Job Hunt: Austin

23 Jul

“Editor,” I say, as I stroll into my editor’s office. He looks up at me from his computer. He is doing a thing with his computer.

“I need a job.”

“I’d say so,” he says, so. “How’s the hunt going so far?”

“Well, I’m running into a familiar problem.”

“Which is?”

I hold up a piece of paper with “Resume” written on it and nothing else.

Editor leans back in his desk. “I see.”

“Here.” I put down a business card with my name on it and contact information. “I’m going to start using business cards to legitimize myself. Maybe that’ll help.” Editor picks up the card. “Now turn it over,” I tell him. He does. On the back is a close up of my eyes and the phrase “Are you ready?”

“Are they ready for what?” Editor asks.

I raise my palms into the air and shrug, my expression one of total defeat.

“Well, I don’t know if this is going to help much,” Editor says, “Since you have to be in front of someone to give them this. Someone who has the power to hire someone, and if you just hand them a business card, they still won’t know what your qualifications are.”

I think on this. I walk out of the office without saying goodbye.

I sit at my desk, looking out the window. “What can I offer the world?” I ask myself. “What is there for me to give, to sell?”

I look at the old halter top and fishnets hanging in my closet.

“No,” I say to myself, pulling my gaze away. “Never again.”

I stand and pace the room. I pick up a half full tumbler on my desk. I take a sip and cringe. “Oh, my god!” I say. “Editor!” I call. “What is this?”

“What?” he asks, appearing in my doorway.

“This, in my glass. This is not Wild Turkey.”

“Sir, that’s um, that whiskey you brewed yourself the other night–‘Ky Turkey.'”

“I don’t remember making this whiskey,” I reply.

“You had been drinking a lot of that whiskey.”

“Well, what is it?”

“It’s apple juice and rubbing alcohol.”

I glance at the glass, drink its remaining contents, dry heave over my desk, then stand up straight.

“Editor, this cannot continue. I cannot live this way. I need to drink real bishby!” I try to pick up the tumbler to throw it at the wall, but I miss and my hand sort of flops around on the desk for a few seconds.

“Kyle?”

“I think that Ky Turkey is getting to me,” I say, now covered in a light sheen of sweat.

“Steady yourself, my Lord,” Editor says, putting a hand on my shoulder.

“I need work. And I need it now. Like right now.” I get in my car and decide to go out and find a job.

I drive down street after street looking for “Help Wanted” signs. I see one, but it’s outside of a cage with a bunch of hungry dogs pattering around inside and I turn away.

As I turn, I see a man in the middle of an intersection accepting change from strangers. He’s holding a sign, but he’s too far for me to read what it says. I park at the Sonic parking lot, jog through the traffic and approach the man.

“The End!” he says, holding his hands up to me, his eyes communicating true fear.

I hold up my shirt, smell it. “You were able to pick that up? I thought I’d covered up my End-ness.” I’m trying to maintain a strong atmosphere of intimidation, so the man doesn’t try to befriend me, intimidate me, or worse, ask me for money. “Anyway, yes, I am the End. And as the End, I’m going to give you an opportunity to look back on your life before we move on. First off, what is this you’ve been doing for the past several minutes?” I point at his sign.

“Panhandling.”

“Which is?”

“I take this sign, walk about, and people will give me money.”

I look at him skeptically.

“Really and truly! Just try it. Now you’ll have to dirty yourself up, but if ye–” the man rubs his leathery, chicken-foot hands in the dirt and then brings them up to my face. His rheumy eyes are far away and his mouth is slightly open, focused intently on whatever he plans on doing to my face with that dirt.

“The End!” I cry, putting my hands up. There’s  moment of confusion long enough for me to run back to my car.

I find a spot of my own. Unfortunately, there’s already a panhandler there.

“Mind if I shadow you a little bit?” I ask the woman.

She looks me up and down and does not respond. This feels like Shawshank Redemption but I don’t know why. She sits on a plastic crate.

I look at the woman’s sign and my heart breaks. It’s pure nonsense. Scribble and mess. I see this woman, illiterate, and feel like I’m looking at one of the most damning exposes of our American system of education that could be mustered.

“Ma’am,” I say softly. She looks up at me.

“Your sign, ma’am, it doesn’t make any sense. Those aren’t real words you have written there.” I take the sign from her. “You see, no one knows what you mean by ‘necesito comer.’ Here, let me make you a new sign.”

I take out a sharpie and write on the back of her sign. “Please give all the money to Shia LeBouf.” I then stand close to her side, holding my sign that says “I am Shia LeBouf.”

An hour later, I’m rolling in it.

The End.

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