Powerless, Part IV


Pic of the day, part i: Mount Fuji and the Seven Gods of Good Fortune, by Katsushika Hokusai

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It is impossible not to notice that our world is tormented by failure, hate, guilt, and fear.

William Saroyan

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Continued from Powerless, part III:

Dan, looking at his marriage having dissolved before his eyes and having no work and no money, thought to himself that with everything falling apart all at once things couldn’t get any worse, that this was rock bottom. That this was as bad as it was going to get. But having thought that before he knew that kind of thing is only ever true in hindsight. You can only know when things are at their worst, or at their best even from a distant perspective time wise.

It was all too close, there was no way to judge about how bad it was, or could get. He knew that thought was a distraction, and that he had to focus on fixing things one at a time, with the most pressing need being money. After all, he thought, I can’t try to win my wife back, if that is even possible, without money and a life that she’d want to be part of. A job will come. It has to, right?

The fact that Dan had nothing gave him a sense of freedom, and urgency. As he sat down to start up his computer he said “I’m not powerless here. I can fix this. There is a lot to fix and it’ll take a long time, but what choice do I have? Give up? Let her go? Let my life go completely to hell? Oh hell no!”

Dan turned on some light music, something to keep him relaxed while he did the difficult work of looking for work opened up IE, and checked his e-mail. Nothing but spam, really.

A few sites that pretended to be job placement websites that he had sent feelers out to looking around that ended up being complete crap kept sending him stuff. There were plenty of places like that. He thought a place named Job.com, one that had sent him a few e-mails since he last checked his e-mail yesterday should be able to get you a fucking job.

They were never even able to get him an interview, even though he gave them all his info. All they wanted was him to sign up for more education, as they weren’t actually a job website. Something that wasn’t exactly stated up front. Or at all in fact.

Education is nice, but dammit you need money to do that, and he had none. So those e-mails got deleted.

Deleted some more crap, then spent a few hours looking through a number of job sites looking for work. He started looking for work on his computer at around 10:00 am. By 2:00 pm he had sent out three resumes. Three. After going through what seemed like a million different jobs he had found three he knew he could do.

Depressing crap, he thought. So He got up and made lunch and made some coffee, had it along with lunch and turned off the music. He found he was getting bored and annoyed at being stuck inside, so he got dressed and took a walk.

His thoughts kept turning to his wife. Wait, no Ex-wife. Wait, NO, I can talk her into coming back, I won’t give up. I won’t give up on anything. Anything.

Dan walked down the stairs of his building and out the front door. He decided he wanted to go get a newspaper, look at the want ads there. See what he can find. He hadn’t really done that in a long time. The fog of the morning had lifted and the day was sunny and warm. The sounds of kids playing in the street and music from cars swirled and danced through the air and gave an almost carnival air to the whole neighborhood.

He couldn’t take part in it though. He had things to do. As he walked he kept his head down as he walked the three blocks to the store, looking at the sidewalk and his own feet, like he was not worthy of the sun or of the happiness that the street offered.

Dan nodded to a few people who were standing around on the corner. Two of them saw him and walked over.

“DAN! My man, wazzup?” Said the short man with the plain gray T-shirt. The taller man behind simply nodded again in Dan’s direction.

Dan said “Randy, how you doing, yo? what’s the good word?” Randy said “Namuch. Still yakking about robbing a bank?” he said with a wry smile on his hairy face.

Dan got nervous when Randy mentioned that, but tried to play off his discomfort and said “Please, that was just stupid drunken bullshit. I talk about hitting the lottery too, how often has that happened?” He smiled at Randy.

Randy said “Figured as much, would’ve been fun though, watching you get your ass blown off. You’re too nice of a guy, you’d be a shitty criminal. Since you can’t be a criminal, and you ain’t lucky enough to be a lottery winner, Hows the job search going?”

Dan said “It just sucks. There is nothing out there. You know. Everyone here knows. If there was work, we’d all be working right?” Randy and his silent partner nodded, agreeing with the simplest truth the street corner showed. It wouldn’t be populated if the people there had work to do. He continued “I’m heading over to grab a paper and look for work in there. What’s going on?”

Randy replied “Not much. Gonna go hit the bar in a minute. Wanna go?”

Dan again felt nervous here. As much he wanted one, he wouldn’t get anything done if he had a drink now. After all, it’s never one drink. It’s the first drink, more always follow, and that would end the productive part of the day. Dan wanted it though. Lately her had been giving in to those wants. Hard not to some days. He thought about it for a minute, long enough where Randy looked at him and said “Today, Dan. It’s not final Jeopardy, you wanna hang or not?” And looked at him quizzically.

“Ya know what, Randy? Nah. I have things to do. Wanna focus on getting a job, not on getting a hangover. I’ve had more hangovers than work recently, and that shit ain’t good. Gotta get my shit together.”

Randy looked shocked. “Do what you gotta do, Dan. Good luck looking for work. If you come across something lemme know. Hang later, maybe?”

Dan said “Ya sure, when I’m done I’ll be down. I’ll talk to you later.”

He turned and walked another block and into the store. There were several papers he could have grabbed, but he grabbed the local paper instead of the bigger papers. He thought they had a better classified section. He opened the paper and looked at that section for a second. There wasn’t much that he could see, but he decided to buy it anyway, might be something there.

He paid the dollar for it and walked out. Dan said “A dollar for that paper is robbery.” as he paid the dollar. The clerk said in a thick Jamaican accent said ‘For you ya, I read them for free.” And smiled at him. Dan responded “Best price ever. See ya later, Morris” he waved as he walked to the door. As he took the single step to the sidewalk, he heard the sound of a car backfiring, and it startled him.

Then he realized that it wasn’t a car backfiring, because it happened several times, and he saw the few people around diving for the sidewalk.

It was gunfire, and it was close. He quickly ran back into the store. One of whose windows shattered as several bullets flew through them.

To Be Continued…

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Pic of the day, part ii: The Waterfall in Ono on the Kisokai Road, by Katsushika Hokusai

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What the hell are they all looking for? A way out. A way to the right way out. A way to leave. A way to go. A way to have had it, to have had enough of it, to be done with it. A decent way to give it all over to the giver of it all.

William Saroyan

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That’s it from here, America. G’night.

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