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In the eyes of myself Tags: In the eyes of myself

There where three men. All who seemed frightened. They stood on the edge of the canyon looking on as a fourth man tumbled to his death. We could have saved him said one of the men. He should have saved himself said another. The third man just look at them bewildered and brought a handgun to his own head and pulled the trigger. Blood spattered. The two men watched as he slumped to the ground. The first man screamed and the second threw himself to the side of the man on the ground. Why?!! he screamed. It was the only sound heard. Sobbing he looked at the man standing and said you did this! You and your frigging righteous speech about the lives we leave and the sacrifice we must make. Your the devil. I am not the devil said the standing man on the the truth. The truth about what? The other man screamed. Your life he said and he jumped.

The man heard a ringing and he sat up slowly. It was over the dream but his thoughts where still on the side of the canyon. How did this happen. How did it all just fade away? The dream came and went in an instant leaving his mind boggled and his eyes heavy. I knew I was there thought the man but how? It was all to familiar the thoughts of how it could happen and then suddenly be gone. If this ever happens again thought the man then all is clear that it was in fact a premonition perhaps it was totally nonsense. I in fact have dreamed that dream many times but it has never appeared so clearly. The clearer it became the more like life it was. How could something vivid come out of my imagination? There are several people who could tell me thought the man. He hopped out of bed and walked to the shower. He turned on the water. As if it where the beach the sounds of the shower soothed his mind and he started to become more himself. I wonder he thought what kind of adventure today will bring. He dropped his draws and stepped into the shower. As if it where on cue the phone rang. He spattered water all over as he ran to it and picked it up.

I need you in early said the voice on the other end. Realizing it was his boss he immediately tensed. I'll be there he exclaimed. The boss replied thank you and hung up. I'm a nobody he thought as he hustled back to the shower. He washed and dried and dressed. No time for coffee he thought as he hustled out the door. The air was crisp as he looked down at the ground as he hustled to his jeep. It was a grand Cherokee and it was one of his prize possessions. He liked the sleek feel of the jeep while driving and he hoped it showed prestige. As he drove down the road he couldn't help thinking this is the worst day of my life. His job review was today and on his resume he had lied about several jobs he had held in the past. He had trumped up his job skills beyond his ability and was sure it was fairly obvious. Today is going to suck he thought, tomorrow could be a lot worse. I found myself lying he thought and I knew it was a bad idea but I just needed this job. Well if I do get fired he thought which is probably inevitable this jeep this jeep is going to be the first thing to go. The thought of selling the jeep brought a tear to his left eye. Without it he was stranded and he knew with no transportation life was going to be a hell of a lot more difficult. As he pulled up to the office building he regained his composure and stepped out of the jeep. If I get son of a bitching fired he thought I'll kill myself. He was an office worker and his main tasks where data entry and clerical work. His field was a medical receptionist and he had said he was the mathematical equivalent of an accountant. He knew when given a task of balancing the office budget he was in trouble but he thought he might be able to muddle through it. He had told his boss the budget might be slightly beyond his skills but when pressured he agreed it could be done. Son of a bitch he thought why didn't I just tell him then that I wasn't good at accounting. He knew that by the time he sees this budget he was going to be reprimanded. I am an ass wipe he thought. He lumbered into the office and took his spot at the front desk. He knew he should announce his presence to his boss but he wasn't quite ready to face the music. Looking over his first time sheet for the previous week he remembered he also called in Thursday to make a doctors appointment he had in the middle of the day.

His boss was a tall man and he entered the lobby and greeted the man. Oh hi Seth. Can you come into my office please. Seth nodded. Ya sure thing Mike he stammered and climbed out of his chair. He made his way around a copier and through the door into his bosses office. Mike I know what your going to say Seth stammered. Mike raised a hand and brought a finger to his lips. Seth you are perfect for the receptionist position but your a lousy accountant. I know stammered Seth. Now what am I going to do about this says Mike. You wasted two weeks on this dribble and it is completely useless he exclaims tossing the budget onto his desk. I'm sorry stammers Seth. I'm sorry I have no choice but to let you go says Mike. I can't use you for multiple reasons. Seth feels his face getting flush. But Mike Seth exclaims. No buts says Mike now clean out your desk. Seth begins to sulk. OK Mike he says as he stumbles out the door. Pick up your last check with Sally on your way out he says. OK says Seth. He gets to his desk and he feels tears rolling down his face. This sucks he thought. Son of a bitch what do I do now? He looked down at his belongings and he started to whimper. I'm completely fucked he told himself. My life is over. He searched for something to place his things in. It was a stupid mistake he thought. I just needed a job so badly. He found a bag and started filling it with his stuff. What the fuck do I do he thought. I got to figure out something. I'm behind on rent. My car payments due and I have no food in my fridge. If I have to go on welfare I'll die. He had been on welfare one time before and he remembered the embarrassment of going into the welfare office and standing in line for his food stamps. Besides that he thought if they repossess my jeep I'm fucked. This is a fine mess. He looked for Sally who was not at her desk. He finally came upon her gorging herself at the snack machine. Hi Sally he said. Hi Seth she stammered. I just got fired Seth conveyed. Oh jeez Seth I'm sorry exclaimed Sally. Mike told me to pick up my last check he told her. Those checks won't be in until Monday she replied. I know Seth said looking down but I thought Mike might have gotten it here sooner. I'm afraid he must of forgot she said. Seth started crying and said ok can you mail it to me? Sure honey said Sally. You ok? Oh I'll be all right he said as he hurried away. As Seth clamored down the stairs he felt an odd sense of failure not because he had lost his job but of his ability to talk himself out of every situation. It seemed when he was younger he could get himself out of trouble by just lying and making himself look pitiful. His mother a very kind lady would often believe his stories or let him off the hook due to her feeling sorry for making him upset. Seth cleared his throat bundled himself up and hurried across the parking lot to his jeep. He felt the weight of the world on his shoulders.. He started the jeep and laid his head on the steering wheel. He sat there for what felt like eternity. Finally he lifted his head and started driving. Half way home his phone rang. It was Jason the superintendent of his apartment building. Oh hi Seth he said in a stern voice. I'm just calling because your late with your rent. I understand Seth said I was just going to call you. I'm going to need a few more weeks Seth said. That's fine said Jason but your already two weeks late and if you don't pay it by then I'm going to have to evict you. Ok said Seth. He hung up the phone and brushed aside another tear. God why does this always happen to me he thought. He pulled up to his building and pulled into his designated parking spot. He knew he needed to find another job and fast. Now what he thought as the phone rang. He answered it in a very hushed voice said oh hi Mom. Hi honey how are you? I'm good said Seth. Hows work? she asked. Woks work Seth said. Well said his mother I just wanted to remind you your father is in town this week and he wants to see you. Let me give you his number. Seth said one second as he searched through the draw in the kitchen for a pen. Ok go ahead said Seth. Its 509-831-540. Make sure you call him Seth. He really wants to see you. Ok Mom I will he said. He opened the door to the closet to hang up his coat. Honey is everything OK? his mother asked. Ya Mom everything's great he stammered. Seth said goodbye to his mother and sat staring at the number. He hadn't seen his father in 15 years. Not since he moved to Canada with his new wife. Well he thought better late than never. He crumpled the number and tossed it into the trash. That son of a bitch will hear from me when hell freezes over he thought. Seth went into his room and collapsed on the bed.

 

He was standing on the edge of a cliff. He looked as if he where a statue, two men had just fallen over the side. He was alone and shivering. The cold cut through him like a knife. What the fuck do I do raced through his mind. Do I jump? He felt an uncontrollable urge to race off the cliff into the canyon. He leaped. It was to late.

Seth jumped out of bed. Damn he thought what time is it? I fell asleep. He knew it was dark. He glanced at the clock. It read 7:07. Morning or night he wondered. He walked to the kitchen and rummaged through the cabinet. Holy shit he thought I slept for 14 hours. He found some ramen noodles and boiled some water. What the fuck is this dream he thought. The phone rang. He looked down but didn't see it. He rummaged around for it and found it on the table beneath a pile of unpaid bills. Hello he said. Hi Seth it's Dad said the voice on the other end. Oh hi Dad Seth said emphasizing the Dad sarcastically. Seth I'd like to get together said his father. Dad I'm really busy Seth exclaimed. What you don't have time for a cup of coffee? his father asked. Its not the coffee I don't have time for said Seth. Fine Seth I understand but I'm only in town for a couple of days and I was hoping to see you. Dad if you really wanted to see me you could have called me 15 years ago Seth screamed slamming the phone against the wall. He smiled. Maybe now he'll get the message he thought feeling very satisfied. You just don't walk out of someones life for 15 years and then try to walk right back in he thought. Anyway who needs him. I just need one thing and that's a job. He grabbed the paper off the table and started searching through the job section. He stumbled across a dish washing job and circled it. Well there's one possibility he thought. He kept looking. Not much else seemed plausible and he decided to call on the one possibility he did find. He dialed the phone feeling rejuvenated. Hi he said to the voice on the other end. I'm calling about the dishwasher position. It's taken said the person. Son of a bitch he thought now what I'll have to go to the welfare office tomorrow he pondered. He couldn't sleep. Thoughts of a rescue raced through his mind. If I rescue myself from this I don't see how he thought. Now who's that leave? His mother he thought who was a chambermaid at a small hotel three towns over was in no position to help him. She could barely afford the one room shack she rented. His thoughts raced back to his father. Maybe he would help me he thought. The idea was ludicrous his father had walked out on him and his mother 15 years ago and not even bothered to call. An occasional letter would show up but they where always short with a note about how wonderful Canada was and how much he missed him. His father had called only once the day he graduated from high school. He said way to go kid you'll go far. It hadn't meant a lot to him at the time. His grandparents where all dead and his only uncle he had never spoke to. Ya he was going to have to figure a way out of this on his own.

Well it hadn't been the first time he had needed help and couldn't count on anybody. He practically raised himself since he was three. Dad was always off floozing it up with some bimbo while mom was working her tail off at some crummy job. Boy now that he was on his own he had a better life as far as amenities went. His one bedroom apartment complete with it's own eatery was well equipped. He had a nice sound system with a dual cd player and very loud speakers. Also in the form of entertainment he had an LCD television he rarely watched. He spent most of his time lounging by the computer searching through numerous ads for jobs and better apartments. Occasionally he would skim through the personals looking for an enticing beauty to spend time with. His last girlfriend dumped him when he couldn't satisfy her needs for material prosperity. It was a shot he couldn't believe. He always thought she was happy come to find out she was already looking to start a family and she had said she needed somebody with more financial stability. He knew it was coming when he found her crying the day before about the rent being late and the unpaid bills piling up on the counter. Her job at a convenience store and his lack of financial welfare where not enough to raise a family on. He wondered where she was right now. His thoughts turned to the passionate nights they had shared. How many times she had told him she loved him only to desert him.

Woman and him didn't seem to mix. His earlier high school days had been shattered by at least four relationships that didn't work out. It was always the same thing. They didn't like his non-controlled unorganized lifestyle and the way he thought of his future. Many of them had already discovered what they where to be how many kids they wanted and what they where going to want out of life. He was reckless and careless in their eyes. To many times he had ditched school to play pool with his friends at the local pool hall. He didn't care much for studies. Never had and never would he thought. He had never been a hustler but always wanted to be. The excitement that came when hustling a game of pool was intrinsic to him. He had watched many of the hustlers and had felt the rush of adrenaline as they had beaten their opponent and collected their quickly made cash. It was an art he had tried to learn but just couldn't seem to grasp the concept. Many of his friends also tried occasionally to hustle a game of pool to often in the end to realize that they had tried to beat the better player. Often hustlers will out hustle other players even when the player believes it is he who is doing the hustling. Losing money was not his forte so he had decided long ago to try and choose a more comfortable direction is which to earn his money.

Many people worshiped Seth at the pool hall due to his ability to stop by and bring his friends a friend they had not seen in a long time. He knew all he had to do was show up and he was an instant celebrity. God how he missed those days lounging around the hall with his friends. Talking about girls and sipping pale ale. We wanted everything to do with it but yet he wanted nothing to do with it. God damn he thought those where the days. It was all to often he found himself reminiscing about those days. If only one could turn back the clock he thought then I could relive my youth. Wow what a thought. The older I get the funnier it seems he thought.

Today could be the day I give in grab the old cue and go shoot a game or two thought Seth. Ah better not,to go there means to entice myself with that whole scene again. That means the chalk the cue and the drugs. The drugs that was the problem. Everybody at the pool hall used drugs. From the lucid marijuana cigarette to the high end smack or coke that could really rip your world apart. He new enough to stay away from the hard drugs even as a kid but dabble in the lighter stuff like the weed and coke. Eons had passed since he touched either or and he had no intention of backsliding. One sniff of the white stuff could cost him a week in a rehab. Las time he had sworn off drugs it took him months to get over the urges that accompany any habitual drug use. Time and time again he had thought drug use would encompass his life for only a moment and it ha lasted a term longer than any man could handle and stay on an even keel. To Seth the thought of a relapse was scarier than even the thought of homelessness and even starvation which had also faced several times throughout his life as an adolescent. Today is not the day to tempt temptation he thought. I got to pull it together and find a way to get through this he thought. Today was the last time this was gonna happen he vowed. I can't let the life of the old bring me back to falling into a stupor of stupidity. I won't let it he thought. Today I will put the past to rest forever he vowed. Do not let it bring you down again he told himself. Do not bring a page from the old book and insert it into the new you. When you do that your doomed to repeat the same story over and over again. Don't let it stay in your mind. Put it out now and don't let it creep back into your thoughts. Your mind is a temple that must remain uncontaminated by temptation. Please God help me remain sober throughout my life and help me maintain my sobriety. He took a breath. Today I need to bring myself to remain sober and tomorrow will take care of itself he said. He listened to his own breathing for a minute stood up and smiled. He felt better already. Sobriety was important to him and he knew above all else is he could stay sober things would turn around for him. Life throws curve balls a lot he thought. Just hang in there he told himself things will get better. Today he told himself was a bad day tomorrow could change everything. I could walk into something great he told himself just give yourself a chance to turn this around he thought. I need a drink creeped into his mind and he hopped out of bed and grabbed his pool stick. He hustled down the stairs and into his jeep. He drove the way to the local pool hall and pulled up outside. What do I have to live for anyway he told himself. God if God wanted me to be a straight arrow he would have given me a better life.

He shut off the engine and grabbed the stick opened the door and stepped out. The first sound he heard was a hoarse whisper. Never thought I would see you around here again my friend. Under the sign he noticed a man smoking. Not being able to see who it was Seth motioned for the man to move closer. Who's that? He replied. It's me Randy said the voice. Oh Jesus said Seth. Its been a long time Randy. It sure the hell has said Randy. Where the fuck you been? Asked Randy. Living up town said Seth trying to get my life in order. How'd you do? Replied Randy. Pretty shitty said Seth. Sorry to hear that man said Randy laughing. I guess your doomed to fail like the rest of us. I guess so laughed Seth. Well should we go in said Randy stomping out his butt. Might as well said Seth. Lead the way. As they walked in through the door the room erupted. Seth somebody screamed. Seth smiled instant celebrity status. This is the way it ought to be he thought. Shining through the room the lights from a flat screen TV flickered. Two people strode over to him big crooked smiles on their faces. Well I'll be said the first one. No kidding said the second. In the flesh said the third. That really is you said another. Ya it's really me replied Seth, good to see you. Ya it's good to see you too said the first grabbing Seth around the shoulders. Come on lets talk he said and led Seth to a table.

Seth sat on the left next to a machine that sold lottery tickets. How the hell you been? said his friend. I been ok. said Seth. How's everything with you? Not bad. said his friend. I missed you man. I missed you to. said Seth. He was talking to his friend since high school Bart Arod. You can't imagine whats changed around around here said Bart. Whats that? replied Seth. The owner Benny died said Bart. Benny died? Asked Seth. Heart attack said Bart. That's predictable said Seth. I could have pin pointed the cause 12 years ago. Ya I guess you could have said Bart. Hey you want a beer? he asked Seth. I thought you'd never ask Seth replied. He could feel the animosity building up as he surveyed the room. He saw about 15 people he knew and a few he didn't know. Its been a long time he thought. A real long time. Benny the previous owner had been a big man, almost 350 but had still managed to come in at least once a week and vacuum. This place looked like it hadn't been vacuumed in months. Good ole Benny he thought rest in peace.

Bart returned to the table with two large mugs of beer. To the average person it would look like enough of a glass to bring a drunken stupor to most but to Seth it looked like just a morsel of the amount he would consume in an average night at the oasis to him and his friend known as the bender. They often referred to Benny's as benders. The two had spent many nights talking and drinking in that same booth. Seth thought man as I grow old the old man grows cold. Benny had been like a father to him. Letting him drink and play pool long past closing time. Benny would often ask Seth for a hand cleaning up in exchange. The two had dreamed together many days and talked of the life's they would never have. To Seth Benny was a god. A man who had to him in his younger days seemed to have all that any man could ask. Benny had once told Seth “its not what you have that counts it's who you share it with that makes a difference.” . Seth at the time had thought those words of wisdom where some of the smartest words he had ever heard spoken. Ya Ben here's to ya he thought as he lifted the beverage to his lips and drank. He finished the beer in 6 big gulps and said to Bart “how about another friend?. “Sure thing.” said Bart and made his way toward the bar. Good old Seth Bart thought he sure knew how to party. He threw a coin in the jute box and played Foxy Lady. He knew it was one of Seth's favorites. It felt good to see his friend. He had feared Seth would never return. It had been seven years since he'd seen him. Seth had been one of his true friends throughout high school. More loyal than anybody in the world. When it came to be able to count on somebody he knew he could count on Seth. His absence had left Bart feeling hollow and he himself had started wondering if it was time to move on. People came and went but Bart had lingered on as a regular patron of Benny's due to his inability to grasp the concept of not returning and leaving behind everyone he had known practically his whole life. To Bart people he knew meant more to him than money or material prosperity. A good friend he thought is worth more than any amount of money and was irreplaceable. Seth was one of the best friends he had ever had and through thick and thin Bart knew Seth would never desert him. Until one day he did. It was a sunny day and Bart was laying on the sand at the town lake. Seth was standing on the shore starring out at the water. He had noticed Seth had been talking differently lately. He had been saying how he was going to get his life together. He had had enough of the hard partying and the lazy days of hanging out at the pool hall. He wanted a life free from the drugs and the booze. He wanted a wife a kid and a house in the suburbs. “That's all good” said Bart at the time “but your not cut out for the quite life” he had told him. “You gotta be where the action is.” “What action?” said Seth. “hanging out here with you?”. “Shooting pool at Benny's?” “Nothing ever changes.” said Seth. He had left that night for the east coast and had never came back. Must have been some trip thought Bart. He returned to the table with the beer and said “ so Seth whats new?”. “Nothing much but what's new with you?” said Seth. “I told you Benny died?” said Bart. “Ya you told me.” said Seth. “When did this happen?” “Last month.” said Bart. “The whole town was at the funeral.” “Sorry I missed it.” said Seth. “I bet you are” said Bart. He knew Benny had a soft spot for Seth. He had often said Seth was like his own kid. He knew Seth's father had left when Seth was young and he tried to be still upon Seth some of his life's wisdom. Seth on the other hand never left Benny's side when Benny was present at the pool hall. He liked the notoriety he received being Benny's best friend. Many people called him little Benny in Benny's absence due to Seth's always picking up and trying to maintain order. Good ole Benny thought Bart. The guy was a legend around the pool hall and everybody knew when it came to pool there was only one Benndino. He could out shoot anyone he had ever seen and even the old pro's swore he was the best. Can't beat him they would always say and whenever some hot shot thought he was the best they would say play that guy and then tell me who is the best. They all fell to Benny. The guy was top notch thought Bart.

“ Well you want to shoot a game?” said Seth. “Nah” said Bart. “I'm tired of pool”. “Why do you?”. “That's why I came.” said Seth pointing to his stick. “Well have at it.”said Bart. “I'll watch from here.” “Ok” said Seth grabbing the stick and plopping out of the booth. He walked to a vacant table and grabbed a rack. He started racking balls. A voice from behind him said “I'll play you Seth” It was Rusty. “You break” said Seth. “Sure” said Rusty. He chalked up his stick and screwed the cue ball into the felt on the table, a practice Rusty hated. It ruined the felt but it was a ritual. He slammed the ball into the multi-colored triangle and watched as the balls sprang across the table. “Nice break” said Seth as he carefully chose his shot. He sank the seven ball in the side pocket and said “I'm solids”. “Noted” said Rusty. Seth shot in three more balls before he missed. Rusty whistled and said “I can see your out of practice.”. “Sure am” said Seth. “Sure am”. Rusty cleared the table and smiled. “Nice game” he said. “Sure nice game” said Seth. He felt miserable all of a sudden. Why did I come here he thought. This place hasn't changed in ten years. Same old faces he thought. “Yo Rusty” he said “how about a rematch?” “Sure” Rusty said and started racking the balls. Damn Seth thought I used to be able to kick Rusty's but. That's one thing that's different. Good for you he thought you finally learned a solid bank shot Rusty, good for you. He screwed in the cue ball and slapped it hard towards the triangle. He sunk a striped ball and said “stripes”. “Gotcha” said Rusty. He looked on as Seth cleared the table. Not bad Rusty thought. “I'm sure you couldn't have done that without that nice cue your using.” “Probably not.” said Seth. The stick was a masterpiece of mahogany it had cost him six hundred bucks and was one of his prize possessions. No matter what he knew to play a good game you had to have a good stick. “I bought this at Barrbaras” he said. “I know” said Rusty “I've seen it before”. Rusty was shooting with a house cue and it was slightly bowed at the tip. “Try shooting that good a game with one of these.” he said. “Sure” said Seth. He knew his game would suffer with a house cue but figured if Rusty was using a house cue then he would too. He picked up a cue off the wall and rolled it on the table. Satisfied he motioned Rusty back to the table who had staggered to the table to talk to Bart. “I'm ready” said Seth. “You wanna break?” “Nah you go ahead” said Rusty and clambered back over to Bart. The two where talking in hushed tones leaning over onto the table. Rusty was pointing toward Seth and saying something he couldn't hear. That's ok thought Seth let them talk. It doesn't bother me none. He had known Rusty almost as long as he's known Seth. Neither shared any love for the other but still maintained a mutual respect. Rusty had been one of the reasons Seth had not returned to the pool hall. His cocky manor and bad attitude where a major turn off to Seth. Seth had once told Bart that Rusty was a major tool and his lack of respect for his friends would be his downfall. In time you will get used to him said Bart. He was one of Rusty's supporters. Seth to this day could barely tolerate him. He racked the balls and broke the triangle and waited for Rusty who was still talking to Bart. He finished his conversation and ambled back to the table to take his shot. “Bart Tells me you been living up town” said Rusty. “That's right” said Seth and watched as Rusty cleared the table. “Nice work.” said Seth “you wanna play another?” “Ya why not?” said Rusty. “I got time to play a lot of games if you want.” He started raking balls and looked at Seth. “Where ya been anyway?” said Rusty. “Not far.” said Seth. “I told you I been living up town.” “ I know what you said.” said Rusty “but I haven't seen you in dam near seven years” “I know” said Seth. Rather than get into his reasons for staying away he said “I been busy.” “Busy doing what?” said Rusty. “Working.” said Seth. “Where do you work?” said Rusty. “Nowhere” said Seth “They let me go this morning.” “That sucks” said Rusty. “I knew it was coming” said Seth . “Well what where you doing?” said Rusty. “I was an accountant” said Seth. “Really?” said Rusty. “I never figured you for an accountant type”. “There's probably a lot of things you don't figure about me” said Seth. “You will find out I'm full of surprises”. “I bet you are” said Rusty and looked threateningly at Seth. Seth knew the look well. He had tangled with Rusty before. Rusty was always looking for a fight and it didn't look like much had changed over the years. Seth on the other hand would rather avoid conflict. He had spent a lifetime backing down from Rusty. This occasion was no different. He smiled at Rusty and said “so what else is new around here Rusty? “Nothing much” said Rusty cooling his jets. He looked down “Benny died” “I heard” said Seth. “Ya I figured you probably did”. said Rusty. “Bart just told me” said Seth. “He was a good man.” said Rusty. “That he was.” said Seth.

He was on the edge of a cliff. His thoughts raced. He knew it was a futile battle. He succumbed to the urge he leap-t.

Seth sat up. It was night. Two days ago he had been on top of the world. Now it seemed his world was crashing down around him. He had knew it was a mistake to go to the pool hall. A night of meaningless drinking swearing and pool shooting had done nothing for him. It just established in his own mind his reasons for not going back. Rusty was still an asshole Bart was still a drunk an Benny's was still a dump. Back to the grind Seth thought. He opened the fridge grabbed a coke and sipped it slowly. What the fuck am I gonna do he thought. If I don't find a job I'm screwed. He grabbed the paper. The same job he had circled earlier gleamed out. What the fuck is this he said. Assembly read the ad. Ok said Seth. I'm good at assembling things. He grabbed the phone and dialed. “Hi” he said to the voice on the other end. “I'm calling about the assembly position.” “Hang on said the voice” “Gary” he heard the voice say “Its about the job.” “its taken” he heard the person say and the phone hung up. Son of a bitch thought Seth I got to find something. He knew he was in a tough boat. No job, no money and an ever looming debt that keeps growing. Damn Seth thought why does everything have to be so difficult. Life used to be easy. Now it was impossible. Seth knew there was one hope. He hoped to find a job by Thursday allowing him to pay his rent by the following week and therefore avoiding eviction. He knew if he didn't have the money by then eviction was immanent. He hoped there was hope failure seemed likely and his spirits where low as he dialed another number. “Hi I am calling about the pesticide position.” Seth said. “Do you have pesticide experience?” Said the person on the other end. “No” said Seth “but the ad says willing to train.” We have twenty-seven applicants, many who have experience.” said the person. “I understand said Seth “thanks for your time” he said and he hung up. This is crazy thought Seth. Every job is either taken or has so many more qualified applicants. “I'm never gonna find a job” he mumbled. Instead I'll get evicted and have to move home with my Mom if she'll have me he thought. Their relationship had been a rocky one up until the days he had moved out. His mother had been very disappointed about his past failures in school, his lack of commitment to his studies and most of all his frequenting the pool hall. His mother who had been a chambermaid most of her adult life had wanted more for Seth. She had tried to instill in him her own values and virtues. Seth who had been resilient in becoming a successful student had often received tongue lashings for forgetting to do his homework, failure to perform on tests and ditching school entirely. Seth regretted his lackadaisical approach to school in his earlier days and wished he had taken his studies more seriously. He said if he could do it all over he would concentrate more on his school work and less time hanging around with friends. Seth knew his mother was right and he resented his attitude toward her when she would pester him to take school seriously. Seth knew his relationship with his mother would never recover. He had once told her to “leave him the fuck alone”. Then he had meant what he said but today he regretted his attitude and resented himself to the high heavens for ever speaking those words. His mother was a good person who meant well. To her he had chosen the wrong direction in life and she had told him once “She didn't have the time or the energy to try and change him.” They still talked but he knew she was disappointed in him. He had tried to show here he had changed but it often felt like to little to late. Even so he knew if his landlord threw him out he could count on her for a place to sleep and food to eat. Good old Mom he thought. God bless her soul. Seth waited five minutes for the coffee to brew. He made a cup and added sweetener. Its all to easy to easy he thought to give up and run home to Mom than to look for a job. He grabbed the paper and circled another job. Well if I do find a job I can always find a new apartment he thought. If I lived here until the end of the month and moved out of the city I could probably save some money.

Seth looked through the paper or another job prospect. If I don't find something I know what I'm gonna do he thought. I'll go to the pool hall and hustle pool all day. He laughed at the absurdity of the thought. When he was young it seemed possible almost plausible, now the thought was so ironic that he actually laughed at the notion. Ya me hustle pool he thought. That's a good one. Any good pool hustler knows to hustle pool you need to be an unknown and I know everybody in that joint. Besides that thought Seth I'm not really good enough to hustle pool. I would lose my shirt in even the remotest of pool halls. He knew that a hustler was the least person you would suspect to be able to shoot pool and often trying to hustle a game of pool resulted in being hustled by a better hustler. To be the best took years of non-stop practice but alas thought Seth no matter how good there was always somebody better. I knew Seth thought if I tried to hustle the wrong person I was at risk to lose a lot of money and I still fell for the act of Jake and Seth. Those two worked me over like I was a first class fool Seth thought. Seth came in acting stupid and I took him for a hustler. When we started playing in walks Jake and starts making fun of Seth. I thought he was trying to challenge him to a game so I said I'll step aside and let you two play. When they had played he had looked on. As he assumed Seth won every game. Seeing an opportunity he waited until the game was over and asked Jake for a game. Jake looking sheepishly hesitantly agreed. Seth said “care to make a wager?” Seemingly flushed with cash Jake reluctantly agreed. By the third game he knew he had been hustled. It cost him six hundred bucks to learn a valuable lesson. Be the best or stay home. A hustler lurks in every pool hall and only the best survived. He had tried to be the best to no avail. He found out it takes more than practice to be the best it also takes an understanding of human nature to be successful as a pool hustler. He had wanted to hustle pool but knew he didn't have what it takes. Disappointed he realized pool shark was not in his future. There's got to be something I can do Seth thought. He planned to go business to business tomorrow filling out application after application. Maybe something will turn up Seth thought. He wanted to go to bed but did not feel tired. He stared out the window for several hours watching the scene on the corner directly adjacent his apartment. He noticed several people leave the building and head across the street to the package store. Feeling a twinge deep down he felt the urge to go down to the pool hall and have a couple beers. Not much else to do he thought on a night like this. He watched as cars came and went through the intersection. Suddenly feeling like a caged animal Seth looked around for his pool stick. Realizing he must have left it in the jeep he grabbed his jacket and headed out. He was three miles from his house when he started having second thoughts. The rumble of the jeeps engine soothed his mind as he drove.

Today will be the first day of my life he thought. Who needs Benny's or any of those assholes. I can do fine all on my own. Life's a destination not a journey or actually the other way around he thought. I'm as close to an epiphany as I can get he realized as he turned the jeep around. The only thing I have going for me is my wits and I better keep them safe and sound for now he thought. Someday I will look back on all this and laugh he said to himself with as much confidence as he could muster. Today is the day. The day that changed it all. He had been thinking to himself almost in a trance. He suddenly realized he was driving in the wrong direction on the wrong side of the road. The jeep veered out of control as he jerked the wheel to the left to avoid an oncoming car. Son of a bitch thought Seth moments before he slammed into the guard rail.

He looked at what was left of his jeep. The damage was bad. The right front fender was crumpled inward and the tire was bent inward. Just great he thought this jeep won't even make it home. He sat on the side of the road waiting for the tow truck. Mother fucker he thought this is all I fucking need. He thought about his predicament. A tow was not gonna be cheap. He checked his wallet. Eighty nine dollars and nothing in the bank. Wonderful he thought just wonderful. The tow truck got there in less than an hour. A fat guy lumbered out. “Hi” he said. “Hi” said Seth. “Sorry about your jeep” he said. “ Ya it totally sucks” said Seth. “Well lets get it hooked up” he said and he was back in the truck moving it into position. He nodded at Seth and Seth got into the jeep and turned the wheel. He heard a thump and felt the front of the jeep rising. He got out and the driver got out and hooked up the chains. “Where to?” he said Seth gave him the address and climbed into the front of the truck.

They drove for about an hour and stopped in front of Seth's building. “How much do I owe you” asked Seth. “Hundred bucks” said the driver. Seth could feel his face getting flush. “I only have eighty nine dollars” he said. “Well if that's all you got then that's all you got” said the driver. Seth dug out his wallet and handed over the cash. “Thanks” he said. “Your welcome” said the driver. He lowered the jeep and unhooked it. Seth waved and he drove off. Great he thought I am so fucked. He went up to his apartment and collapsed on the couch. How the hell did this happen he thought. He laid there for what seemed like hours pondering what to do. He decided to call the insurance company he had for the jeep. He looked up the number online and dialed. “Hi” he said. “Hi” said the voice on the other end. “I got in accident with my jeep” Seth said. “Who was involved?” ask the rep. “Just me” said Seth. “What happened” ask the rep. “I ah.. hit the guard rail” said Seth. “What caused you to do that” said the rep. “I ah.. fell asleep” said Seth. “Ok” said the rep. Let me check you coverage. There was a brief pause and then the rep said “I see you have compulsory insurance, no collision”. “What?” said Seth. He had remembered he had only put compulsory insurance on the jeep but he was hoping they would make an exception. “That's right said the rep compulsory only no collision. That's great thought Seth and he threw the phone across the room. I can't believe the jeep isn't covered he thought god damn am I screwed. I guess I'm walking he thought. I just really can't believe this.

He woke up early and started planning out his day. First things first he thought I need to figure out how I'm going to get around. He knew the bus schedule so he thought that's gonna have to be the answer. Depending on public transportation was such a nuisance that he couldn't stand the thought of it. The buses ran on an hourly schedule so waiting at the bus stop for an hour for the next bus was annoying and a extreme waste of time. It takes forever to get anywhere he thought but I don't see how I have any choice. He gathered up what strength he could muster dropped his coffee cup in the sink grabbed his jacket and strode out the door. His first stop was going to be a car lot where they might be looking for a lot attendant. Somebody to wash cars and move things around. Perfect he thought if they just hire me on the spot. I can't afford to wait a month to find out if I got the job or not. I need something fast. He strode into the dealership and asked for a job application. “Where not hiring said the manager” “Ok” said Seth and left the same way he came in. Where to next he thought. He walked about a half mile down the road and he saw what looked to be a coffee shop. What the hell he thought can't hurt any. He walked in through the front door and greeted the man behind the counter. “Hi” he said. “I would like a job application” The man looked sternly at Seth and reached under the counter and pulled out a piece of paper that looked crumpled and old. “Here ya go” he said. “Thanks”. Seth said and he wandered over to one of the tables to fill it out. He wrote his name past job experience and his phone number. He looked it over decided it was correct and handed it back to the man. “Ok” said the man “if we need anybody we'll call you”. “Thanks” said Seth. Decided that was it and turned around to walk out. “You have any experience” the man asked. “In coffee?” asked Seth. “In waiting on customers.” said the man. “No not really” said Seth. The man looked at him and said well we could use somebody second shift twelve to nine Monday through Friday. “That would be great” said Seth. Ok said the man “you can start tomorrow afternoon”. “I'll be here” said Seth. “Don't be late” said the man. Seth walked out of the coffee shop and felt reinvigorated. He had done it. He ha found a job and it starts tomorrow. Wonderful he thought. This could be the beginning of a whole new life for me he thought.

 

 

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