By the end of June, Johnny was already getting burnt out. Because of all of the events that Wellington’s had had that month, he had been working after school on Thursdays and Fridays and every single Saturday that month. Unlike the previous year, Johnny would be teaching summer school this summer and so he’d be working two jobs throughout the month of July. He’d be busier then than he’d been the entire school year, but he needed the money. To make matters worse, working at Wellington’s was a lot more stressful than it was during his first year.
Working with a new designer in the shop proved to be a big adjustment for everyone. The designer position was pivotal to how the shop ran, and Misty was very different from Kona. Even Stewart seemed to have a hard time getting things down pat. That second season there was absolutely no organization when it came to deliveries. They were being prepared and set up haphazardly with no regard for the time it wasted for Johnny. This made for a very frustrating and unnerving situation for him, and he was getting very tired, very quickly.
A typical example of this was happened on the 4th of July. Independence Day fell on a Friday that year, and Johnny was looking forward to going to Fire Island that evening as he usually did on summer holidays. He’d started working for Wellington’s after the 4th the year before, so he had no idea how things worked for the holiday. A couple of days before, Jackie wondered aloud if Wellington’s would be open for the 4th.
“Of course! I’m sure we’ll get lots of last minute parties and stuff.” Stewart answered Jackie’s query, a little to Johnny’s disappointment. When Thursday evening rolled around, he reluctantly asked Stewart what time he should be in.
“You know, I think it’s going to be really busy. Why don’t you get here at like 9?”
And so, Johnny prepared himself, hoping and praying he’d get out early enough to catch the ferry with his friends. Things turned out to be a disaster from the start. Unbeknownst to Johnny, the Town of Southampton has an annual parade on the 4th of July and traffic was as bad as he’d ever seen. Streets were blocked off, people were walking everywhere, and there wasn’t a parking space to be had. Even though Johnny had arrived in Southampton in time to make it by 9, he didn’t get into the shop until 10:30.
“Hey Johnny Driver!” Stewart was jovial.
“Hi Stewart. Where is everyone?” Stewart was the only one in the shop.
“Oh, I sent Jackie to get us breakfast and Misty’s upstairs taking a break. Did you want something to eat?” Stewart fished in his pockets for money.
“No thanks.” Johnny was already annoyed.
“Oh, we’ve got lots of deliveries for you. Why don’t you bring the van around front and get it loaded.”
Johnny walked over to the counter where the delivery slips were. There several deliveries and two of them were to East Hampton. This was not going to be a good day. He went around back to fetch the van so he could load it with the deliveries. Other than the two East Hampton arrangements, the rest were local and he figured he should get done by 2 o’clock, when Stewart said he was closing the shop. He’d have just enough time to get home, shower, and make the 5:20 ferry to Fire Island.
Johnny brought the van around front and went back into the shop to find Jackie, Stewart and Misty eating breakfast.
“Morning,” Jackie greeted Johnny. “Do you want half of my bagel?”
“No thanks.” Johnny wanted to load the van and get out of there as quickly as possible. Misty didn’t say a word.
Suddenly the front door opened and a bunch of young guys came in. It was Misty’s boyfriend and their housemates, who’d come out to Southampton to enjoy some fun in the sun for the holiday weekend. They reeked of marijuana. None of the guys even noticed Johnny going in and out of the shop with the arrangements, and Misty never introduced them to him. Johnny overheard Misty saying that she’d meet them at the beach at 2:15. He thought of Fire Island and started moving a little faster.
Considering all of the traffic that had taken place earlier, the roads were not too bad. Of course there were a couple of hitches along the way: a delivery to the wrong address and one or two missing house numbers, but they were easily rectified and Johnny found himself back at the shop by 1:30. He smiled to himself as he pulled in front, figuring on sweeping up and cleaning a vase or two before heading home to enjoy his own 4th. When he went in, only Misty was there.
“Hey,” Johnny greeted her. “Where is everybody?”
“Stewart went home to spend time with James and Jackie left about an hour ago.” Misty was very matter-of-fact. “Well, there are two more deliveries and then you can go home…”
Johnny cut her off. “What?”
“Yeah, two last minute parties. They called right after you left before.”
“Oh Jeez!” Johnny wasn’t trying to hide his displeasure. He stormed over to the counter to see the slips.
“Well I’m outta here.” Misty clearly had no regard for Johnny’s predicament. “When you get back, just throw the van keys in the mail slot and then you can go. We’re all going to watch the fireworks later at Cooper’s Beach and we need to use it.”
Johnny felt like telling Misty what she could do with the van keys, but he held his composure. He put the arrangements in the van and left without a word to Misty. The deliveries were at opposite ends of the South Fork. The first was in Sag Harbor, to the north of East Hampton and about an hour away. The second was west of the shop, back in Hampton Bays, at least another hour plus from Sag Harbor. Johnny wanted to cry.
By the time Johnny got back to the shop, it was dark and empty. Stewart was home with James, probably relaxing by the lake whose shores lap at their doorstep. Misty and her friends were on the beach, probably playing volleyball and having a great time. It was almost five o’clock. Johnny never made it to Fire Island. He wished he didn’t need this job!