Townies, Cronies, and Hayseeds II C7.12

blame point fingers

The next day was Halloween, and the day Brielle began her job search. Upon waking, she checked her text messages and breathed a sigh of relief upon reading Raina’s text, “I made it! Going to bed! Nighty-night!”

After leaving home, Brielle applied everywhere in Thomasville and Glover County, only never to so much as get a call for an interview. Several weeks went by, and still, no sign that a new job was coming down the pike.

After spending an entire morning, pounding the pavement, looking for a job, Brielle decided to call it a day. Since she still had a little bit of money left, she decided to treat herself to a pampering session. What could it hurt? She only wanted to have her hair styled, so, she stopped at “Pizzazz Hair Salon,” Kim’s salon.

Kim stood behind an older woman in a barber’s chair, putting the finishing touches on her hair. When Kim removed the bib-like hair shield from around the lady’s chest and shoulders, the lady got up, tipped her, and bid her a warm thank you.

“Next week will be fine for your next appointment, Mary.” Kim called after her.

Kim looked up and smiled as Brielle walked in the door.

A Pleasant Appointment at the Salon

“Well, hello, stranger,” she said in a bubbly tone.

“Howdy,” Brielle replied as she tilted her head and smiled back.

“So, what can I do for you, sweetie?” Kim asked kindly.

“Oh, I just need my hair styled. Maybe some beachy waves.” Brielle answered.

“Sure. I can hook you up with some beachy waves,” Kim told her, “Come right on over and have a seat.

Brielle sat down and Kim went to work, washing her hair then taking the hair dryer and a roller brush to it. Brielle looked around to see that there was no one else in the salon.

“So, you work alone?” she asked.

“Today, I do. My two other hairdressers are out with the flu. Luckily, they didn’t have many appointments today. They’ve been sick for a week. Heck! It’s Fall, so, it’s Flu season. Can you believe it. We’ve had a Covid scare and now that it’s over, the flu is back,” Kim said.

Kim the Pleasant Chatty Kathy

“Yeah, I noticed that too. Covid killed the flu and since Covid died out, the flu’s come back to life.” Brielle said, laughing.

“So, did they ever catch that creep that broke in on you a while back?” Kim asked.

Brielle gave Kim the side eye.

“What do you think?” She asked.

“A big nothingburger!”

Brielle gave a thumb’s up as she felt the warmth of the dryer against her head.

“But did you really think those buttheads were going to catch that burglar?”

“Nope. Popeye said they couldn’t catch a cold,” Brielle chuckled, “By the way, I’ll start coming in for a styling once a week. I love a good conversation while having my hair fixed.”

“Oh, girl! Here’s where you’ll hear it all! I have so many stories to tell you,” Kim assured with a smile and a wink.

Brielle smiled back as Kim continued to blowout Brielle’s hair.

The next day, Brielle had no choice but to swallow her pride and go to the Department of Human Services to sign up for assistance. She signed up for food stamps, Medicaid, and welfare.

Brielle sat in the lobby of the DHS office, fussy baby in lap, when caseworker, Barbara Felton, called her back.

As they sat in the cubicle, Barbara read over Brielle’s application.

“So, these were the last two places you’ve worked?” Barbara asked.

A World of Judgement

“That’s correct,” Brielle answered.

“And you’ve moved here from California within the last six months?” The caseworker asked again.

“Yes.”

“Now I recognize the place you worked for since you’ve been here. The boot factory is the best paying job around here. But what about the place back in California? Now, what’s the name of that place? Stephanie’s?”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“And what was this, a restaurant?”

“No. It was a gentlemen’s club.”

“And what did you do there? Cocktail waitressing?”

“Exotic dancer.”

Barbara’s eyebrows shot up and she paused, looking over her reading glasses at Brielle.

“So, Mrs. Markowitz, you worked as a stripper?” The caseworker said in a tone of slight disdain.

“I prefer ‘exotic dancer.’” Brielle corrected her.

“One and the same.” Barbara reacted in a subtle dig.

“Begging your pardon, ma’am, but what does that have to do with me and my family needing a little help? I didn’t come here to be judged. I came here for help- to be able to feed and clothe my children until I can get back on my feet.” Brielle said as she held her crying baby, Kennedy, in her lap.

Denied!

“Very well. I’ll get your application processed. In about two weeks, you’ll get a letter in the mail that will inform you of whether you’re approved. Have a nice day, Mrs. Markowitz.”

Sure enough, Brielle got the letter in a week and a half. However, the letter informed her that she was denied assistance. She grabbed her smartphone and called Barbara at DHS.

“Yes, Barbara, this is Brielle Markowitz. I’m calling in regard to the denial letter the state sent me,” Brielle begin.

“Yes ma’am,” Barbara said on the other end, “I’m looking at your case now and the reason you were denied is because you have too many assets. You own a home that’s paid for and you also own a Cadillac Escalade.”

“Yeah, so?”

“In order to get any assistance from the state, I’m afraid you’re going to have to sell your home and your car. And even then, there’s no guarantee you’ll be approved.”

Brielle paused before responding.

“Thanks, but no thanks!” she said in a short tone before hanging up on the caseworker.

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