16. Graduation Day

On a Friday, I reach my projected graduation date, the two-month mark since being hired. The day by which I was supposed to have collected $2,500 in fee, I start the day $500 short. The late shift the night before left me low on sleep and jacked up on coffee. I get some more caffeine at the gas station on the way in with Gary. He gets a cup also to wash down some Lortabs, to dull the pain from his tooth extractions. He is determined to get through the hours of work and pick up his paycheck, it being payday.

“Don’t bother postdating,” Julie says in the morning huddle. The major credit card accounts that we are working are about to be pulled back by the creditor. Nothing will count after the end of the week. The credit card ...

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