Odd Jobs

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Jarod sat out in the field, chasing down the chickens that had gotten loose. It was strange. Well, his own job was strange. He was a chicken catcher. Well, sort of. He wasn’t sure why he had that job, there was no explanation. A fox had gotten them out, and the farmers didn’t want them to get eaten. He often tripped and got scraped up, but, hey, he got paid a lot for such a silly thing.

He followed after a chicken that was freaking out. It ran as fast as he could; eventually, Jarod tripped, falling in the dirt and scraping his hands. It was starting to rain, and he knew that. The ground felt wet, and he needed to get the job done. He chased down one of the roosters, cornering it in the barn. He grabbed onto it, the animal freaking out and scratching him up.

He forced it into the chicken coop, locking the small, silver lock. He laughed in victory and walked outside again, off to find the remaining the hens. When he walked out, he saw Jakoby. He had hired him, only to get those chickens in the cage. It made him a bit upset, that no one else would hire him and he was stuck with that stuck-up prince.

It was almost scary. Jarod ran out, fixing the red bandana around his neck. He was wearing a green and blue plaid shirt with black shorts. He wore those clothes because they were thin, and he would burn up if he didn’t wear something thin. He was also wearing hiking boots, a pair to fight out dirt.

Soon enough, it was pouring, but he managed to get all the chickens back inside to where they were supposed to be. Jarod was exhausted and just couldn’t wait to get home. Jakoby called him in and asked him to sit at the small dining table in the kitchen. It was wooden and had a blue tablecloth to cover it, most likely to keep the dust off. Jarod sat quietly, Jakoby taking the seat across from him.

“You did a nice job, finished within the three hours you said you could. I’m very impressed. You get a full pay,” Jakoby explained, writing out the check before him.

“You mean… there was a chance I wouldn’t have? Did YOU plan to chase down those non-social, fast chickens? I don’t think so.” Jarod glared at the small man before him, wanting to break him, like glass, with a hammer. He hated people, well… stereotypes. It was absolutely horrible what people did to get their way.

“Oh, of course you would have. No need to bubble up and explode now. Please, sit. I have something else to discuss with you, Jarod.” Jakoby gestured for Jarod to sit. Little did Jarod know, he had gotten out of his seat and was standing up. It was completely shocking. He took the pay check, walking out.

When he got home, to his small house, in a pretty good neighborhood where the neighbors actually cared for one another, he set the check on the table and walked to get a set of clothes to rest in. His job was definitely tiring, but he could do it. It was easy. The chickens were fast, yes, but it didn’t take too long to get them all back.

A good nights rest would get him energized. And besides, he didn’t have to work for the next three days. He would be in New Jersey with his parents for a visit. A few hours later, right before going to bed, someone called him. He almost ignored the call, seeing who it was. He didn’t feel like dealing with Jeremy’s hyperactive personality this late, when it was only about three in the afternoon for him. Jarod sighed as he picked up his phone, afraid of what Jeremy had to say.

“Hello?” Jarod asked quietly, waiting for the yelling on the other end. For a moment, it was quiet, only soft breathing on the line.

“Jarod, is that you? Do you have time to talk?” Jeremy asked, calmly for once in his life. Jarod sat up alarmed, hearing how gentle Jeremy was in his voice. Jarod nodded before remembering he actually had to answer because of the phone.

“Of course I have time. I always have time. What’s wrong?” Jarod asked, looking at the T.V. before turning it off.

“Um…” Jeremy paused before going off about not being able to make his rent for that month. The landowner said they would kick him out if he didn’t find a way to pay it off. He also mentioned how sick his mother was getting, and that he was trying to save money to go and see her before she… well…

“Jeremy, slow down. You’re words are slurring,” Jarod explained, shaking his head gently at all of the words flowing from Jeremy’s voice. It was crazy how fast his friend was talking. He hated when Jeremy was upset; they were best friends, and always had been. Even through Middle School, despite some problems, they were friends.

“Okay, okay… I’m good. Anyway, I’m just worried and… well I’m…” he stopped. He couldn’t say it, not to Jarod. He was always the strong one, at least… after they got out of Middle School.

“You’re… what, Jeremy?” Jarod needed to push the words from his friend’s mouth no matter what. In a scared voice, he answered.

“Scared, Jarod. I’m terrified,” he admitted. Jarod could hear the worry in his voice and managed to find some comforting words to say. He always had trouble finding the right words to say when Jeremy was like that… mostly because he was NEVER like that.

“Hey, hey. Everything is going to be just fine. I’ll send you some money, okay? You need to see your mom soon. I understand,” Jarod said, smiling slightly. After talking on the phone a while, they both had to go. It was already midnight when Jarod hung up. He needed some sleep, so he found it simply in his bed, under the covers.

The next morning, Jarod found himself sliding out of bed to just sleep some more on the couch. Was he really that tired? A normal 19 year old shouldn’t be THAT tired… right? He woke once again around 11. He managed to take a shower and make lunch within the next hour.

He decided to go into town, maybe find some stuff to eat and just… reward himself with, like brownie mix or something. He wanted something sweet, and that’s what he planned on doing. His birthday was nearing, and all he wanted was some extra cash and a little support.

After the market, with bags of things in his hands, he went to check the mail and found letters from his mother, father, grandfather, and friends. He supposed that it was really surprising, but he was still happy about it. It made him feel special and important.

Getting home, he put all of the stuff away and began tearing open letters, which most of them said Happy Birthday, or good greetings and news. He stored all of them away in a box above his closet, where he kept most of his personal things.

One letter stood out, from a person he hadn’t heard from since Middle School, someone he had dropped connections with, Erin. He had transferred to Bishop and she hadn’t. It was crazy how long it had been. Erin dropped all connections with him for no reason. When he opened the letter, it was a short, three paragraphs long letter.



‘Dear Jarod,


Sorry for not keeping in touch. I was busy. Yes, this WHOLE time. I was scared to talk to you after the first year. I went to Japan, remember? I was a foreign exchange student. That’s why I haven’t talked to you in so long.

Happy early Birthday! I was hoping this would get to you really soon so that that still applied. I needed to say that, for once, I was early on SOMETHING. I hope you have a good day, and I hope that I’m still considered you Grandpa, Grandson.

Anyway, just wanted to say: HI.’
Love,
Erin Angela Lind
Your Grandpa


He stared at the letter and could only laugh. She was still crazy, and had at least written him. He planned on calling her, but not then. He went to make the brownies and, while he was waiting, watched old videos of him and Jeremy playing soccer when they were kids.

He was having a pretty good time, for having such an… ODD JOB.

When the brownies were finished, he walked up to the oven, pausing the old home movies. He began cutting them up, the brownies at a perfect texture. He left them there to cool down. He went back to watching the movies, seeing how much he and Jeremy had aged and matured. He could hear laughing, and… he heard Erin’s voice on the movie.

She was always taking pictures and videos of them playing soccer. She enjoyed it. Jarod smiled and decided he would call Erin’s old cell phone number. He sat there a moment, hearing it ring. From the other side, someone picked up?

“Hello?” A girl’s voice. He sighed in relief, not sure of why he felt scared that someone else would answer the phone.


“Erin? Is that you?” He heard a loud gasp on the other end, then the sound of a crash. Jarod jumped slightly, shocked at the sound he heard: a girl’s scream.

“Um, yes. And who, might I ask, am I talking to?” she replied, her voice soft, but surprised. He felt confused, but happy. It was amazing really: that she had the same number all this time.

“Jarod, Jarod… Dossey. Erin, do you remember-“

“Oh my gosh! Jarod!!!” she screamed. She remembered. He pulled the phone away from his ear, shocked at the loud yelling she producing. She never acted that way when they were kids. She was usually very quiet and closed in. She always boxed herself out, except for the few shows that she and Jarod did at the school.

“Hi, Grandpa! How have you been? I haven’t talked to you in ages!” Jarod shouted, a smile plastered to his face.





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