Skylar Jane Anderson pulled up to the small plaza in Santa Cruz. She had been driving all night just to make it to her destination. She parked her yellow VW Bus and put her head on the steering wheel.
I am never doing that again, she thought to herself. She looked up hopefully and saw a small sandwich shop with an open sign lit up in the front window. Beach City Grill? Sounds good enough for me. She grabbed her purse and pulled the keys out of the ignition. She locked the doors and slammed the door. She checked to make sure her two favorite surfboards were still on the top of the beat up van. They were. She sighed and headed across the street to the little shop.
As she got closer to the door, she noticed the place was decorated with parrots and palm trees. She smiled to herself as a sign in the window got her attention. "Help Wanted: Normal Need Not Apply." She opened the door and a bell chimed over her head.
"Hello!" A blonde said from behind a computer. A thin brunette headed towards one of the tables holding plates in each hand.
"Hi," Skye said quietly. She stood next to the counter and looked at the menu.
"What can I get you?" The blonde asked.
"Ummmm, can I get a six inch tofu with chipotle barbeque and spinach?" Skye pulled the required bills out of her wallet.
"That's not normal," an older man with a small ponytail at his neck said. His blue eyes sparkled when he smiled.
"Well, you are what you eat." Skye shrugged her shoulders.
"Very good point. How long are you in town?" The man asked.
"Awhile, I guess. Since I'm moving here," Skye smiled, trying not to be too much of a smartass.
"You'll need a job."
"That I will."
"So I saw."
"Whoa! Hold on, I know what you're trying to do here, Trucker!" A tall man with a bright blue mohawk came out of the back room. Piercings littered his face.
"And what exactly is that, Priestly?" The man named Trucker asked.
"You're trying to hire this chick without putting her through the interview," Mohawk guy retorted, pointing a spatula in the general direction of Skye.
"I would never-"
"Well, let's get started then," an older woman from one of the tables said.
"Elvis, dead or alive?" Priestly asked from the grill.
"Definitely alive." Skye answered.
"Right on." Priestly turned around to bump her fist and his jaw almost dropped.
The "chick" was hot. She had short red hair, and not the type of red that "gingers" have. It was RED, almost like blood, but a lot less gruesome. Her nose had a small stud poking out of it and there was a ring around her bottom lip on the left side. Her eyes were a vibrant blue that contrasted strikingly with her hair. She wore eyeliner, but not a ton like Priestly, just enough to make her eyes pop even more. It was chilly outside so she wore some tight fitting jeans and a... A Beatles t-shirt. I have to marry this girl, Priestly thought. She paired her whole outfit with black converse and a black leather jacket. Trucker cleared his throat when Priestly's eyes lingered a little bit too long over the words, "The Beatles" on her shirt that were stretched from her ample breasts.
"What?" She said, looking between the two.
"Nothing." Priestly shook his head and went back to the grill.
"Favorite band?" The blonde asked.
"Threeway tie between Journey, the Beatles, and the Doors." Skye said, counting them out on her fingers.
"Mariah Carey's acting career?" The brunette chimed in.
"Wait, Mariah Carey had an acting career?" Skye chuckled.
"Johnny Cash, dead or alive?" Trucker asked.
"Deceased, unfortunately. His music is very much alive, but him and his lovely June-bug are upstairs sippin' on some good ol' whiskey."
"Are you single?" An older man who sat near the door asked.
"Mr. Julius!" Trucker snapped.
"No, it's fine. Very recently single." Skye smiled. Priestly's ear perked up at this.
"What is your name?" The old woman asked.
"Wow, that's beautiful."
"Well, interview is over. Let's put it to a vote." Trucker said, raising his hand. Priestly and Jen's hands went up instantaneously. As did Mr. Julius' and the older woman's. "Tish?"
The brunette frowned.
"Come on, Tish. You've been saying how you want more time off." Priestly pointed out.
"Okay, fine." Tish raised her hand.
"Congratulations!" Trucker shook her hand. "Here's your order book, and your apron. Now get to work."
Skye and Trucker looked around and frowned.
"That would have been a lot cooler if you had somewhere to go to." Trucker said, tapering off at the end.
"Well, I guess you could get to know everyone. I'm Trucker, that's Tish, and Jen, and Priestly," Trucker said, pointing to them each in turn.
"Nice to meet you." Skye nodded and took her jacket off. Priestly gasped, making her look up. "What?"
"Nice tats." Priestly gestured to her arms. She looked at them.
"Oh, yeah." "We all want to change the world" was on her right forearm. She had an infinity sign on her left wrist. The tail end of her half-sleeve on her left shoulder peeked out from beneath her shirt. Skye went to put her apron around, earning yet another gasp from Priestly. "Dude, seriously?"
"How many tattoos do you have?" He eyed the large peace sign on the back of her neck.
"Lost count." She winked at him. He had a few tattoos that she had noticed. His eyes were a strange blue-green, and they almost hypnotized her. He wore a shirt that said, "Tip Me or Die," which made Skye laugh.
The bell on the door chimed again and a woman with long, curly hair floated through.
"Tish, since we're dead I'll send you home. You're up." Trucker nodded to Skye.
"Hiya, welcome to Beach City Grill, what can I get started for you?" Skye pulled her book out of her apron with professional speed. She smiled at the woman.
"Hello, Skye." The woman smiled.
"Whoa, how do you know her name?" Jen asked.
"She just feels like a Skye to me," the woman said airily.
"Heya, Zo," Skye said nonchalantly.
"How do you know her name?" Priestly asked incredulously.
"She just feels like a—Oh my, sorry, Zo. I can't do this!" Skye started cracking up.
"I think we missed something," Priestly and Trucker raised their eyebrows at the laughing women.
"Yeah. You did!" Skye said between laughs.
"Skye and I met at Woodstock's a couple of years ago," Zo explained.
"Of course you did," Jen chuckled. Tish just rolled her eyes.
"Hmmm, six inch tofurkey for ya, Zo?" Skye asked.
"Yes, please. Hold the-"
"Mayo. Got it." Skye went to make the sandwich. Priestly had already made it and handed it to her. She flashed a smile at him.
"How you know her order?" Tish asked.
"Well, she doesn't eat anything that comes from animals, and she likes a bit of protein, so..." Skye handed Zo her sandwich.
"Thank you, hon. You should come across to the shop sometime," Zo said as she left the shop.
"I didn't say anything stupid did I?" Trucker asked.
"Uh, what?" Skye looked at him.
"Trucker here has got a huge crush on Zo. They're soul mates, she just doesn't know it yet." Jen piped in.
"Ah," Skye nodded just as a group of college aged boys walked in. They sat down and became instantly the loudest people. Tish came up behind Skye and whispered in her ear.
"Careful, they tend to get handsy," and she walked out.
"If you want, I can take care of this." Priestly offered.
"No, I got this. Thanks though." Skye walked towards the table with determination. She put on a false smile. "Hi, guys. What can I get you to drink?"
"Hey, yourself," the biggest one smiled at her. She tried to keep from rolling her eyes, guys like this were the reason she moved. Well, just the one guy. "What's your name?"
"Yes, please. When do you get off?" The same guy asked. Skye seethed. She walked right into that one.
"Actually never. It seems I signed my life away here. What can I get you to drink from this restaurant?"
"Tough crowd," he whispered to his friend. "I'll take a Coke."
The rest of the group nodded in agreement and Skye went to grab the five sodas. She balanced them precariously in her hands as she walked to the table. Priestly and Trucker watched in awe. She took their food orders with seemingly little difficulty. She walked to give the order to Priestly, who noticed the group of guys checking her out. He fumed, it was disrespectful.
"Need help?" She looked over the sandwiches before handing it to him.
"Nah, I'm good." Priestly turned to the grill and made the sandwiches. When he was done, he looked at Skye. "You need help?"
"Watch and learn." Skye proceeded to balance four of the plates on her left arm while grabbing the fifth with her right hand. She walked over to the table of guys, hips swinging as she went. Priestly was mesmerized. She gave them their food and went to walk away when one of the men slapped her butt. Priestly jumped up, but Trucker put his arm in front of him.
"Let's see what she does, and then you can jump in if needed." Priestly growled but nodded. If this girl wanted to work here, she'd have to put up with the assholes from the UC. Skye had stopped in her tracks. Her once false smile turned into a fierce glare. She turned around and smiled at the guys again.
"Did I forget something?" She looked at the one who touched her butt.
"No, just wanted to see if the goods were real or not." He chuckled and nudged his friend.
"Oh, I see. Here, let me help with your perception of real." Skye grabbed the guys meatball sub and shoved it in his face. "Feel real enough?"
She smeared the marinara sauce in and walked into the bathroom to clean herself off. Priestly and Trucker stifled their laughs as the guy was baffled at what had just happened. His friends couldn't stop laughing. Skye walked out of the bathroom feeling quite proud of herself. However, since this was her first table, she might be in trouble. She looked at Trucker expecting some yelling but he put his hand up to hive-five her.
"Way to go kid."
"Where'd you learn those moves?" Jen asked.
"When you help serve food at Woodstock's for as many years as I have, you pick up a few tricks. Like how to deal with handsy assholes." She gestured to the table. The marinara man growled and left, as did three of his buddies. The last one, who seemed to be the nicest, stood up and walked to the counter.
"What do I owe ya?" He flashed a smile.
"Well, I won't charge you for what's on his shirt, so let's say, $33.25?" Skye looked at the total on her book.
"Here ya are, keep the change." He grinned at her.
"Wait, this is like ten bucks over." Skye counted the money over again.
"Yup, thanks for the laugh." He chuckled as he left he restaurant. Skye looked at Trucker, a look of surprise on her face.
"You okay there, Angel?"
"Yeah. I'm great." She grinned and went to clean up the mess she had made.
The rest of the night had been pretty slow, especially since they were only open for three hours after Skye arrived. Priestly cleaned the grill while Skye wiped off the tables. Trucker had sent Jen home a few hours ago and was now sitting in the back corner doing paperwork so Skye could be legally hired.
"Skye?" Trucker said, standing.
"Hmm?" She finished wiping off the last table and straightened up.
"You know anything about closing registers?"
"Like balancing them? Enough to get by. Why?"
"Because, I'd like to have you close on some days. If that's alright with you."
"Sure. Sounds good."
Priestly wanted to eavesdrop, but he had to take out the trash. He did so quickly and when he came back in, Trucker and Skye's conversation had changed drastically.
"So, what brought you to Santa Cruz specifically?" Trucker asked.
"Followed my nose south."
"Haha," Skye chuckled. "Sorry. I don't really know why. I just decided Santa Cruz. It was all by chance."
"Priestly, you almost done in there?"
"Yeah. All finished."
"Good. We'll see ya tomorrow at nine am sharp, Skye." Trucker said, going back to his paperwork.
"Sounds good." Skye grabbed her purse, jacket, and uneaten sandwich and headed outside.
"Bye, Trucker!" Priestly shouted and left. Trucker smiled to himself.
"Hey, Skye! Wait up!" Priestly yelled after her. She stopped and turned. "Where ya staying?"
"My house." Skye said, raising an eyebrow. "Why?"
"How ya gonna get there?"
"Oh, well, where are ya parked?" Priestly said, sounding slightly defeated.
"Right there." Skye pointed to her yellow bus.
"Behind the bus?" Priestly stood on his tip toes.
"No, it is the bus."
"No way!" Priestly grinned at her.
"Sick! Well, do you know where you're headed?"
"No, the Beach Huts. My brother said he rented a place there for me."
"Well today must be your lucky day."
"And why is that?" Skye shifted her hips.
"Because I live there and would be happy to show you the way."
"Oh, well," Skye moved aside and bowed her way towards the street.