And then my fingers crack as I post my resume for the thousandth time.
Then, suddenly, a response.
“We are interested in your unique experience in the customer service field. We would like to set up an interview for you as soon as possible.”
I respond without looking at what the “opportunity” is. I tell them I can interview today.
“That would be perfect, how does 3:00 PM sound?”
I tell them it sounds perfect. Ideal.
So I shave, and comb over my hair, and put on my father’s best clothes. I look at myself in the mirror.
Aside from the weight of time, I feel I look presentable enough.
I take the keys, turn them in the ignition, and head to the small strip of commercialism where the interview is to take place.
I park on a side street, out of the harm of the meters, and begin my walk.
As I look at, and memorize, the address of the meeting, I pass a U-Haul truck, and a hippie woman offering help to those unpacking.
I walk up the strip, curious as to where it is I’m going. I’m 20 minutes early.
Finally, as I reach the end of the strip, I find my destination.
It is a cemetery. A house planted at its gates is where I am to sit and bullshit my way into a job.
I tell a young man sitting behind a desk that I am there for an interview.
He looks confused.
A woman rounds the corner, and welcomes me. She tells me to follow her.
I do, and take a seat in front of a desk.
She tells me she is not the one who will be interviewing me, she thanks me for being early, and that someone will be with me shortly. That someone’s name escapes me.
And I wait.
I read a poem in a picture frame about how Jesus is good.
I read a poem in a picture frame about how our names will live forever.
I read a plaque about the souls lost serving us. It leans against a wall, sad and dusty.
And I wait.
And then the woman interviewing me comes.
She takes me to another room, and I sit in front of another desk.
She thanks me for coming.
She dives in to the details.
She tells me that death is a business, and that I’d be doing a service to those that are grieving.
She tells me that I’d be selling plots to those recently lost.
She tells me I’d be dealing with mostly old people.
She tells me I’d make house calls.
She shows me the rates at which plots sell.
Basic tomb stones.
I take a breath and nod my head, like this is all basic information.
She tells me I’ll be working on commission.
That’s where she loses me.
I can’t sell myself to the dying.
I tell her that.
She says she understands.
I believe her.
We shakes hands, and I leave.
I walk back up the strip, numb to what I just went through.
I light a cigarette and continue my walk.
I turn down the street I am parked on.
The U-Haul truck is gone, but the hippie woman is still there.
She sits in her front yard, Indian style, joint in hand.
She says hello to me.
I say hello back.
She informs me that I am the first person to actually acknowledge her.
She asks me if her smoking a joint makes me uncomfortable.
I tell her no.
I ask her if me smoking a cigarette makes her uncomfortable.
She tells me no.
She asks me to join her.
I figure I’ve got nowhere else to go, so why not?
I ask her if she has any wine.
She tells me she does inside.
I sit next to her.
I flick my cigarette.
We pass the joint until it is a roach.
We sit for a while.
“How about that wine?”
I nod my head, agreeing that it is a good idea.
We head inside her house.
She lifts her dress over her head.
I unbutton my shirt.
As I suspect, we are in bed.
I figured this would happen.
Because that’s how hippies are.
Because that’s how I am.
We roll around.
We toss back and forth.
I regret shaving.
She regrets something beyond my capacity of understanding.
We lay on the floor next to her bed.
I ask her if its OK if I light another cigarette.
She prefers I didn’t, but lights another joint.
I begin getting dressed.
She asks me “What’s your rush? Where ya going?”
I tell her to smoke a cigarette.
I don’t tell her that I’m also going to let my conscious cry over what I’ve done.
Because I miss you, Ramona.
Because I do this because I haven’t seen you in three years.
Because I regret every moment I’ve spent in the arms of others…
Or in the arms of a drink.
But it lasts only moments.
And as those pieces of myself die, I think,
I should be getting commission.