I walked into the office, took a seat, positioned my hands close to my chest as if I was holding a winning hand in poker.
Of course everything that occurs during a job interview is a gamble, even halitosis can trigger an unpleasant memory in the interviewer. It leaves a label applied to a dismissed face, shamed in its rejection. But that afternoon I twiddled my thumbs in confidence. Capitalism had me a fiend for employment. So when he extended his hand for a shake, I gripped it with gorilla strength and watched his eyes wince from my dominance.
I never got a call back.
But how many afternoons have I sat filling the lines of notebook pages, inscribing confessions of grandeur?Plausible explanations for why I should take form and develop thoughts conducive to believing:
“I have something to offer!”
Poetry is a survival technique.
And also garbage.
Poetry is the excitement found in a mundane afternoon.
Poetry is sitting by the window, wondering why the neighbours (Husband & Wife) don’t kiss each other when they say goodbye.
Or wondering why the police keep driving by the apartment.
“I am innocent of any crime. I swear!”
But guilty of wanting more from existence than a pay check, and a pat on the head from management
The Day Adulthood Becomes a Reality…
I walked into the break room and there he was, stationed on a chair before an opened bag of potato chips laid flat on the table.
“Dan!” I said enthused. “It has been awhile.” He placed a few chips in his mouth, chewed. Crumbs slipped through the gaps in his teeth and landed on his work-shirt. “No shit.” He said, voice muffled from a mouth-full. “What have you been doing?”
I pulled out a chair, it screeched as I dragged it across the dirt ridden linoleum. I rested it beside him and took a seat. “Traveled a bit. Worked at shitty jobs. How have you been? I don’t think we have had contact. Since I was placed on probation.” He picked away plaque with his fingernail situated between what few teeth he had left. He wiped the remnants onto his work-shirt “I remember that…” He said, lips smacking “Did that work out?”
“Yeah! Been off for almost a year now.”
“Good for you.” He brushed the plaque and chip crumbs off his shirt.
I leaned in close. “Still in the dope game?” I questioned.
He laughed. “Don’t have the energy for that anymore. After all the robberies, ripoffs, and jail sentences, I just gave up, been working here for about a year now.”
“Oh yeah?” I asked. “Do you like it?”
“No. It fucking sucks. The hours are long. The pay is shit. I go home every night in pain. Yeah, if you’re working here it means you made some mistake in your life.”
I looked around the room at my tattooed cohorts, their faces were pockmarked. Track marks dotted their veins, like sins exposed during Confession. I felt comfortable, however, as if I found the proper clique in the high school cafeteria. Dan stood up and pushed his chair in. He crumpled the chip wrapper into a ball and threw it into the trashcan.
“Well, break is over. time to make some rich fucker more money.”
I stood, followed him to our work stations. The next break we sat in silence, our will for conversation as dead as a junkie’s eyes.