Book Excerpts

Off the Grid Snippet

We pulled into our driveway and I suddenly felt incredibly hungry. The plethora of information I assimilated at the meeting tonight didn’t fill me up I guess, and neither did those cookies. My dad has been eating so much that all of the leftovers are gone.

“What are you going to do about dinner, dad?” I asked opening and closing the refrigerator as if it would make more food appear inside.

“No more pity food?”

“Nope. No more pity food.”

“It’s too late to start cooking, guess we’ll have to go back out the door and grab something quick.”

“Okay. We will have to get groceries tomorrow too.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

 

“Let’s go to Bacon Bits. Samantha usually works Wednesday nights.”

“Bacon sounds so good right now.”

“It does.”

“Crispy bacon wrapped around a hot dog, or bacon wrapped around shrimp, or bacon wrapped around bacon mmmm” My dad fantasized making me laugh.

“Well, those are all on the menu. You can drool over them when we get there, but let’s hit the road before they close.”

“You’re right.” He grabbed his keys off of the key ring, then we headed back out the door.

Samantha, I guess you can say is more independent than me. She got her license, and she has a job. Maybe she did it for a sense of freedom. Or, to get back at her mom.

Bacon Bits is this new restaurant that opened last year now that everyone is obsessed with bacon. They sell so many meals with bacon. It’s in every meal. You can even get the vegetables wrapped in bacon, or chopped up bacon if you’re a chunks kind of person. It’s always bewildered me that Samantha chose to work here though. I know the pay is well above minimum wage, but Samantha is a vegan. I don’t get how she can stand to work around bacon all the time. She works on the register, but I can only imagine how much bacon passes by her, how the smell fills the restaurant, and how it seeps into her clothes and follows her home every day.

 

Samantha has been vegan all her life. Her mother is, so she raises them the same way. She has never had any meat or anything, not even once. Well, once she kind of had a burger. I remember once when she was at our house, my dad pressured her into trying a bite of burger, because he thought it was absurd that a kid was raised without it’s deliciousness, as he said a few years ago. She enjoyed the bite, but she ended up getting sick and vomiting. Her mom got really mad and yelled at my dad.

I wanted to work at Bacon Bits with her, but my parents don’t want me to work while in high school. Only during the summers.

“So, how is Samantha? I’m used to seeing her at our house almost every day.

“She’s been fine I guess. We haven’t really talked since my attempt at school. It’ll be good to see her. Thinking about her now reminds me that I miss her.”

“She’s welcome anytime, you know that.”

“Yeah. My mind has just been too occupied to function and think normally.”

“Invite her over this weekend.”

“Good idea. Thanks, dad.”

We pulled up to Bacon Bits and it was empty inside. I saw a figure sitting at one of the booths, their phone in their hand. Their fingers moving furiously across the keyboard. They had on a light brown polo shirt with a matching cap. Stray red curly hairs were popping out of the hat.

“Hey Samantha.” I smiled as I walked over to the table.

“Quinn. I missed you.” She sighed getting up from the booth and hugging me.

“It’s been a crazy week.”

“I totally understand. I had a crazy day myself. Mom issues.”

“I’m sorry.”

Samantha and her mother have had a rocky relationship for the past three years. Her mother has always been a bit crazy and controlling, but she changed since her and Samantha’s father divorced. Samantha thinks her new man is brainwashing her. She has a new boyfriend that she has the twins by, and it’s like they’re a family and she kind of ripped Samantha from the picture of their happy new family.

“We miss you at our house. Come over this weekend.”

“I would love to.”

“I have so much to tell you.” I laughed.

“I can’t wait to hear it. I am so happy to see you smile girl.”

“Hey Quinn.” My dad smiled looking in awe at the menu. They have so many options to choose from.

“Hi. Mr. Morris. How are you?”

“I am actually well. Thanks for asking.”

“What would you guys like?” Quinn asked logging into the cash register.

“I would like the bacon wrapped shrimp, a bacon wrapped hot dog, the loaded potato skins, and a medium coke. How about you Quinn?”

“Wow. Lots of food.” I laughed. “I would like the bacon wrapped steak, French fries, and a small iced tea.”

“Oh, good. I am glad you got the steak. I can try yours. I was eyeing that too.” My dad smiled. He’s always had a large appetite, but even more so now since the accident. We always swap and share food though when we eat out.

“That’ll be 20.71, and I do have a tip jar.” Quinn smiled hard showing all of her teeth.

“Horrible service, no tip!” My dad joked stuffing the change from the 25 into her jar.

Sam started the tip jar last year when she began working here to save for college. She’s not from an as fortunate home as I am, so she has to come up with the money herself. Especially now that her mom has been acting witchy.

The worker, Carlo, brought out our food. He goes to our school, and Sam has a crush on him. She hasn’t told him yet though. Usually, best friends would step in and handle the possible crush, but I don’t even know how to talk to boys myself, so I am no help for her love life.

“Hey Quinn.” He smiled as my dad checked our order.

“Hi.” I said.

“Sorry about the tragedy.”

“Thank you.”

“I threw in a side of cheese poppers to help you feel better.”

“Awesome. Thanks young man.” My dad said excited.

Cheese poppers aren’t going to mend my heart that is shattered and mourning my mom, but that was sweet of him.

“Thank you Carlo. We appreciate it.”

“No problem.” He nodded.

“Are you ready to close? Looks like no more customers will be coming.” Quinn said logging out of the register.

“Sure.” Carlo smiled, his braces glistening, to Quinn. They seem like they like each other, but may be too scared to say anything. They’ve grown into good friends working in such a close space.

Carlo is a good guy though, a good guy to choose as a crush. He’s a really smart guy, he’s salutatorian. He is also a really good soccer player. I guess he’s not bad looking either. He’s tall and lanky with shaggy brown hair and hazel eyes. He has dimples too. They’ll end up together before the school year ends.

 

“I’ll see you this weekend Quinn. I’ll bring your school work too.”  Sammy said as she locked the door as my dad and I walked out.

“Thank you so much. I appreciate it.”

“Bye dear.” My dad waved to Quinn. His other hand was in the bag pulling out a hand full of French fries.

 

“That was nice, the free food.” My dad smiled when we settled down on the couch and pulled our food out of the bag.

“Yeah.” I said. Smelling the food made my stomach growl. I just realized I hadn’t eaten all day. Well I had those two cookies, but they don’t count as a meal.

My dad popped in a movie and we ate our food in silence. We were both starving and spent all of our energy eating instead of having small talk in between bites. The food was so good. Maybe it was so good because I haven’t had Bacon Bits in a while. Whatever the reason, I devoured every bite of my food. I typically would have leftovers to give my dad, but I scraped my food tray.

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