Old Dogs


I kept nodding
and smiling idiotically
as he continued
to recite
through the inane

he seemed
distinctly pleased
with my enthusiastic

I fit the profile
of dumb and happy employee
that he had hoped
so much
to match

"do you have
any problems
with working
a twelve hour shift?"

my mind screamed
at the ungodly notion
of standing for twelve hours
in an assembly line setting
it sounded like a sentence
of slow brainless death
who in Hell
could need
the money
that bad?

"no sir
no problem
at all"

do you think
that you could handle
a fast paced environment
where you'll be
under consistent
shipping deadlines?"

it was exactly
what I'd been trying
to avoid
all of my life

I wanted
to work
at my own
lazy pace
isolated from the needs
of profit driven
industry and

"yes sir
I enjoy
the pressure

it keeps
things lively"

now the pay
is a quarter over
the minimum wage
with a shift differential
of another quarter an hour
is that acceptable?"

didn't he realize
that his job
would suck
at ten times
the pay?

no amount
of money
can compensate someone
for wasting their time
at such a pointless

"yes sir
that would be

now would be able
to start immediately
if the shift super
gives his OK?"

I would rather
have a year or two
to mull over the offer
maybe then to start
on a day
that I could name
one on which
my life
had lost all hope
and meaning
when the last
of my suffering soul
had been sucked
from my dry body

on that day
I would be ready
for his job
or death

"yes sir
right away
if you want"

"whoa there
young fellow
I'm afraid
that things
don't happen
quite that fast
around here

I'll mark
your application
as approved by personnel
and forward it
to manufacturing
and you should be hearing
in the next
of days

he appeared
to be finished
so I got up
from the chair
smiling for hopefully
the last time that day
and shook his cold
clammy hand

I nodded
to the secretary
on my way outside
then threw open the door
to breathe in the crisp
autumn coolness
finally free
of the stale
lifeless air

the phone
rang rudely
at seven the next morning
it was the exuberant voice
of Mr. Personnel
on the other

"good news!
the paperwork
went through
and you can start tonight
on the 6pm to 6am shift
how's that sound?"

it sounded
like a slice
of shit pie

"it sounds
fantastic sir
but unfortunately overnight
I've developed
a debilitating illness
and I'm afraid
that it will take weeks
I'll be able
to recover

I thank you
for your time
and I hope
that you make
lots of money

I hung up
and reached out
for a warm flat beer
to nurse
my newfound
and hopefully
lingering malady