Heaven Help Me, Or Hell Have Me (Heaven Help Me #1)

BOOK: Heaven Help Me, Or Hell Have Me (Heaven Help Me #1)
3.65Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub



Heaven Help Me

Jolyn Palliata


Copyright 2011 Jolyn Palliata

Cover art by Steven Novak

All rights reserved.


This book is a work of fiction. References to
real people, events, establishments, organizations, or locations
are intended only to provide a sense of authenticity, and are used
factitiously. All other characters, and all incidents and dialogue,
are drawn from the author’s imagination and are not to be construed
as real.


Smashwords Edition, License

This ebook is licensed for your personal
enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to
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person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If
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and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work
of this author.



Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6


About The

Chapter 1

So, I get up this morning
the same way I do every morning. I ooze out of bed and trip over
the cat on my way to the coffee maker. Coffee first (always), then
bathroom—once again, tripping over the cat in my way. Same damned
thing every morning. But, this is my life, and I’m okay with

it, Cat.” It’s part of our routine, but he never listens. Why would
he? It’s
toe that suffers for his sprawling laziness, not

I don’t think anything can
hurt Cat, a big ‘ole black, moose-of-a-feline. Moose...that’s what
I should’ve named him. Though why I bothered naming him at all is
beyond me.

He’s not even my

Right on cue, he stands,
stretches, and shoots me a glare—yes, an honest-to-God glare—before
darting out the barely-open window.

I better not find a steamy
kitty surprise on my bed later. Not like that’s never happened
before. Maybe I should just shut the window.

But I don’t, and go take
my shower instead.


Feeling fresh and
rejuvenated, and ready to face the day, I lock the door to my hole
in the ground. It’s a crappy little apartment, but it’s mine, so I
love it. A little hum and a shuffle down the steps and I slam right
into the humid wall of the real world. My apartment might be
crappy, but at least it has A/C.

Already feeling weighted
down by the air, I trudge down the street. Okay, so that’s an
exaggeration. More like I have a little less bounce in my step.
(So, I’m dramatic. Sue me.) My goal, Starbucks, just five short
blocks away. Yeah, yeah—I made coffee at home, but that was just to
get me out the door. Now I need four high-octane shots to get me to
lunch. But on the way, I have to make my rounds.

First stop, Chuck. Just
around the corner and selling the most gorgeous flowers you ever
saw. (And that’s
an exaggeration.) He’s old and wrinkled and stoops over a bit
when he stands. But he’s nice and has youth in those bright blue

A pretty flower for a
pretty lady.” Plus he’s so full of crap, he’s a delight to be

When are you gonna get
those eyes checked, Chuck?”

He snickers at me, and
shakes his head. “When are you gonna get that mirror fixed,

I snicker back, and shake
my head. But I take the flower, ‘cause who doesn’t like flowers?
And I tuck it behind my ear.

Three blocks later is
Larry. Now, Larry...I keep my eye on him. Tall, dark (As in
dirty-dark, not dark features. Actually, I think he’s blond under
all that muckity-muck.), and not very handsome. Um, like at all.
But he’s nice, too. Or has been so far. To be honest, I’m waiting
for the day when he flashes open his coat and I see more than hot
jewelry. And when that day comes, I’m going to scrub my eyeballs
out with Lysol. And then set them on fire.

Hey, Kassie.”

Hey, Larry.”

Interest you in a

No, thanks,

Necklace? Bracelet?” He
smiles, but it looks more like a leer. “Me?”

The mental image is
staggering, but I recover. “I don’t think I could handle you,

He runs a hand down his
chest, and right up and over his beer belly. “Too much man for you,

I keep walking with a
smile and a nod. How do I do it? I don’t know. “That’s it

He laughs. “I get that a
lot, sweetheart. No hard feelings.”

I wave goodbye over my
shoulder and keep my eye on the prize.

Starbucks, just one block.


Your usual,

Thanks, Kris.” I hand her
my card. And right then, Cici creeps up on me. I jump when she
sticks her face in mine. “Sidler. I’m gonna make you carry around
Tic Tacs so I hear you coming.”

She makes a face. “Like
that Seinfeld episode?”


Make them orange
flavored.” She sticks out her tongue, then orders her Chai

We shuffle down the line
like the trained coffee hoarders we are, and eavesdrop on people’s
conversations like we usually do. She takes the right, I take the
left. What? It gives us something to talk about on the way to work.
It’s not like I have a life to discuss. But that’s okay. Life is

Coffee in hand—well,
Cici’s hands—we squeeze and weave our way back to the door, and
spill out into the sidewalk traffic. A dodge to the right, another
to the left, and we insinuate ourselves into the flow.

Nice moves, Kassie. I
thought you were going to faceplant again.”

Maybe my luck is turning

Unlikely,”—she hands me
my coffee, now that I’m on stable feet—”but we’ll go with

I ignore the dig, mainly
‘cause I know it’s deserved. And true. “So whatcha got?”

An old man complaining
about his sciatic nerve.” She rolls her eyes. “How about

women whispering about

She barks out a laugh.

It’s the same conversation
I’ve been overhearing all week. I shrug with a smirk. “Just wait
until they discover the Masters.”

Think they


just think of what
conversations are going to be.”

I bark out my own laugh.
“A helluva lot more interesting, that’s for sure.”

We part ways at the


On the way to my desk, I
trip over a curled up utility rug, dump half my coffee (thankfully,
and amazingly, not on myself), and miss the elevator. I have two
minutes to get to my desk before my boss does his Nazi rounds, and
there’s hell to pay. I book it up five flights of stairs, taking
them two at a time. Granted, not a wise move given my coordination
level, but you do what you have to do, right? Turns out okay,
though. Didn’t trip, didn’t spill, and I make it to my desk before
Hilter rounds the corner and orders me to his office for a “talking
to” (which roughly translated means a game of “dodging Mr.
Gropey-hands”—a game I always win). Sucks having a boss that wants
in your pants. But, I need this job, so I deal with it. Something
better will come along. Some day.

I punch the power button
on my computer, it snaps, sparks and fizzles, then the smoke comes
next. Yup, my day’s begun. So, what do I do now? The only thing I
can—grin and bear it, and fall back on my old mantra instead. With
a sigh, I grumble, “Heaven help me, or Hell have me.”

Hell, in this case, ends
up being the File Room, which is where I work the rest of the day.
Whoever said we’re turning into a paperless society has clearly
never stepped foot in
room. Room? Cavern, is more like it. Dark, dank,
and it smells funny. Which, okay. It is what it is, and I’ll
survive it.

I hold onto that thought
until one of the shelves tips over and papers scatter everywhere.
And I mean,
! There’s even a couple of sheets stuck against the air
exchange vent on the ceiling. How the hell am I supposed to get
those down? But, honestly, do I care? Not really. And then with a
cringe, I admit to myself that yeah, I do. Stupid conscience. At
least Mr. Hands is on another floor.

See? There’s always a
bright side.


I get home that night, all
sweaty and gross from the File Room (AKA, The 7th Circle of Hell).
Plus, I smell funny. Perfect. So I peel off my clothes and get in
the shower. The pipes groan and rattle, something they never did
before, and I’m blasted with ice cold water immediately followed by
scalding hot. Jumping and cursing, I hop out and wash my hair in
the sink. Of course my hair gets stuck in the drain—why wouldn’t
it?—and I have to play tug-of-war with my head.

When I’m finally free, I
give up the good fight, and go to bed with soapy, knotted hair, all
wrapped up nice and tight in a crappy old towel (‘cause that’s what
I have). My pits still stink, and there’s a layer of grime an inch
thick caked on my skin, but I don’t care anymore. This day sucks,
more than most, and I’m ready to reset the clock.

I collapse on my bed,
naked as the day I was born, and decide I’m not moving from this
spot until morning. No way am I stinking up my sheets by crawling
underneath the comforter. But a quick sniff tells me I have to
change the bedding anyway.

Damn cat.

Before I fall asleep, I
almost ask out loud ‘What the hell else could happen?’, but I know
better than to tempt the fates, and instead mutter, “Heaven help
me, or Hell have me.” And then mentally amend it to
Fuck Heaven, Hell take me.

I think it just this once,
‘cause I’m mad enough to go there.

Chapter 2

This morning came too
early. Waaay too early. But I slither out of bed anyway, ‘cause
that’s what I do. And I stumble into the hallway, ‘cause that’s
where I go. And I trip over Cat… Umm, no I don’t. But I did
overshoot the kitchen, which means I just overshot my coffee. Which
is completely unacceptable.

Confused, I glance at my
feet. Nope, no Cat. I look behind me. Nope, didn’t step over him.
And then I see him—at the end of the hall looking very put out.
What’s he so bent out of shape about? Once again, I’m the one who’s
suffering here. We have a routine. You
to a routine. I get out of
bed, I trip over the cat, and two limps later, I veer into the
kitchen. It’s not pretty, but it works. And you don’t mess with
what works!

BOOK: Heaven Help Me, Or Hell Have Me (Heaven Help Me #1)
3.65Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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