When the Chips Were Down (Season 1, Episode 2 of Beau and Cherie)
Beau had not worked in a while and it seemed to many that the chips were down for Beau. Jobs were currently difficult to come by in Indiana. Jobs were difficult to find across the whole county. People were filing bankruptcy, home values were deteriorating, many were losing their assets. At least that is what was said on the nightly news. “Very difficult to deal with all the negativism,”
Beau had been unemployed since shortly after he came home one Frozen Winter night and slipped in a puddle inside the foyer, putting his back pretty much out of commission. He couldn’t go to his job as a clerk and stocker at the local drug store. After a couple of weeks of calling in sick, the manager had to let Beau go. Beau had some previous attendance problems, but none of this was his fault.
For instance, one Monday morning Beau was late to work because Cherie had left his car door open when she borrowed his car to go grocery shopping on Sunday evening. This was a rushed trip for Cherie because Beau was out of his favorite corn chips and he needed these particular chips to accompany the football game. No other chips would suffice. Since Cherie was in a hurry and was distracted, she failed to close the car door, upon returning home with Beau’s bounty.
“I need to get these chips and nacho sauce to Beau quick-like, before he becomes irritated with me”, Cherie thought. Cherie was usually a people pleaser and liked to make people happy.
Due to the excitement of the football game, it was not noticed that the door was left open on the car, subsequently causing the car battery to run down.
Beau Misses Work
As Beau does not like to get up in the morning and most especially on Monday mornings, he was already cutting it close and was planning on slipping into work a few minutes late. He had hit the snooze button on the alarm clock one too many times. Finding the dead battery was the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back. Well, you know what they say about the best-laid plans.
By the time Beau was able to get a jump for the dead car battery, he was already a couple of hours late for work and decided it would be best to take the whole day off. It was going to be counted against him anyway, so why not?
“As Beau had been a somewhat faithful employee for many years”, Mr. Harrison, Beau’s longtime boss at the drug store, thought, “it is not going to be easy to let Beau go”. Mr. Harrison had a soft side and tended to be a bit forgetful.
Nonetheless, this was something Mr. Harrison felt he had to do. After two weeks of Beau calling in sick due to a dislocated back, or so Beau claimed, Mr. Harrison, in his gravely but kind voice said, “Beau, we need to fill your position. The other employees are complaining about picking up the slack. We are already short-handed due to Myrna being out on pregnancy leave and Walter is on vacation in Bora Bora. We have no choice but to let you go.”
Beau Takes Some Much Needed Time Off
Beau took the news in stride. He was ready for some additional time off and maybe he could draw unemployment compensation. He recently gifted himself a PlayStation for Christmas and he could hear it calling his name. “This was not going to be so bad,” he thought.
Two Months Later…
Two months later, Beau rubbed his aching head. Playing games on the PlayStation all day could be stressful. The war games were especially hard on one’s nerves. An enemy ready to jump out at every corner. That reminded him of some of his customers at his drug store job.
“No wonder I’ve gained 10 pounds in the last couple of months. It is all this stress I am dealing with.”
Beau and Bernadine Bond
Bernadine, one of their five cats was perched on the arm of Beau’s recliner, lazing away the day with her favorite human. She could always count on Beau lately for a chin scratch and sometimes a small sliver of bologna from his sandwich at lunchtime.
Beau reached into the corn chip bag, grabbed a chip and scooped up a dollop of the nacho sauce which was precariously perched on the arm of his recliner. Sauce dripped down onto the other arm of Beau’s recliner as Beau carelessly aimed for his mouth. This gooey gob barely missed Bernadine. Bernadine, seemed not to mind, meowed and sniffed at the orangish, coagulated sauce, rejected it and made the fastidious choice of licking her paws. Bernadine liked to be clean.
Beau not noticing the gooey mess, unknowingly brushed his fingers across the sticky spill as he reached over with a free hand to scratch Bernadine behind her ears. Poor Bernadine. Her tongue would not reach behind her ears and she would not be able to clean this off. Luckily Bernadine was an orange tabby, so maybe it wouldn’t be noticed.
Cherie Has a Nice Boss
Every afternoon Beau programmed the stove timer to sound the alarm about ten minutes before his wife, Cherie, was due to arrive home. This gave him time to gather up the empty wrappers and cans that somehow seemed to accumulate around him every day. “What she doesn’t know, won’t hurt her”, he thought. Cherie was a tidy type of lady. Beau, not so much. But he had it all worked out and she was none the wiser as to his habits while she was at work.
Cherie entered the front door, weighed down with groceries and dry cleaning. Beau, in surprise, jerked his head away from his activity. Cherie thought he was playing a militaristic war game or maybe a police chase game. Who knew?
“Beau said, “what are you doing home, Cherie? Is it 6:30?” The stove timer sounded its alarm.
Cherie had an annoyed look on her face as she surveyed the litter lining Beau’s recliner.
Cherie replied, “My boss took pity and let me leave ten minutes early today. What have you been up to? Any luck finding a job?”
What’s Good for the Goose
“For some reason, it did not seem like Beau’s wife Cherie was very understanding. She did work all day, spend her lunch hour running errands and stopped for groceries on the way home every evening”, Beau begrudgingly thought. “Well, she was used to it, wasn’t she?” Beau also recalled a time 25 years ago when Cherie stayed home on maternity leave leading Beau to have a strong resentment toward’s Cherie for a time. Possibly a vestige of this resentment remained. “What’s good for the goose”, he contemplated.
Surely Cherie, Beau’s beloved wife,
Cherie, of a different mindset than Beau, pondered, “here sits Beau, in the same recliner in the living room as when I left in the morning. The only thing that was different was there was more stubble on his face and a pile of soda cans and empty junk food wrappers in a pile around him. The game console was active, too bad Beau wasn’t.”
Beau, brushing his greasy, disheveled hair out of his eyes looked up long enough to see an impatient and irate wife. Cherie appeared to have a look of disgust on her face.
“How dare she be so demanding! Did she not understand he was trying to find a job, but none were available? He spent hours online every day, contacting people, searching for jobs, or at least he did when he could carve out the time. They were in a recession,” Beau thought to himself.
Beau’s stomach grumbled as he realized it was time for dinner.
Beau could not cook worth a darn. He could boil eggs and make a bologna sandwich, pour himself a bowl of cornflakes. This was the whole of Beau’s cooking repertoire and consequently, his homemade concoctions were barely edible.
Beau came to the realization that he was totally dependent on Cherie, for not only financial support, but for his dietary needs, also. Unable to come to terms with this thought, Beau quickly dismissed this idea from his head. No, he wasn’t going to go there.
Beau, reaching into his empty corn chip bag realized he did not have the necessary provisions to get him through the next day. Hoping Cherie had thought of this, he said, “Honey, we are out of corn chips. Did you happen to buy any at Kroger?”
Cherie reached into the paper grocery bag and tossed a fresh bag of corn chips to Beau. She did not have very good aim, resulting in the bag of corn chips sailing over Beau’s head, landing at the feet of two of their other cats, sending them scurrying out of the room. Cherie knew she would most likely find them hiding under the bed.
What’s For Dinner, Beautiful?
Beau gave Cherie his best, ‘I think you are wonderful smile’ and said, “What’s for dinner, Beautiful?”.
Cherie deposited the two grocery bags and the dry cleaning on the other armchair, purposefully strode towards the bag of corn chips laying on the floor, grabbed the bag and this time her aim was only a little better as she lobbed the chip bag towards Beau. Beau with a surprised look on his face barely caught the chips as they almost sailed past him.
Cherie, turned on a dime, not losing a second, marched to the bedroom to coax her beloved kitties out from under the bed and plopped down, fully dressed, on the unmade covers as four of her five cats joined her for a long and restful respite.
Maybe Cherie is not as much of a people pleaser as some folks think, Beau thought as he carelessly ripped open the bag of corn chips, sending chips flying through the air, “I guess
Written by Cheryl Dowden