“And that’s when I did it.”
Rebecca and Daisy sat at the bar on either side of Manny as she sipped a beer. They were listening intently to her story of the staff meeting.
“Did…what?” Rebecca asked cautiously.
Manny winced at both the volume of the screech and the fact that it was in stereo, directly in her ears.
She shook her head. “My God–another fifteen years? I can’t even–not another day!”
“You didn’t just walk off the job, did you?” Daisy asked incredulously.
“I offered two weeks’ notice. Steph told me I could leave today.” Manny shrugged. “So I did.”
“I take it she wasn’t impressed,” Rebecca said drily.
“Hah! That’s putting it mildly! On the other hand, I’m not sure she actually cares all that much. It just looks really, really bad for somebody to quit on her first full day on the job. I think she just wanted to have the problem…well, not solved, but out of sight as quickly as possible.” Manny shrugged again. “In two weeks, it’ll be like I was never even there.”
Daisy frowned at the trace of bitterness in Manny’s voice even as she asked, “So what are you going to do now?”
“I’ve already done it,” Manny replied calmly.
“What have you done?” Daisy asked.
“I’m cashing out my pension. Rebecca, you can sell my house. I’ve decided I’m going to have a mid-life crisis, and by God, I’m going to have it like a man!”
“What the hell–?” Rebecca asked, at a loss.
“I’m going on a road trip. Hopefully with a young man in a hot red convertible–but I’ll take whoever shows up.”
Daisy stared at her, stunned. All she could think to say was, “Huh?”
“I put the personal ad online today,” Manny continued.
Manny handed Daisy a slip of paper covered with her familiar scrawl.
Daisy read it out loud for Rebecca’s benefit. “SWF, 45, having mid-life crisis, seeks travelling companion with own money for six-month road trip to destinations unknown. Don’t worry–no sex wanted or offered. Young men preferred but really don’t give a damn. You have a month to respond then I’m leaving with or without you. Hot red convertible will be considered an asset. ROSE!”
“Now I know you’re pissed if you’re calling me Rose,” Manny said ruefully.
“I’m your sister–I’ll call you whatever the hell I want!” Daisy snarled.
Rebecca finally found her voice again. “Have you lost your ever-loving mind?”
“No,” Manny said seriously. “I think I’ve finally found it.”
For the last fifteen years, Rose “Manny” Mankowski has been a very good girl. She turned her back on her youthful fancies and focused on her career. But now, at the age of 45, she’s questioning her choices and feeling more and more disconnected from her own life. When she’s passed over for promotion and her much younger new boss implies Manny’s life will never change, something snaps. In the blink of an eye, she’s quit her job, sold her house and cashed in her pension, and she’s leaving town on a six month road trip.
After placing a personal ad for a travelling companion, she’s joined in her mid-life crisis by Zeke Powell, the cynical, satirical, most-read – and most controversial – blogger for the e-magazine, What Women Want. Zeke’s true goal is to expose Manny’s journey as a pitiful and desperate attempt to reclaim her lost youth – and increase his readership at the same time. Leaving it all behind for six months is just an added bonus.
Now, armed with a bagful of destinations, a fistful of maps, and an out-spoken imaginary friend named Harvey, Manny’s on a quest to rediscover herself – and taking Zeke along for the ride.
Genre – ChickLit, Contemporary Fiction
Rating – PG-13
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