Chapter 1 – Rock Bottom
The cool night breeze sweeps upon Saotome’s soft cheeks as she sits staring a paper she holds in her left hand. Bright red stamps against the textured paper, boldly claiming her honorifics of passing her certification degree in business management. She sighs, dishearten at the prospect of what this this second-rate diploma from a first-rate college would do for her. All she has is this s]tupid piece of paper to show for the work and effort she has put in for the last 4 years of college. She takes a swig of her beer she held in her other hand, still cold from her time outside, taking in the cool summer night outside of her apartment.
A month has passed since university, and still no bites on potential jobs. No interviews, no call backs, not even second glances at her resume. In this economy, even the best of the best can’t get you a paltry corner office job. It’s not what you know, but who you know.
She chugs the rest of her beer, she closes her cardigan, protecting her fragile frame against the crisp night air. She flings the brown glass bottle against the cinderblock wall in front of her, allowing the grey of the wall to drag her further into her thoughts. Contemplating what she will have to do moving forward, ill at the notion of moving back in with her father. Saotome can just here what the backhanded advice and empty compliments her father would give,
“The factory is always hiring”
“You’d get fat if you worked in an office anyway”
“You should be doing something to keep you on your feet”
She shudders at the onslaught of potential retched moans of her father, getting up to go get more of that sweet nectar that drowns the echo of her sorrows. She opens the apartment door with an eerie creep, only to be greeted by the void of her home. A small apartment would be a compliment to describe the estate, but a more literal sense would be a comically small studio. At times, Saotome feels like she’s suffocating in a coffin. Making only a few steps to the door of her small refrigerator, she bends down with some effort to find the stockade of happy hop juices to bind her soul. She grabs one, then pauses as she’s halfway out the fridge. She nods as she go back to grab two between her dexterous fingers. She groans subconsciously as she closes the fridge with her foot, turning to a small cabinet above the count and sink. Licking her lips, she opens the cabinet to find her stacks of snacks; happy to find her supply of potato chips is still intact. grabbing a back with her open hand, she closes the cabinet haphazardly close to close with the back of her hand as she slowly starts to return to her front step. As she passes by, she notices a note she pinned to the refrigerator with her happy neko magnet with the follow etched on the front,
“Maya’s Maid Café; we give you the biggest service possible =^3^=”
Taking the note off with the clatter of the magnet falling to the ground, she flips it over with her free fingers. Written on the back, a phone number, followed by a welcoming note from her college friend Saijo, “call me, we can hook you up ;3”
“ Maybe I should call?” Saotome says softly to herself
Saotome sits down on her soft rear as she tears open the bag of chips, starting with a few followed by a long swig of a new beer.
“ Whats the worst that could happen?”
She pauses for a moment, letting the thought sink in for only a moment as she grabs a handful of salty chips, then plastering the rest of her first beer. She begins to chuckle, quickly interrupting the binge with a muffled burp.