How You Leave Texas by Alana Cash

Posted on Friday, September 27, 2013

She was late to work at Fastbinder’s Mortgage Company, and when she arrived, the atmosphere in the office felt charged. Something was up. The top managers were in an unscheduled conference call and no one knew why. No one was working, so Camille called her mother to thank her for the flowers that were already sitting on her desk.

“What do you and Walker have planned for tonight?” Elaine Morgan asked her daughter.

Camille explained about the dinner.

“What is he getting you as a gift?”

“I don’t know, Mom. I’ve looked everywhere.”

“Well, have a wonderful time, honey,” her mom said.

It was ten o’clock when Camille got off the phone. The accounting department surprised her with a birthday cake, sang to her, and gave her the card they had all signed. Five minutes later, the managers were out of their meeting and everyone got canned by one loud announcement from the District Manager.

“We’re sorry to have to tell you that you are all let go.”  That is all that Camille would ever clearly remember.

The mortgage company was belly-up. Those few employees who were retained were being transferred to the Las Vegas branch. Everyone was in shock and had no time to express outrage or disappointment because they were told to pack up all of their personal belongings and exit the building immediately. Camille took the elevator down the four floors, amid grumblings from secretaries and mortgage brokers. What about our benefits?  I didn’t take all my vacation this year. Someone ought to blow up the building. I stole a printer.

Delia, the accounting manager, invited the department members to Edith’s Barbecue in South Austin where they took two tables on the small patio and drank steadily for hours, all except Camille, who never had more than two drinks anywhere, anytime. The group had a surreal feeling, like no one was quite awake. They broke up just before 2 p.m.

Camille hugged a few of her coworkers, especially Delia, who was her good friend. The two of them and Delia’s daughter, Lindsay, got together every Saturday morning to go garage-sale shopping and then have breakfast at Frankie’s Diner. Once, Camille had invited Delia and her husband, Paul, over on a Saturday night for dinner, but Walker didn’t make much of an effort to make either of them feel at home. Paul worked in construction as a carpenter. He didn’t play golf or go hunting. Didn’t vote republican.

In the parking lot, Delia said to Camille, “It’s time for us to start our coffee business.”

Camille and Delia had daydreamed for years about starting a portable coffee business. Just a little cart they could park on Congress Avenue to sell coffee in the mornings to people in a hurry to get to work.

“Yeah,” Camille said, feeling sad. “I’m going to miss seeing you every day.”

“That’s why we need to start our little business.”

As everyone else drove off, Camille sat in her car thinking about where she could learn how to make a cappuccino. She was sitting there an hour later, wondering how to ask Walker to cosign a loan to purchase a coffee cart, when she got a call from, Jana, the former receptionist at Fastbinder’s. Jana told her that Delia had run a red light on her way home and was killed in a collision. Jana explained that she was right behind Delia’s car, only she had stopped at the red light, and saw the whole thing.

Camille closed her cell phone without saying a word to Jana, and then said to no one, “Shut up.”

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Genre –  Women’s Fiction

Rating – PG13

More details about the author & the book

Connect with Alana Cash on her

Blog http://howyoulovetexas.blogspot.com/


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