Chuck got a job as soon as it was legal at the one place worth working in Ashmut. Starting as a stockboy at sixteen, he figured on making foreman after high school. The night he proposed to Linda, he confessed his ambition to one day become manager. Shit, with a little luck, company president before he retired, gold watch and all, like old man Cutting. Linda smiled, glad she had chosen the one boy in town with some fire under him.
Linda’s dream was to dance in a Broadway show, maybe even the movies. Her dance teacher was enthusiastic about her talent, and Chuck was sure his Linda would one day be a star. He was ready to make the sacrifice of holding down the fort while she went off on tour. Chuck wasn’t the travelling type, anyway, and neither of them was anxious to start a family. They talked about it at Christmas sometimes.
By the time they were thirty, Chuck and Linda had stopped talking about executive suites and tour buses. Chuck was senior forklift operator, not a managerial position. Linda was teaching yoga out at the community college, where she got a faculty discount on dance classes. They still talked about starting a family, usually while Christmas shopping.
On Linda’s thirty-third birthday, Chuck stood at the teller’s window counting his pay. ‘Tell ya what,’ he said to the teller. ‘Do me a favor and give me a hundred ones.’
The teller shrugged, as tellers do, and then complied, as she would do every Friday for the next fifteen years.
When Chuck got home, he gave Linda her present, an authentic Las Vegas poledancing outfit. ‘Dance for me babe,’ he said. He loaded his wife’s music on the player, poured a drink, pulled up chair and waited. Linda came out of the bedroom dancing and didn’t stop until the rain of singles ended, three songs later
Chuck drained his glass, knocked back the chair, and gave his wife a standing ovation.