Tuesday, September 13, 2011


He stared at the letter, reading the words over and over to himself, his eyes skimming the page backwards and forwards.  He couldn't believe that he had received another one.  Frustrated, his fingers clenched on the keys.  He wanted to find the right words to send back, something to scream "You made the wrong choice."  But instead, they just softened instead.  His right hand moved over to the mouse and he hovered the cursor over the "Delete" key.  If only there were some way to go back, edit the past, make him look and sound better on paper.  Write a biography about himself and send it for review - he was interesting, he was an asset, he was helpful, but here he was stuck, like moss growing on a tree.  He feared that if he moved, he would shrivel to pieces, his whole life would unravel.  Maybe that's why he never tried to "sell himself on paper."

"We regret to inform you that you have not been chosen for this position."  Number seventeen?

Was he to remain stuck at this job for ever.  He looked around his cubicle office, drones of faces, long from boredom, paste white from lack of healthy vitamin D.  He could almost see people throwing themselves out the windows in their mind's eye.  Was he the only one going this crazy, or did people see these things when they looked at him?  A rat clawing at the bars of his cage, praying that the grubby fingers from that chunky five year old won't come back to knock him around.  Hoping that there will be a chance to move through the maze, get the prize at the end and finally rest for a moment in piece.

It had taken this job two months to get back to him, he had almost completely forgotten about it since he had given up hope.  But instead of deciding that he wasn't good enough, he just became pissed off.  He was good enough, and he wanted to rise up and scream it.  In fact, he was rising up and screaming it.

"WHY THE HELL CAN'T I FIND A JOB?!"  He stood on his desk, the soapbox of his life, his moment to live, his moment to decide that survival was better than money.  "All of you, can't you see it, why do you stand for this?!"  He pointed wildly out the window, their building stood facing the bricks of another building, "That view isn't reality, neither is this!"  He kicked over his keyboard, attempted to kick down the cubical wall, but it wouldn't budge from the weight of all the other walls stacked against it.  His foot throbbed in his polished, now scuffed, black dress shoe.  "The real world isn't stuck in your monitors, your life doesn't need to be here!"  His hair shifted into an unruly, brown mesh on the top of his head, his eyes sank from years of committing his life to being in this place.  He remembered all the moments that he waited patiently for a raise, a promotion, something so that he could get a little more money, save more, retire early, finally do what he wanted to do.

"I've been waiting too long!  And I think you have to!"  He climbed over the gray cubical, half walking, half jogging away from the security guards that were now encroaching on his space.  Papers flew out from under his feet, people dodged into their corners, one person from the mail room and copy center clapped, a few sparse chuckles were heard in the office, but mostly, people were scared.

"I'm telling you!  Get out!  Don't waste your life like me!"  As the security guards took this man away, my friend turned to me and asked me if I knew who he was.

I shook my head, "But I'll tell you what, it's these moments that are the only reason worth working in a place like this - when people go crazy.  Everyone has that breaking point."

My friend scowled, "So what happens when you reach yours?"

I smirked, "I just hope that I put on a better show than anyone else - one that people talk about for years to come."

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