Thought I'd write something more real than the fantasy that lives in my brain
need to think what comes next!
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WE WILL PAY YOU $200 AN HOUR!
Persons needed for scientific study.
We will pay ten (10) persons to help complete a minor scientific study.
Each participant will be paid $200.00 AUD per hour.
We require your participation for up to five (5) hours.
Must be available at precisely 9:00AM Monday, 22nd March.
No special training or experience required.
All applicants must be aged between 24 and 40. Identification required.
We reserve the right to decline any application.
Alexis gulped her water and slammed the glass onto the table, her hand slightly shaking as she reached up to rub her eyes, barely believing that she
was even contemplating applying for this. With a disheartened sigh, she rapidly scanned the advertisement several more times. Two hundred dollars. An
hour. For possibly five hours. Unfortunately, it was now getting to the stage where she desperately needed this extra money; such luxuries were in
short supply these days and, with a sorrow in her heart, she simply felt that she had no choice.
The application would likely be denied anyway, but at the very least she could say that she had tried, she needed to try.
Taking one last glance at the advertisement, she noted the contact details for the Professor leading the study and proceeded to type up a quick email,
her fingertips fumbling over some of the letters as they shook.
“Mummy! It’s 8 o’clock! We’re supposed to be at school!”
Zachariah. She peered over the edge of her laptop at the eager young boy, mild pride flourishing within her as she saw how enthusiastic he was to
begin the school day. Oh, to be young and innocent once more. She reached over and lightly brushed his ruffled hair away from his eyes, he would need
a haircut soon, his hair grew so fast.
She forced a matching enthusiasm that she did not feel into her voice as she smiled at the boy. “Yep. I’m finished, let’s go!”
She pressed the send button on the email and shut the lid, a small anxiety beating within her heart at the sound of the lid clicking closed, and she
quickly stood from the couch, stretching and twisting her body from side to side as she adjusted to this standing position for the first time in over
Kicking several toys out of his way, Zachariah practically skipped throughout the house and grabbed his schoolbag, impatiently waiting for Alexis at
the door. “Come on!”
That impatient tilt to that childish voice, that messy brown hair once more falling over those green eyes, at this moment he reminded her of his
father. Her smile turned into a grimace as a small burst of anger erupted into her thoughts. That ‘man’ was nothing but a child. It was so long
ago now, almost eight years in fact, but she still resented him. Damn him to Hell and back.
She shook her head quickly in an attempt to clear the irrational rage from her mind and forced a cheerful smile to cover her moment of weakness.
“You’re in a hurry today, Mister Zed.”
He looked up at her with those green eyes, remaining vaguely reminiscent of his father, and spoke in tones overtly exasperated for someone of seven
years. “I’m getting an award today, I told you last week!”
Damn it all, she had forgotten. She rubbed her temple gently with a hand that was still shaking and struggled to quell the rush of emotion that was
threatening to bring tears to her eyes. “Come then, Zed. We’d better hurry then, yeah?”
A sunny smile burst out across his face and he skipped out the door and down the pathway, walking backwards as he faced the house to watch her come
out and follow. Picking up her mobile phone from the bench, she locked the door behind her and quickly made her way over to her son, her legs still
wobbling slightly from sitting down for too long.
This day was a fine one indeed; the sun was shining, few clouds were scattered about the sky, a light breeze blew through her hair. It was one of
those days where one was supposed to feel happy to be alive… if only there were no man-made monstrosities in the way. She frowned at the wires
criss-crossing above her head, wrinkled her nose at the rush of vehicles that spewed forth disgusting odours into her face, and tried to ignore the
loud rumbling of a plane flying high above them. She longed for a simpler life.
Zachariah skipped in front of her, occasionally turning around to make sure that she was still there, and a pang of sadness caused her heart to ache.
He deserved more than what she could give him. Poor child. Having to put up with this pathetic excuse for a mother, no father, barely enough food on
the table each day of each week. She swallowed heavily, refusing to allow the tears to swim about her eyes, the self-loathing was stronger than normal
After ten minutes of walking they arrived at the school gates. She forced a smile to her face once more and bent down to hug the child, her voice
filled with apology as she sadly spoke to him. “I might be a little bit late picking you up this afternoon, have a job interview at two. Fingers
He looked up into her eyes and smiled cheerfully once more. “Fingers crossed! ‘Bye!” Waving his arm wildly as he made his way into the school
For the second time that morning, she thought back to a simpler time when she was as young and innocent as that boy of hers. A sardonic smirk forming
on her face as she realised how it had not taken long for the ‘real’ world to smack that innocence and naivety out of her body and her brain.
A small tremor coursed throughout her as she felt her phone vibrating in her back pocket, a flash of paranoia as she hoped beyond hope that this call
was not yet another misery to be added to the misfortune of her existence. Her heart thudding inside of her chest as she greeted this unknown caller.
A woman’s voice answered her, sounding both formal and bored as she breathed down the line. “Miss Alexis Matheson? I am calling on behalf of
Professor David Cartwright in regards to your recent application. There was an error in the print and unfortunately there is no study being conducted
on this upcoming Monday.”
Of course not. She closed her eyes wearily and struggled to swallow before speaking. “I… I understand. Thank you for informing me.”
Just as she was about to end the call, the woman continued. “However, there is a non-attendee for today’s study. It begins at 10am this morning.
Short notice, yes, but you will be well compensated, naturally.”
Oh, God. “Yes!... Y-yes, I would be willing.”
“Fantastic.” The woman’s voice purred. “10am. Location: 78 Cullen Street. We will see you shortly.”
The woman ended the call before Alexis could say anything more. Cullen Street. She knew exactly where that was, her realtor having been relocated
there recently, and was approximately seven kilometres from the school. Just over an hour’s walk at her fast pace; she would arrive in time.
She cared not what this scientific study was for; anything to put food on the table and perhaps a smile on her son’s face when he received a gift he
actually desired for his upcoming birthday.
Taking one last glance toward the school yard she could no longer see Zachariah or his ruffled brown hair bouncing amongst the mass of children, she
waved anyway in that direction on the off-chance he would see, and placing one foot in front of the other she made her way down the road and towards
the looming city centre.