Third Lunch

When the bell rang, Judy took her place near the emergency exit door and started prodding students out of the cafeteria. She didn’t care that none of them liked her, knew full well that 95% of the time she heard “bitch” it was directed at her. But she wasn’t here to be liked, just to do her job, go home, collect her check.


In this large, urban high school, third lunch gave way to fourth (and last) lunch. Low man on the totem pole, Judy had to clear away the trash, wipe down the tables, and deliver anything left behind to her supervisor. Then she could eat.


As Judy wiped and cleared, she marveled at the students’ rudeness and laziness. She shook her head at their conversations. With every filthy joke, every vulgar insult, every disgusting tray left behind for her to clear she pursed her lips tighter and tighter. “Goddamn kids,” she’d mutter.

With only three tables left, a small black bag under the corner seat of a corner table caught her attention. She wasn’t supposed to, but Judy always looked inside the bags she found. If she got caught, all she had to do was say she was looking for something with a name on it.

Today, her knees gave out a little when she opened her newest find. Cash. Never in her life had she seen so many bills. Rolls of fifties, twenties, and hundreds. Drug money. Had to be. She chuckled. “God DAMN, kids!” she said.