Books: An Abridged Existence (excerpt)

It just so happens that she stopped at a gas station to get coffee for her and gas for her car on her way into work. Nothing too interesting happens while she is at the gas station, which is why she nearly forgets her coffee, but remembers just before she reaches for the cup holder for the styrofoam cup which she soon realizes is not there. Later, as she is driving down the interstate to get to work, she accidentally spills the coffee in her car which distracts her momentarily, causing her to start weaving and speeding. The highway patrol car behind her notices this great increase in speed and weaving. As a result, she is pulled over. The officer asks for license and registration, and is very formal.

Jen uses her womanly powers to miraculously avoid getting a ticket, and she is left off with just a warning. However, being pulled over has made her slightly late in getting to work. Her tardiness goes unnoticed by her supervisor or any of her underlings. The store has much larger problems at the moment than her being late for work.

For some unknown reason at the time, part of the store had suddenly just caught fire, and the fire department has not arrived yet. She stands outside with her fellow employees and watches her place of employment smolder at one corner of the store. The smoldering gradually turns to flames, and spreads through the entire store. The fire department arrives just as the entire building catches on fire. By the time they finish setting up their fire-fighting equipment, they have plenty of time to extinguish the smoldering foundation of the department store which now has been utterly destroyed by the blaze.

Now that the store has been destroyed, and the smoldering ruins have been extinguished, the general manager calls one final staff meeting. He declares them all fired, no pun intended, for not putting out the small fire, before it had a chance to spread, themselves. When Jen speaks up that she had arrived late, and should not be fired because she did not put out the fire as she had not arrived at the early stages where she could have put it out, the general manager fires her for being late to work. Then she decides that she quits because the general manager cannot provide a safe working environment for her. Since the general manager has to file a mountain of paperwork to fire all of the employees, she is able to simply quit.

So she hops in her car and drives back to her sizeable apartment. She looks at the answering machine, and intends to listens to the messages. There are quite a few since she has not checked them for a few days. Unfortunately, instead of listening to the messages, she sits down on her couch and immediately falls asleep.