by Laura Hamby
"Don't worry. The men in the white jackets will be here soon with their nets. Now, when they arrive, don't get scared and run away. That might encourage them to use their tranquilizer gun. We'll get you the help you need, honey. I promise. It's okay. Shhhh... We love you and we want only the best for you. We'll get the finest shrinks in the world to come to your bedside---"
"Oh, give me a break." Beth laughed at her sister, Nancy. "It's a month living and breathing and working at a living history exhibit. It's not like I'm going to go live in a bubble in Central Park, yanno."
"Okay, you do realize, don't you, that you'll be recreating life in a century that didn't have indoor plumbing. That means no jacuzzi whirlpool tubs. No outlets for your hair dryer and curling iron. They didn't even have hair spray or gel. Make-up was for actors, and women couldn't be actors. There's no central heat and no electric blankies to keep you warm at night."
"Did I mention they're paying us to do this? And quite well, too." Beth mixed the salad greens and dressing together before she took a large bite.
Nancy heaved a tremendous sigh as she cut her hamburger in half. "You're going to miss Thanksgiving with the family. Mom is going to have a stroke."
"You all could come visit me on Thanksgiving. The exhibit will be open. Would be a great learning experience for the kids. Dad could bring his camera."
"You're insane. Absofreakin'lutely insane. I'm not going to tell Mom. YOU get to do that yourself." Nancy took a bite of her burger.
"Fine. I will. I think Mom will be thrilled for me."
There was a lull before Nancy answered. "Yeah. She'll be so thrilled for you she'll faint. Maybe you should have her sit down before you tell her."
"Ha ha ha, very not funny, Nance. Why can't you be happy for me? This is a great experience, yanno. I had to audition for this job. It didn't just fall at my feet. I had to work for it."
Nancy didn't look convinced. "I know you. You're allergic to work. But what's done is done."
Beth stood up, leaving the rest of her meal untouched. Sure she had a reputation as being the lazy little sister, unwilling to go the extra mile when that extra mile wasn't something she wanted to do. But nobody in her family did give her the credit due for all the things she could do, and had done.
"I researched the time period for a month, Nancy. As part of the job application, there was an intensive historical exam, complete with essay questions. I also had to provide a month's worth of journal entries for an assigned character. These entries not only had to be in character and true to the setting, but historically accurate and plausible as well. I had to sew by hand a complete wardrobe for my character, using only materials on a source sheet that came with the thirty page application. Despite what you think, I worked hard to get this job. I'm proud I got it, and I'm going to enjoy this month. Glad you're so happy for me."
She kept walking, ignoring her sister. Hot tears pricked her eyes, but she refused to let them fall. After this month living in the colonial-era living history museum, her family would have to take her accomplishments seriously. Despite what her sister thought, and what Beth knew the rest of her family would think of this latest of "Beth's Escapades," she knew what it would entail. And she knew she would be able to do it well.
Her car started up easily, and she drove right past her sister who stood on the sidewalk outside the restaurant waving her arms madly.
To be continued...