Cary Jean (CJ) Goodwyn

Listless Late-shift Nurse's Assistant


Average height, straight brown hair and a measured pace don’t make CJ stand out in her scrubs. Her pretty face competes against half-lidded eyes that overtly indicate she’d rather be anywhere else but work. And indeed, she would. Her thermos full of homemade sweet tea (made with yerba mate…) drags her through her job as a nurse’s assistant in the trauma unit at St. Luke’s hospital. She’s competent enough to not get fired, but her bedside manner and workplace enthusiasm aren’t exactly inspiring.

Away from work, CJ doesn’t suddenly become boisterous, but she does get more interesting. Her scrubs hide tattoos (and piercings), and her glove compartment holds a spliff that she tucks carefully into her owner’s manual each day before work. She fishes her eyebrow ring out of her cup holder and slides it back into place before driving to the park to get high as the sun rises.

Among her “group,” an ever-growing roster of the listless jaded youths of Duluth, CJ is a woman of status. Attractive, (relatively) well-paid and known for her good taste, she has her choice of tattooed, pierced, flannel-clad, and/or bespectacled men (or women, whatever). She’s invited to everyone’s concert or DJ debut, from indie punk, to pop metal, to techno bluegrass and whatever else the underworked minds of the post-teens of Minnesota put out. Her even keel belies an accepting nature she extends to almost everyone, casually tossing off a “right on” or “that’s cool” to even the most fervent statements of conviction. She’s a passable painter, and does it in her spare time, adding to the clutter of her small apartment. She likes to paint dark, strange landscapes, but she would never consider them sellable… or even art, for that matter.

CJ hates being called Cary Jean, a remnant of her upbringing in North Carolina that reminds her of a conservative family she’d brave bone chilling winters to be rid of. Nonetheless, the mannerisms of southern gentility slip through into her conversations, especially when she’s angry or confused. Comfort food means fried chicken, the occasional “y’all” finds it way out of her mouth, and she has a critical, if disdainful, appreciation of sundresses.

Cary Jean (CJ) Goodwyn

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