Here is my latest short story… Enjoy! 🙂
Written by: Frank Cormier
“Why is it you always hesitate?” mused John Branford, a forty-seven year old man, graying at the temples, clothed only in a ragged Boston Red Sox t-shirt, boxing shorts covered in four leaf clovers, as he leaned over the wash basin. The bathroom was nondescript with some semblance of an Art Deco finish giving it a touch of style. A large chrome rimmed mirror with toothpaste stains speckled on it hangs over the sink.
“You know you know the right answer,” he barked at his reflection. “What are you waiting for?”
The man in the mirror offered no response.
“You are the only one I have to answer to, and I can’t even count on you.”
His eyes were bloodshot and his mood sullen from another gin filled bender. The benders had come more frequently the past three months. He told himself that he was still in charge of his life as a front to justify his actions. He knew that he was slowly losing control and now felt incapable of stopping the impending maelstrom.
“Fuck it. I’ll just go along for the ride,” he solemnly thought while studying his reflection. “I’ll be all right. I’ll be all right. I’ll be all right,” he murmured softly.
It was six thirty in the morning as he prepared for another exacerbating day standing on line at the unemployment center. At first he didn’t mind being there because he had never experienced this place before in his professional career. The novelty of it all was entertaining.
Week after week he would watch as men and women dressed in their best suits would come in, fill out the required paperwork, stand on line (for what now seems like an eternity), meet with a (quote) career counselor (end quote), get out of line to fix something they filled out incorrectly, get back on line, meet with a different counselor, attempt to negotiate with the counselor for more money than they were qualified to receive or a faster payment than was allowed, get frustrated, and storm out.
One could set his proverbial watch to the number of times this scene was played out over and over, and how soon (typically fifteen minutes) the person would come back in, stand on line again, meet with yet another counselor, nod their head with deference, and then sulk from the office holding a manila envelope with the word “processed” stamped in red ink.
“That won’t be me coming in week after week,” he assured himself while watching the activities. “I have more skills than any ten of these people. I’ll find a job within the first couple of days no problem.”
Fast forward thirty-two weeks: no job offers, credit cards maxed out, and several registered letters from the bank threatening foreclosure. He knows the bank doesn’t want his house. The banking industry was in shambles and the last thing they wanted to be in is the real estate business. He tossed one of the bank letters unopened on to a stack of credit card statements.
“Ah, the government will come up with some type of stimulus plan that will pay off my house for low dollars,” he said to his brand new Aspire II Barcalounger. “I’ll come out ahead in the long run.”
He was now dressed in a charcoal gray Botany 500 Gladiator chalk pin striped suit. Why he hadn’t thought to dress this way before now was a mystery that he could try to solve while standing on line today. Someone will want to hire his services today he half heartedly believed. He was busily adjusting his necktie in front of the bathroom mirror as his thoughts turned toward his employment opportunities.
“Well it’s now or never,” he said to his reflection in a languid voice. “What do you think?”
The man in the mirror did not respond.
“The hell with you,” he retorted excitedly while waving his fist at the mirror. “I’ll show you! I’ll show them all!”
John turned on his heel and stormed out of the bathroom, car keys jingling, and slammed the front door as he exited the house.
The man in the mirror now sported a comical grin and shook his head slowly. “When are you going to stop seeking permission?” he finally replied.
No answer was offered.
Copyright (C) 2015 by Frank Cormier. All rights reserved.