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."

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Whipping Boy

His fingernails turned black with dirt, the shovel just wasn't fast enough and his back hurt from the long day.  He turned the soil over, digging farther and farther down.  He kept looking back and forth, measuring with his eyes, making sure that he, indeed, had enough space.  Just a few more inches, he thought, a sly grin growing across his face.  The sky seemed to dance, captivated in his eyes.  A huge weight was lifted off his shoulders as he breathed in the freshly turned dirt - this should be the way everyone celebrates the end of their work week.  He wished so deeply that he could share this strange euphoria with his co-workers.  Maybe they could feel the same, if only they knew his secret.

With a gruff huff, he shoved himself off the ground, wiping his soiled hands on his khaki pants.  He almost laughed at the hand print streaks that they made, how his wife would be so angry with him for messing in the garden again, or what she thought was the garden. 

He walked a few feet east where the five foot some inches long bag was sitting.  He grabbed one edge of it and dragged it slowly towards the slightly longer three foot deep hole in the ground.  The bag rolled into the hole with a sickening thud.  The man scratched his itchy nose and then took another deep breath of fresh dirt and forest.  He didn't care how long it took the cops to find the body, he didn't care if he died after this, he just knew it was time to bask.  He could bask in the moments at work without someone breathing down his shoulder, he could finish his memoirs as everyone frantically figured out what happened to their fearful leader, he might even be congratulated for doing the deed that no one else dreamed of completing, but everyone wished they had the guts to.  Sadly, there was nothing redeemable about the boss in the bag, and although one might wish that there was - that such a cruel act of human violence should be punished, but honestly, this wasn't the person to miss.  The slave driver, manipulator, the person that stepped on everyone else and kept everyone down while clawing their way up the corporate ladder.

Yes, he thought, this was a good thing - and as he covered the bag and dirt sprinkled on the plastic like rain on a rooftop, he knew that this was the only way he could keep living.  It was either the whipper or the whipping boy, and frankly, he thought, there was no way he'd let himself end up in a shallow grave - even if he now would meet his death in a chair.

It's been awhile since I've written.  I wrote another piece that will be submitted to a publisher - once I polish it.  I went on vacation - to a Unitarian Universalist camp in the woods, and it was super relaxing.  It put me back in touch with myself, made me self-reflect.  But while I was lost inside my own head, it was hard to put myself into another set of shoes.  I actually love the feeling that I get from writing.  It was nice to reflect on that, realizing that I am made for something more, and having some people affirm that I am, indeed, a half decent, if not good, writer.  So now I'm back, in full force, for one blog entry a day.  It's go time.