Old Dogs

MY STRENGTHS ARE...


he had thrown
most of the standard
interview questions
at me
and
I had kept
a firm hold
on my sharp
and wandering tongue

I had responded
to all
of his queries
with the expected
pat responses
but now
he had come
to the end
of his list
and I could see
that he was still
not convinced
that I was the man
for the job

however
he had not yet found
any obvious evidence
of questionable
character

"OK...
let me see...
who was your favorite
historical figure
and why?

this
was a bit
beyond
what I considered
to be pertinent
information

I was quickly
becoming impatient
tired of the act
so could see
no reason
to maintain
the charade

it was time
to fly

"Pope Leo
the Great"

the answer
had its desired
effect

I could see
that off-balanced look
between confusion
and relief
he didn't like
this turn
of his interrogation
but now he had
an out
a flippant response
that exposed
my non-businesslike
nature

"hmmm...
Pope Leo the Great
and just why would
you want to choose
this Pope Leo
of yours"

he had already
started to review
the next applicant's
extensive employment packet
but it was his hook
and I wasn't about
to let him off
so easily

I was unemployed
and had
nothing
but time

"well
in the 5th century
he convinced Attila the Hun
not to sack
the Holy City of Rome
even though
it was practically
defenseless
against him"

"and how
did he accomplish
that?"

"oh
by pleading
and bribing
he eventually saved
the city
from certain
defilement and probably preserved
temporarily
what little was left
of the Roman
Empire"

I thought
that maybe
I detected
a flicker of interest
flash over his flaccid
and anemic countenance
but more than likely
it was just an attack
of heartburn
or gas

"so...
what about that
impresses you?"

I admit
that I had
to give him credit
he was willing
to play the game
to its conclusion
but I
was ready
as well

"there was really
no empire or prestige
left for the Pope to save
the Romans were forced
to enter an unholy alliance
with the hated Visigoths
in order to show some
semblance of force
and afterward
when they fought
the invaders back
hastening the death
of Attila
the Empire
was irreparably infused
with infidels
from both sides
which eventually
plunged Rome
and Europe
into the Dark Ages
so in either
victory or defeat
a certain seal of doom
was to descend
upon them"

he was visibly
disturbed
by the story's
less than happy ending
and his once confident
managerial posture
was bent
in perplexity

"if Pope Leo's act
was evidently futile
why would you pick him
as your favorite
historical figure?"

his discomposure
had grown tiresome
and it was time
to conclude
my little tale

"it just shows
that every reputed
great or noble act
is exposed by time
to be either impotent
or criminally negligent
revealing humans
as the petty
self-important creatures
that they really
are

thank you
for your time"

I stood
and shook
his hesitantly
offered hand
seeing that
I had made
an impression
albeit
an unemployable
one

his Rome
would keep
me out for now
but eventually
it
would
fall

I just hoped
that I wouldn't
die in my tent
before
it did