The 5 Stages of Grief

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Chapter 11, Gloria Thompson

Gloria watched from the front window as Mrs. Reichmann, her arms full, pushed the door to the champagne colored Escalade shut with her ample rear-end then pushed the little button on the key-fob to lock the vehicle while making her way to the front door. Gloria made sure she had the front door held open for her when her employer reached it.

“Did you find everytin’ you were lookin’ for, Mrs. Reichmann?” Her thick Jamaican accent was still prominent even after twenty years in the country.

“No Gloria, there has been a change in plans. I have decided to cancel the dinner-party tonight and need you to contact the guests and let them know. You can finish cleaning after you’ve made the calls.” Putting the bags down on the floor in the kitchen, she paused to take a look around. “Everything seems pretty much in order. I guess you will be finished soon?”

“Yes Mrs. Reichmann. Dere is just de dinin’ room left, but it won’t take a moment wit de change in plans. If you’ll excuse me, I’ll get to dose phone calls.” Looking at the floor, she waited for her answer, her permission to leave.

Gloria learned early in her employment with the Reichmann’s that you never took anything for granted that Mrs. Reichmann could and would spring on you without the slightest provocation. Mrs. Reichmann was one evil, crazy, bitch. What did she do to dat poor man dis time? Gloria wondered, still standing, head down, waiting for Cruella to dismiss her.

She was actually in a pleasant mood, which was the first sign that she must have battered that already battered husband of hers. Had she not, Gloria knew that no-matter what state of readiness the house was in when she got home it would never be good enough. That the bitch would have come in and berated her for a good hour before allowing her to get on with her work.

This was only her fourth month at the Reichmann residence and already she’d put out feelers for anything else. But work was scarce these days and she had mouths to feed at home with no help coming anytime soon. The men didn’t exactly line-up for a single-mother of three, not here in Baltimore anyway, where the market was flooded with single-mothers and the competition stiff.

“Well, what are you waiting for? Those calls will not make themselves.”

“Yes mam, right away.” Gloria took her queue and walked swiftly down the hall towards the study. She’d just about made it when she heard her name being called from behind, her shoulders slumped. “Shit,” she muttered under her breath.

“On second thought, why don’t you mix me a drink before you start on the calls. You know how I like it, so don’t fuck it up this time. I mean Jesus, how many months does it take to learn how to mix a simple martini?” The rest of the sentence trailed off as Gloria was already on her way to the kitchen to start on the drink. She knew for sure it had nothing to do with the way she made it, yet had to listen to this bitch bitching every time she prepared one for her. She made certain to measure every single drop perfectly, yet no matter how many times she tried it was never good enough. That was not what starched her bra though. What perturbed her was now she would have to race to get all the guests called for the canceled dinner party – making certain she personally talked with each of them to ensure no surprises later by an accidental guest showing up having missed the message – still get to the dining room to clean it and of course before she would be allowed to tackle anything she’d have to listen to a half-hour of complaining once she handed the bitch her drink. She would have to complete all this before Mrs. Reichmann got tipsy because once that train left the station things would slide to shit rapidly.

“Here you are, Mrs. Reichmann, jus de way you like it.” Gloria presented her the drink on a silver serving tray with a folded linen napkin draped over her arm and the chilled mixer, still half-full with condensation running down the outside, in case her highness needed to top up. The smile she fabricated on her face, though large, was anything but genuine. No matter, the wicked bitch rarely looked at her anyway.

Taking the offered glass, Mrs. Reichmann brought it to her lips, sipped. “Perfect. Thank you Gloria.”

She almost dropped the bloody tray! The bitch said, thank you! Will wonders never cease? Gathering herself, she cleared her throat. “Will dat be all Mrs. Reichmann? Can I get you anytin’ else?”

“No sugar, I’m fine. Move along to the rest of your chores and don’t forget those calls.”

Putting the tray on the table beside her Gloria turned to leave the room. Once again, she almost made it, only to hear her name called. She turned. “Yes Mrs. Reichmann, is dere sometin’ else?”

“What do you think of these shoes, Gloria? I picked them up at Sacks while I was out. Well, these and two others that is. Take a seat and rest your bones for a moment and I will show them to you. Would you like a drink?”

Gloria stood frozen in the doorway. This was bad. The only other time this she-devil treated her with any civility was when the Doctor had not returned home for more than three days. Not that she blamed him – no way – if she wore his shoes and were married to this self-serving life-sucker, she would run hard and fast. For the second time in less than a half hour, she wondered what this horrible excuse for a woman had done to him? No wonder she had to cancel the party.

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