My Best Friend’s Daughter
The thing about teachers is that, as much as you love the occasional national holiday, you somehow always long for summer at some point.
I’d been teaching English Lit to teenagers for the better part of twenty years. Time had flown by, my youthful optimism began to fade, and I had more than a few mournful discoveries about my aging body. It would have been depressing if I wasn’t usually busy enough to distract myself.
That is, until my summer job for the park district fell through.
“Sorry, Jack,” Milo — the head honcho over there — told me a week before summer break began. “I had a lot of applications from teens for their first jobs, and we have to give them a chance, you know?”
“So you’re resorting to age discrimination now, Milo?” I asked.
The young man knew me too well, though, from the way he grinned. “What, are you going to report me?”
“Nah,” I said, “but I do expect you to buy me a drink or two over at our local watering hole the next time you’re free.”
“Have a nice summer, Jack.”
It shouldn’t have sounded like he was giving me the verbal equivalent of the finger, but that was just the way Milo was. I’d grown used to his barbed words; they were just another defense mechanism he used to show he was in charge.
And me? Who was I to argue? Every day, all I did at the park district office was play solitaire on the aging computer. Perhaps it was time to pass the mantle to some acne-ridden kid who hadn’t been able to secure a job at McDonald’s for the summer.
Hell, maybe I would have to go to McDonald’s for the summer just to have something to do.
My friend Harper, an old college roommate of mine, wouldn’t hear any of it when I told him about my predicament over the phone. “No way in hell are you flipping burgers this summer. You’ve gotta come to Marty’s beach house. Evan and I are already going for a week in July, and Marty’ll be more than happy for you to tag along.”
Evan and Marty — two more guys from college. It seemed we hadn’t grown too much apart for the same names to be thrown around so easily all these years later.