and her feelings in the dairy case of her
local health food
irresolutely, trying to find a container of goat cheese small
enough to be bought with the meager contents of her pocketbook.
a pimply-faced young man who had gone to high school with
her son came over.
Mrs. Hibbert, finding everything you want? he asked.
she replied forlornly.
is it? The Jarlsburg? I know it isnt the right brand.
cant afford Jarlsburg, she snarled, her very mouth
watering at the
thought of the inferior product before her.
he said, thinking of her son at the Sorbonne. Money
she confided, bought a Mercedes.
he said, immediately understanding the situation. These temporary
shortfalls often happened to people who shopped at his store.
like me to open you a line of credit?
thank you, dear, she sighed. I dont think
Ill be coming in much any
Mrs. Hibbert! he was astonished. There was no more devoted
the latest dietary fads and supplement wars than Mrs. Hibbert.
It had been
thus from his childhood, when he waited counter at his fathers
be helped Im afraid, she sighed.
Tom sighed, casting his mind on the problem. She was one of
customers. If he lost her, the volume of business in certain
drop to unacceptable levels. Where would he be without her
monthly intake of
Sweet Honey and Wormwood Gall Bladder Soother? How could he
explain to his
father that without Mrs. Hibbert, the entire stock of Mrs.
Crisis Herbal Supplement which had just come off back-order
tell you what, he said, I could use some part-time
help. Then youd
get the employee discount!
she cried in pure joy, youd really give me work?
sure, he said, stepping back a bit from her rather intense
He was afraid she was going to hug him or have another motherly
many hours a week? she asked.
he thought hard. How about we start you on Fridays and
when its busy and go from there?
Tom, thats just wonderful! And how much
question seemed so crass.
start everybody at $6 an hour, he said firmly. It was
a full forty
cents an hour over the minimum wage, and therefore better
than working in
fast food. Mrs. Hibbert declined to work in fast food. Not
only was it
undignified, but it was awful for your skin.
thank you! she said. So I should come in this
youd better come in on Thursday afternoon and fill out
for your taxes. We can show you where everything is and how
to run the cash
dear, her face fell.
is it? he asked. Cant make Thursday afternoon?
But Ive never run a cash register, she said. Are
worry about that! he laughed. Youll get
it in no time!
went home over the moon at her luck. Her husbands reaction
evening was more subdued.
health food store? he asked. Well, I guess its
a growth industry in
that she had sprung the news on him too early in the evening.
He had not yet penetrated to the bottom of the first double-scotch.
dear, she said. Just Fridays and Saturdays for
he said, But I dont work on Saturdays. Wholl
fix my lunch?
make it before I go, she said.
what about all the errands? And what about when I have to
go see my
sister? he asked, suddenly realizing what a hole this
was going to make in
Ive never worked dear, I dont have a lot of choices,
he puttered around the living room like a
very round teapot on
is just dreadful! he opined.
I get you another Scotch, honey? she asked.
yes, he quickly downed the rest of the glass. Thank
Carl at the start of a tantrum was critical. Otherwise he
work himself into a complete state of dudgeon, which would
be followed by
days of sulking and shed be back where she started with
regard to the goat
cheese. After 30 years of marriage, she understood her husband.
found, as her children grew up, that her parenting skills
had become much
more useful with him than with them. They were nice, mature,
young people. Her husband would forever be two years old and
in need of
him the drink, with just a little more than usual in the glass.
got couscous for dinner, she said, naming one of his
good. Did you get the fresh garlic and lemon?
dear, she said soothingly and automatically.
know I cant digest it with that powdered garlic in it.
It has to be
fresh. And you know, that last bottle of olive oil we bought
quite what it should have been, was it? Every since we opened
it my stomach
just has not been itself.
seems fine to me dear.
pick up a new bottle for me next time youre at the store.
a break for the kitchen, but he followed her, sitting down
kitchen table. He knew she abhorred having him in the kitchen
when she was
cooking. As if the couscous was aware of his presence, when
she lifted the
lid she found it stuck to the bottom of the pot.
fat! she said, annoyed.
I dont see why you must use that silly phrase,
I dont want to swear dear, she said. You
wouldnt want to hear me
saying what I really mean, would you?
course not, he agreed, but surely you could say
something a little
what? she asked him.
like Darn. Theres nothing wrong with darn!
you take that back! You know very well that darn
is just another way
of saying the bad d-word, and thats just not something
that a lady does! I
ve always thought that a lady should be a lady and Ive
always thought that
was something we agreed about completely, and why youd
want to hear me
swearing like a sailor when Ive managed to train myself
so that I dont say
anything like that at all, at GREAT effort I might add since
when the kids
were little God knows there were days when I just wanted to
bang my head on
the wall and scream every bad word I knew at the top of my
when David was at that age with the knife throwing fad and
room knew us on sight, and Sarah kept wrecking cars, and now
all you can do
is sit there and tell me Im silly. Well you just might
as well give up
right this minute because Im not going to swear like
a sailor for anybody,
particularly not a man who buys a Mercedes we cant afford.
washed over Carl as if non-existent. At the beginning of the
first sentence, his face had assumed a peculiar look as if
her were a tape
deck paused. While he continued to receive sips of scotch
mind was off wandering in the elysian fields of what he was
going to say
next. However, the Mercedes remark was a sore tooth that she
had kept at for
two months without rest, and this was not to be borne idly.
work all week long and everyone at my level at work drives
a Mercedes and
I had to have it, and you know that.
why didnt you sell the BMW?
I want you to take the BMW. Its a good car. I dont
see why you
dont want it.
like my car just fine thank you, and its newer and in
better shape than
the BMW, and I want to keep it.
its a Toyota, Virginia. You shouldnt be driving
a Toyota. Theyre not
safe the way I drive it, she said.
me at least get you a Volvo, he offered.
last Volvo we had spent more time in the shop and sitting
driveway waiting for parts than it spent on the road. No thank
you. I like
had ended this way for two months. Something clearly had to
done. He decided to make the grand gesture.
I sell the BMW will you give up this foolish idea about working?
earlier, if he had suggested the idea, she would have agreed
and unstuck the couscous from the bottom of the pan with nary
a twinge. But
now, foolish became another accusation of silliness
in her head and she
will not. I like the idea of having a job.
you dont need a job.
I do. After all, I just hate it when I have to ask you for
money to buy
my yarn for my knitting and for money to get Christmas and
and such. This will be much easier.
well be fine after I sell the BMW.
keeping my car and Im keeping my job! she said.
Virginia! he reproached.
FAT!!! she replied. Carl should have known after 30
years not to bother
her when she was cooking and here he was harassing her. Heres
dinner, she said, upending the pot of couscous on the
table in front of
looked at the table in silence for a moment. Ill
order a pizza,
stuff: Please do not print, copy or distribute this without
permission from the author. All rights reserved. Copyright
© 2001 Alexandra R.
Nyfors. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is strictly