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The Turn Around

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Trent knew he had to take care of his baby sister—no one else in his family was going to do it, and Daria had left for college. Sure, she'd be back, and Janey had taken care of herself just fine before Daria Morgendorffer, but this was something big. Janey never took absences as well as everyone thought she did—and if he cleaned up his life, Janey would be able to paint out her frustration rather than sell art to make ends meet. And maybe if Daria came back and still looked at him with a blush and an invitation in her eyes, he'd feel worthy to take her up on the offer.

His letter to the local pharmacist was a simple one.

Dear Sir,

I want a job as an assistant or something, a job which will pay the bills as well as convince the bank that I need a loan to go to college. I don't want to go to college, but I know that, if I want to be qualified for the position I'm applying for, I have to. Whatever hours you want to set and give me, as long as they are around twenty or thirty a week, I'll take.

The references I would give you aren't ones you want to call. Basically I am changing, and I'll tell you why if you hire me.

Thanks,

Trent Lane

Rogers was an older man, in his fifties. His eyes were lined with wrinkles, but they were still quick. He grunted disapprovingly at the slightly reddened holes in Trent's ears at the interview—he'd taken out all of his earrings. He'd bought a long-sleeved shirt to cover up his tattoos. He hadn't had a cigarette all day so he didn't smell like smoke.

"So I can't call your references because they're all hoodlums, is what you're telling me?"

"Not exactly, they all have jobs and aren't in trouble with the law, but they're not exactly reference material for a job at a pharmacy. I'm in the process of changing where I'm going, and they don't need to come along for the whole ride."

"And why are you giving up that, Mr. Lane? You've got a band, successful locally at least, you can pay your bills. What's with the massive change-up?"

"A girl." Rogers grunted in the back of his throat.

"She in trouble?" The way he said it, Trent understood what he was thinking. That he'd gotten some girl pregnant, that she needed help from trouble that he'd gotten her into.

"No. She's got a good life, and she likes me just fine it seems like. But I can't go after her the way I am—if I asked her out, she'd go out with me, she'd waste her life on me. And I can't let her waste her life on Trent Lane, failed musician. But at the same time, I can't get her out of my head."

"And you're going to be a clean-cut pharmacist instead?"

"Well, yeah, if you'll hire me."

"I can't find out if you're being straight with me about this unless I do. Come back on Monday at eight before we open. And for God's sake, boy, have a cigarette before you do, I'm not one of those health freaks."