Jessica sat quietly with nothing to do that night at work. Soon she began to wonder, “Between work and sleep, how much of my life do I actually get to live?” She tried doing some complicated calculations in her head, gave up and grabbed scratch paper. After scribbling unintelligibly for awhile she tossed the paper to the side in disgust. Once she closed her eyes and took a deep breath she realized that she worked one third of the average day, and should sleep another third. She sighed as she realized how easy that actually was, because it drove home how tired she was.
The hotel had been understaffed for awhile now and she had been working eight hours every day for more than two weeks while her boss tried to find people to hire. That would be bad enough, but she was working the night shift. Long she had heard people say that people who work nights need more sleep, but up until this job, she had just thought they were lazier. Now she knew that she had heard correctly.
Her basic calculation told her that she got less than one third of her life to herself. There was no telling how long she would be working these hours. The city was not very large, and with as many people as had been driven away from the place where she so desperately needed work, no doubt word had gotten around.
Jessica looked at her watch to see if it was time for her to do anything so she would not fall asleep. It wasn’t. In this frame of mind she sat, tired and bored, trying to think of some enjoyable way to make enough money to survive.

Jessica looked around the house for inspiration, was there something she could make and sell? Maybe something she could do that others couldn’t, or wouldn’t? If people were like her, in this economy people were buying little more than bare necessities. Jessica was becoming disheartened, maybe she would just have to work forever, she certainly would never be able to retire on her paycheck. Something caught her eye. Hiding in a corner was a crumpled up piece of paper. As she unfolded it, she discovered the most expensive piece of paper she would ever own, one that she was still trying to pay off; her college degree. What was it doing here, tossed aside like a piece of garbage? Who would do such a thing? Granted, it hadn’t done her a bit of good yet.
Jessica had done everything right; she had graduated high school with high marks, went to a respectable university, and graduated with honors. She created a very impressive resume and began to look for jobs in her field, no one was hiring. And that was before the economy crashed. Now here she was, working at a minimum wage job grateful for the overtime that let her catch up on the bills that she couldn’t afford to pay last month. She had just found a roommate to help cover costs, but it hardly seemed to matter.

Suddenly Jessica was shaken awake. She had fallen asleep behind the desk. Maurice, who comes in to run the breakfast was already here. Jessica got to her feet and thanked him, only to have him hurry off. Just as her brain was forming the thought, “Well that was rude,” she realized that she had not set up breakfast at all, and guests could start coming down to eat any minute. She quickly followed Maurice to help him do her job.

Chapter 2 – Dreams of Freedom


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