Blanche had the dinner done for the “boys” as she called them. She checked for the ingredients for tomorrows dinner and said good bye to the hashers who would do the dishes and clean up. “Make sure you get that grill clean tonight. I’m doing pancakes in the morning.”
“Yes Blanche,” they said in unison.
She didn’t figure she had time to go out to Walmart and get home to make dinner for Dennis, her 10-year-old grandson, so she stopped at Askers in her small town. The 20-minute drive was twilight in this early spring evening.
She shuffled her groceries to the checkout where Randy, the owner greeted her. “How you doing Blanche?”
“My feet and my back hurt.”
“You still cooking for that fraternity?” He started ringing up the items.
“Yeah. On my feet all day and bending wears me out.”
“I know where you could get some hydros. They’re all over this town.”
Blanche stared at Randy. “I ain’t that bad.”
“Oh, I’m not selling any, just saying.”
“That stuff is how Melanie got started.”
“How is your daughter? You still got her boy?”
“She’s OK; maybe out this summer. Yeah, Dennis is with me. I gotta go make him dinner and check his homework.”
“You hear the governor has a plan for that opioid problem? I read he’s going to make an order about it.”
Blanche looked off. “That’s the second time today somebody’s told me he was going to solve our problems.”
“Yeah, I guess he was here to talk to the fraternity boys about staying here in Idaho. They ate it up.”
“Well, they gotta make a living. How’s little Dennis doing?”
“He’s a good kid. But Melanie was too at that age. I don’t know where things changed.”
“She did have him young, didn’t she?”
“Sixteen. I had her when I was fifteen. Wasn’t no big deal back then.”
He had the items bagged and totaled. Blanche was looking in her purse for her cash. She put the twenty on the counter. “It’s $23.46 Blanche. Did you want credit?” She looked deeper: a five and four ones would have to get her through the week. Good thing she had gas.
“No credit. That’s as bad as those pills. Here you go.”
Randy rang it up. “You know Blanche, you’re a hard-working woman. I’m sure the governor’s plan will help out Melanie.”
“What she really needs is a good job.” Blanche looked Randy in the eye. “You hiring?”
Randy looked down and closed the cash drawer, putting the coins on the counter. He paused a while and glanced at Blanche. “I don’t know Blanche. I really have to be able to trust the folks I hire.”
Blanche sighed deep.
Randy perked up. “Maybe that governor’s plan can help Melanie with treatment and counseling, since we expanded that Medicare.”
Blanche grinned. “You sure know your politics. How do you find the time?”
“It’s not busy in the day much here. I read the papers and then fold them back up.” He grinned.
Blanche tried again. “You get a good worker in here and you could buy one and do the crossword.”
“I’ll think about it. I can’t pay much either, just so you know.”
Blanche took her bag and waved and smiled as she left.
Dennis had the house clean and had finished his homework. After their dinner Blanche checked it and his spelling was getting better.
“Hey Dennis, do you know who is the governor of Idaho?” Blanche asked the fifth-grader.
“What’s a governor?”
“Oh, he’s the boss of the state.”
Dennis frowned and looked down. “So, he’s the man who made mommy stay away?”
Blanche looked down, sorry she’d tried something new. “No, Dennis, your mom broke the law and she has to pay for her mistake.”
Dennis had heard this before. “Who is the governor?”
Blanche blushed. “I don’t know his name, but he’s supposed to help us out. Good bosses do that.”