The lady who owned the store told me that if I worked all day, a whole twelve hours straight, she’d give me fifty bucks cash a day. That sounded like a great deal, and even more so when she asked if I could work the fourteen days straight before Christmas. It would have been a lot of money for me at that time in my life, except that she never paid me. “I’ll give it to you after Christmas,” she kept saying. “I’ll be able to figure out all my profits then, and I’ll just give it to you in one big check.”
Leigha told me I was being a chump for believing the lady. I wanted to give her the benefit of the doubt, but then Leigha showed me where the lady lived and I knew I’d never see a penny of the money. She lived in a tiny apartment off Midway and was one of the only white people living in a neighborhood filled with new Vietnamese immigrants. People had chickens living on their balconies and in their patios, and the sidewalks outside were crowded with little naked kids. “Still think you’re going to get a big pile of money from your boss?” Leigha asked me as we slowly drove down the street, trying not to run over anyone’s loose chicken or kid.