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Whistle While You Work

Words by Agnes McLuckie and Tabitha S. Nova     Art by Kirsten Spencer
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            “Yay!  You’re back!” Breyella shouted across the hall. She slammed her locker shut as she twirled around to hug her friend.

            “Yeah, I’m back.  It sucks.” Callalee replied.  “It’s always so amazing to go on these career-prep trips. Coming back to this is just…” she signaled to the hall full of identically-clothed girls with their white, button-up blouses in various degrees of escape from the waistbands of their red plaid skirts. Everyone’s feet and shins were suffocating in knee-high boots, as if a herd of wildebeests had just wandered through a river of molten leather.  “…Just sucks,” she finished.

            “So, you’ve been visiting colleges? Is that where you go? You’re gone like every month,” Breyella responded, flicking her hair over her shoulder and smiling pointedly like an interrogator.  

            “Uh, kind of. Like, I’ve been wanting to be this certain, er, career since I was literally like two.  I’ve never changed my mind. And my parents have been soooo supportive. So, yeah, about every month, probably…“ she trailed off, looking up with squinted eyes. “I’m not sure how much I should say. My dad said I need to keep quiet. Something about his taxes or something. Anyway, let’s just say…” she searched her brain for a suitable cover story, “I go on career prep trips.  And, since my career doesn’t require a college degree, I go right into the field and see how people do it. You know, I interview them, shadow them. Actually, they don’t really like when I shadow them, but I don’t care. I just want to learn everything I can,” Callalee summed up, hopping ahead with a rush of glee.

            “His taxes? Wait.” Breyella stopped in her tracks. “Is it legal? You’re not trying to be a murderer or something, are you?”

            Callalee laughed so abruptly that Breyella had to wipe the spittle off her own face. 

            “Of course, it’s legal! It’s, like, more than legal. I’m going to be a role model for millions of children. It’s just that, my dad decided he can use my college savings account to fund the trips. He kind of wants me to keep quiet about that part, though.” She exhaled slowly and furrowed her eyebrows. “But you have to promise you won’t tell.”

            “I totally won’t tell,” Breyella affirmed. “I don’t even care how he pays for it. I’m glad you get so much hands-on time in your career! I’m kinda jealous. The only time I ever see a pharmacist is through the tiny window at the grocery store. I can’t imagine how cool it would be to actually do their job for a day!” She smiled back at Callalee and they started down the hall towards physics class.

            “The best thing though,” whispered Callalee directly into her friend’s ear, “was that there was like zero line for Splash Mountain this time.”

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