Imagination Points for All!

As the self-defined Arts Czar of the Ozone office – I have a handmade sign that dentoes  me as the “CZARTS” – I am in charge of finding or establishing venues to expand our student’s cultural boundaries. The Walton Arts Center has a wonderful tickets-for-nonprofits program, and partnering with them I sent fifty kids and fourteen of our volunteers to see Shrek the Musical on Halloween. I myself could not go but I was in raptures about how clever my idea was.

The next day, the directors who chaperoned told me that one of the show-stopping numbers was titled, “Let Your Freak Flag Fly” and as we are guiding young students through the moral decisions of life, and thusly “Freak Flags” are not something we want to encourage, I am to refer all my further event planning to my immediate superiors for consideration.

I couldn’t see Shrek because I had been conscripted as the DJ for Ozone’s other Halloween party, Streetfest, which was a community block part for east Springdale. Area families were treated to various carnival games, free food and many giveaways. An all around good time. My speakers were not so powerful; though my music was well-heard, my announcements were muffled and my spontaneous competitions were under-attended. I repeatedly offered shirts to the first kid who could take a picture with Gandalf, the Subway Sandwich, Captain America, an alien, et cetera. The same two boys went home with like four shirts a piece.

That very much informed the way I spoke. I kept welcoming people to Streetfest 2035 and announcing for people to act normal because we were being watched. No one ever commented, for good or ill. In fact, the only time I got results was at a juncture where I wish I had none.

Several families camped by the DJ stand to eat. With nothing else to do, I danced by myself and was often joined by the small children that waited for their parents to finish dinner. I had so many (three) kids do this that I was inspired with a blessed idea.

“ATTENTION!” I yelled into the microphone. “We are having a toddler dance competition at the DJ stand. So you think your toddler can dance? Why don’t you prove it!”

I smiled at my own cleverness and picked the next song, nearly forgetting what I said, much like most of my announcements. However, halfway through the next song I noticed not one but eight little two-year-old girls holding their mothers hands and staring at me.

“I, uh -” I tried to improvise. “LET’S DO THIS!”

What I noticed during the song was not so much the confused hoola-hooping the toddlers were attempting to associate with dance, but the stares of the mothers, focused on me and filled with expectation. They seemed to be saying, “This could be the break we’ve been waiting for.”

In the end, I had to disappoint them. I didn’t have any shirts small enough to give to a winner, if there was one. I think I would’ve picked the purple princess because she seemed to be most aware of what she was doing. But having nothing to give out, I was grasping at ghost straws. Tentatively, I took the microphone. “That was so awesome. I want you all to hold out your hand.” The girls did. “Now receive an imagination point!”

Needless to say, the parents left having lost a lot of respect for me.

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Welcome Back to Camp!

I like to blog because funny things happen. I must tell someone. However, working at a summer camp introduces new difficulties. The camp-cultural background required to appreciate what these kids say and do, as well as the legal restrictions of privacy and concerns about context create obstacles in the way of making people laugh. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t laughed in July.

I, at the bottom right, practice a camp skit called the “Rocking Car.” It’s performed once every session. I just drove the car for the thirtieth time. It always ends the same way.

For two weeks, all summer staff at camp played a game of Assassins. You receive a water pistol and a secret target, and you spend your off-time trying to assassinate him or her, just as someone is secretly after you. In my six summers at War Eagle I have never made a kill. So when I was the first male killed out of a hundred and fifty males, I was unphased. As heavy footsteps sounded behind me, I thought, “Of course this happens to me.”

My wife Holly, however, chose to take the game seriously this year. She killed four targets before bowing out because of a possible rules infraction (she had rifled through someone’s luggage, looking for car keys so she could hide in the back of the target’s Civic). At one point she spent the two hours between 10 p.m. and midnight hiding under the bunk of a victim because her target locked the cabin at night.

I wrote a novel during fifth session, in outline form. Black pen marks cover the front and back of 22 pages of computer paper. My superiors were curious why I did so much paper work. It’s about a man from the future who falls into a portal, transporting him to a more medieval time, a la A Connecticut Yankee… or Timeline. All the characters have last names taken from campers in the cabins that I managed: Mondragon, Goforth, Overturf. Look no further than the real world for fantasy.

I like portal stories. I think it fulfills my own daydreams and fantasies.

I also drew several maps of the magical land. And invented a language. Tevwoshi-Elvish. “Ma’fest mish” – I go to death, as Skillian Underturf, the grizzled old dwarf says. The language itself has only one parsed tense and relies on prefixes to denote time or objectivity. It also has no prepositions, which I appreciate. Sometimes prepositions overwhelm me.

There’s only one week of camp left before I start my new job working for Ozone, War Eagle’s year-round outreach program. I will be a city director in Rogers, maintaining the camp experience all year for any attending kids. And at club, announcements will be in English and Tevwoshi-Elvish both.

The Cove Monster, Part II

Last week we drained the cove to find no monster; we did find several pairs of prescription glasses and a dump truck’s worth of dead congealed leaves. Earlier this week I watched with half-interest as a outside sub-contracting crew came in to powerwash the black rubber liner. All the leaves and dried algae were pushed into a big pile at the very bottom of the Cove, thirty feet below the original water level. How will they get that out? I wondered. Little did I know.

On Thursday I was given a plastic snow shovel and told to descend into the pit. The drying pieces of the Black Lagoon needed to be pushed towards the yard-wide drain where a small firehose would wash it away. I asked why my shovel was plastic and my boss Rob told me that we couldn’t risk ripping the black rubber liner – it was worth more than my life. When I laughed, he said it was tens of thousands of dollars. I’m only worth about eight hundred. That’s what my parents told me.

Working at the bottom of the black-lined Cove felt like I was standing in the center of one of those mirror-filled solar farms that harvest the sun in Africa. As I feebly kicked and pushed my plastic shovel inches deeper into the black, bad smelling muck, I lost track of what was sweat and what was intelligent bacteria eating away at my skin. We were probably breeding super viruses down there. It was like the tar pit that ate Tyrannosaurus Rexes.

After a while my nose became numb. I was wearing slick black gloves made of decomposed autumn leaves and snake flesh. And whenever Rob appeared on the Cove docks, thirty feet above me, I’d yell, “PHARAOH – LET MY PEOPLE GO!” He didn’t, but the craft lady Karen brought me some orange juice.

It took a few hours to push that mud smoothie out of the drain. When I finished, I was covered in foul slush and I knew the perfect place to hide a body. And as I climbed the black tarp back to dry land, Rob told me he had a new job for me. Resigned, I trudged after him until we reached fast running water. “The waterslides were just waxed and painted,” Rob said. “I need someone to try them out.”

Without any forethought I happily jumped out of my shirt and threw myself down the twisted half-pipe, the first slider of the new season. When I finally crashed into the slide pond with joyful speed, I burst out of the water without any mud on my skin.

Instead, my arms and face were covered in white paint.

Spring Break Ruined Forever

On the maintenance crew, there is no spring break. I know – no rest for the wiccan. Seriously, my coven meets twice a week now. In fact, we receive the opposite of a spring break: an influx of migrant workers. Counselors and summer staff who don’t have spring break plans can live and work at camp for a week and earn a fat check that they can use as a down payment on a small television. Plus, all the sandwich meat they can eat.

We remulch camp every year; how much changes on wear and tear. There was a lot of wearing and tearing this past year. We brought in eight truck trailers full of mulch and dumped them in twelve foot piles around camp. Watching these big rigs navigate camp foot paths was like watching Ice Truckers, but instead of slipping on ice and dying of a bad case of the crash, the camp director followed them and yelled “DON’T DRIVE ON THE GRASS, YOU FOOLS! THE GRASS!”

Since I’m one of two maintenance workers with the spring left in my step, I was put in charge of the migrant workers. I was given a list of everything that needed to be done in the week. It said, in sharpie, “MULCH.” Also, there was a pencil footnote for dinner.

And then it rained all week.

The first two days weren’t so bad because there were jobs left to do. I gave the workers dust masks and toilet brushes and told them to scrub the cabin fans. These fans are the only air circulation that campers receive and they haven’t been cleaned since they were manufactured. I think one of the workers got the black lung during this job.

After that it was a downward spiral. Since so much emphasis was put on the mulch, we hadn’t prepared much else. We spread mulch when we could. My definition of “not raining” changed a lot that week; it went from, “Wow, doesn’t the sun feel great,” to “Pretend it’s a heavy fog and you’re sweating like crazy.” Still, we didn’t accomplish half of what was planned.

And then came the kitchen. Scraping the bottom of the barrel of monkeys for another under-a-roof job, I went to Roberta the Lunch Lady. Roberta has worked at camp for many years and we maintain a designated smoking area just for her. She makes great desserts; last fall she pumped out this caramel and graham cracker concoction. When I asked how to make it, she said, “First, boil Eagle Bran Milk.” I asked how many cans I had to open, and she said, “No – boil the whole can and fish it out with tongs.” The metal adds to the flavor.

With the rain outside, Roberta provided us hours of interactive fun, scraping bugs out of fluorescent lights and killing 99.9% of bacteria. She even trapped me – since I was in management mode, I was traveling job site to site to check on workers. She caught me sneaking out the back door and gave me a water hose. “Spray the dish pit,” she said. All of it? Of course, all of it.

There are a surprising amount of electronics in the dish pit. Besides light sockets and breaker boxes, there are many moving parts in that dish washer. After summoning the courage to make mistakes, I pulled the trigger on my hose and led the first stream right into a light switch. It immediately started smoking. Like Roberta.

The next few minutes I proceeded to explore the switch with all five senses, trying to estimate how much of my pay would go towards fixing it. When Juan, the grizzled maintenance veteran, passed by, I called out. “Is this broken? Or just smoking?” He shrugged and reached out to touch the switch. When he flipped it, his body began seizing and shaking.

He waited until after I yelled for help to laugh at me. “Juan,” I said, “We are not good enough friends to pull pranks on each other.” And as he walked away sadly I said, “Psych! I just got you so good!”

Assignment: Town Run

This past week I’ve had a cornucopia of jobs. I dismantled and reassembled the fence around the pool, replacing boards and repainting posts and stretching chain link. It has a lot of spring and gusto if you pull it, though it takes a lot of force. We had to use a truck wench when my red, seizuring fingers gave out.

I also dug up a septic tank that I had planted a few weeks before. As our backhoe dug several trenches, I climbed down into the hole with rubber boots on and used my shovel to chase away the dirt around the mole mansion like an archaeologist brushing free a smelly raptor rib cage. After a few lunches full of backhoe horror stories (it can split a car in half, I once saw it take off a man’s arm, it never sleeps) I had learned to keep a wide birth around the machine monster. In the hole, however, there was nowhere to go. Whenever the bucket came down I felt like I was dodging a brontosaurus eating leaves out of my treehouse. Rob the driver must’ve noticed, because he turned off the machine to shout, “I’m not going to hurt you!”

The most coveted job, however, is the town run. Since camp is 45 minutes away from civilization as the iron horse gallops, we have no easy way to resupply. Every two weeks or so a van is sent into town for bar and chain oil, welding sticks, rare metal bolts and once a funny hat for someone’s birthday. Because of travel time, the town run usually takes several hours and camp pays for lunch. The maintenance crew is practically sponsored by King Burrito.

We’ve been taking inventory in preparation for the summer, when product consumption will go up infinity-fold. The buying is starting to take place, which results in some lop-sided town run lists. I will not deny the thrill in entering a Wal-Mart riding a cart like a chariot pulled by polar bears, announcing, “All your plungers belong to me!”, but you can only visit so many Wal-Marts before you realize that you may never accumulate forty-five plungers, double or single cup.

Days like today I return to camp with unfulfilled orders and hope that my boss is content with ten bottles of drano and the rest of the hornet and wasp spray off the shelves of Garner’s Building Supply. More plungers forthcoming. But I did get a half hour at King Burrito, along with three Dr. Pepper refills despite the entirely Spanish laminated sign that I’m pretty sure says, “No Refills.”

There’s one place I’m not allowed to go. Everett-Maxley Chevrolet. We take our trucks there for maintenance. The last time I took a truck there and described the silly noise, I stood in an office while someone took my information. A lackey came in to get my keys and he had the most interesting haircut. His head was buzzed and two inches above his forehead were shaved clean, like a medieval monk. The Gandalf I keep in my head shouted, you shall not ask!, so I said, “What’s up with your haircut?” without introduction. There was a twenty second pause where both men looked at me before the lackey said, “It’s a disease.”

I later found out that it was just a bad haircut, but I decided it was for the best for everyone if I didn’t return. Until I need an oil change, because they do it for ten dollars.

Brand New Bunk Beds

Early in the fall, Camp War Eagle sold two score of metal, military style bunks to a metal recycling plant. These bunks had noisy and dangerous springs that kept the whole cabin up at night. We loaded them all on a flatbed and drove it to town.

The recycling plant pays  by weight. They weigh your vehicle both before and after, and give a dollar for every ten pounds lighter you have become. A ton of metal is worth 200 smackeroos. And they only ask for an ID to make sure you aren’t selling copper tubing stolen from a construction site, which is a new and exciting field of crime. After being weighed, I drove into the scrapyard and waited for the large metal crane with the giant magnet to slowly coax all the beds out from behind me. That night, I told Holly that it reminded me of The Brave Little Toaster. She said, “What a terrifying movie.”

This week, freshly welded bunks were delivered to camp from Mt. Ida, Arkansas, where Ted the Welder lives. These are much more stable and less moanful. We brought them inside the maintenance building to warm up so that they could be sprayed with a waterproof DTM, which is a fancy acronym for Direct-to-Metal; you live or die by acronyms in the maintenance world. DTM, OSB, SB2, FPR. People say these things over the radio as if I have a cheat sheet. When I repeat it back, I make sure to change it slightly. FPR, FDR, PBR, FPS, and so on. It’s one of the instances where I am being funny but the people I’m talking to think I’m quite stupid.

My  boss Rob looked over the bunks as I prepared for my other job, insulating a pump house. Gee whiz, I thought, I had a scratch I was meaning it itch. They meant to use a paint sprayer to finished all the bunks in a matter of hours, but there was a catch – the pump had been processing water based paint, and DTM is oil based. So what, I asked? Too much trouble to switch, Rob said. “Cass, go get the smallest brush you can find, and meet me back here.”

It took an hour and a half to paint my first bunk. I was tripping over all the corners and forgot to paint the inside until the outside was thoroughly wet. This does not count the hour it took me to wipe all the bunks clear of rust. As Rob walked in, he inspected my work in a way that I knew he was lying when he said, “Good work.” Then: “Only forty-four more.”

After a while painting bunks is not such a bad draw. It was cold this week and the bunks kept me warm on the inside of a heated building. I also got to listen to whatever radio station I wished, because I was often alone. Too much Train. And, after a while the paint starts to smell really good. I closed all the windows to keep the scent in, and had to lay down for my fifteen minute break and let the fumes run through me.

Plus, the next time in a bar fight I’m going to scream, “I wash my hair with PAINT THINNER – YOU DON’T WANT THIS MOJO!”

At this point I’ve only finished fourteen in three days. I’ve got it down to forty minutes a bunk, which makes me feel like an Arbitrarily Olympian in the Trivial Olympics, which also includes table busting and speed walking. I was allowed to use the table saw to cut down plywood for the mattress base, as well as drill it in using self-tappers, which I think are hilarious because they get so indecisive about metal. I imagine them speaking to me, saying, “I don’t want to burrow into iron.” However, at this point the room was filled with three days of paint fumes.

As I finished, I took a knife and carved into the underside of each bunk, “Hand crafted with quiet ambivalence by Cass.”

 

A Brand New Refrigerator

The top bar of the hour number on my digital watch has disappeared; when I wake up in the middle of the night I don’t know if it’s 1:23 or 7:23 and there’s a solar eclipse. Regardless, I got to work on time only to discover that it would rain all day. Rain days on the maintenance crew of Camp War Eagle are joyous affairs.

Since the winter has been unreasonably warm, we’ve been able to save most of the inside jobs for today. Yesterday we built a gravel bridge in short sleeved shirts and finished in time to play Maintenance Soccer. The hourly workers play Maintenance Soccer when all jobs have been finished but there are still five minutes left on the work day. While I have terrifically bad depth perception, Neal played goalie in college and Juan is from Mexico. Juan, our fifty year old and heavily weathered mechanic, actually played minor league baseball in Mexico. One game he pitched over three hundred balls; in a major league game, six pitchers share two hundred. His shoulder has stopped working.

This morning when my boss Rob gave me an assignment list, it had another name on it. I turned to Juan and said, “It looks like we’re working together today, Juan. Up top!”

“No,” he said slowly, pulling the word apart. “I work…alone.”

“Oh,” I said. “Okay. It’s whatever. I’ll just speak Spanish to myself.”

The first listed item was to clean our new refrigerator. After a ten minute wipe-down I moved on to inventory. While counting trash bags, Rob approached me and said I needed to revisit the fridge. “Not Cass clean,” he said, “but Holly clean,” in honor of my wife.

Then I spent the next two hours scrubbing the first two layers of paint off.

As I cleaned, Juan moved wordlessly onto inventory. He only interrupted me once, holding half of a pair of garden shears. “What is this,” he asked.

The tool room only has one machete, so when Neal and I go vine hacking only one of us gets it. I deconstructed the garden shears so I too could have a machete, because Neal and I like to pretend that I’m a British explorer and he is my mute Hindu guide who must always have his earphones in.

“I have no idea,” I responded to Juan, “but we shouldn’t try to fix it.”

When I finished the fridge I started restocking it and discovered that, once all of the old tupperware was composted (500 years to garden fresh tomatoes!), it was very empty. With one look at lonely Juan compiling a list of spray nosels, I decided to put off my work as long as possible and stock the fridge for my coworkers. As my grandfather used to say, give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Give him a million fishes, feed him for life.

Because camp is hibernating, most of the food meant for anyone is frozen solid and will be long expired by May. It is free game, if you can find it. After visiting the camp store, craft center, and the old head of maintenance’s house, I came back with a box full of soda, a wide selection of ice cream snacks, mixed berries, and two frozen pizzas, which I brought home to Holly.

After lunch as I stomped around the attic looking for hand sanitizier, Rob yelled from downstairs. “Fridge looks nice,” he said. “Good job with the food. You’re a regular scrounger.”

Thus I have become my idol, Henley, the scrounger from The Great Escape – that guy in prison who can get anything for a pack of cigarettes, no questions asked.

Ancestors, Give Me Strength!

As the weather turns bitter and old, the maintenance crew at Camp War Eagle is on a constant quest for things to do inside. The concrete floor of the garage is spotless. The lumber barn has been freshly reorganized. On Tuesday we scheduled CPR training for the morning; I arrived last and stood next to my boss, Rob, an big but humorous man. I told him I liked his pullover. “It really brings out your eyes,” I said.

“Thank you,” he replied. “That makes me uncomfortable.”

Two minutes later we were paired up to practice rescue breaths. Unfortunately, I didn’t hear the ‘half-effort’ instruction and put my ear way too close to unconscious Rob’s nose. I also had to cradle his forehead in order to check the airway. We grew closer that day.

(At lunch, Neil came in to the breakroom and said, “Daniel, Cass and I all got 100%!” Rob asked me how I did that and I said, “I asked the instructor for the answer to two questions. She just told me.”)

Thursday I awoke to a cold ground covered by sheets of crunchy paper. The car radio told me to watch out for black ice and the White Witch. I clocked into work late and said, “Sorry about the time; I couldn’t decide which jacket I wanted to freeze to death in, so I brought both.” I changed jackets at the 9:30 break to see if the green one would protect my midriff, the only section of my body I didn’t quadruple layer. Massive overlook.

When the sun finally rose after ten, Rob gathered Neil and I together. “I have two jobs,” he said. “Neil, I need you to reorganize old files in the centrally heated office. Cass, I need you to dig up some sewage pipes in the horse pasture woods.”

This is about CPR, isn’t it, Rob?

We subcontract plumbing out to a nice man named Chris. The sprinkler heads for sewage disposal were taken off for the winter and replaced with old coffee cans to keep moisture out. While I was digging my first line Chris said there was too much pressure in the system and turned the valve without telling me what to expect. That coffee can jumped fifteen feet in the air on a geyser of green water. As I stumbled backwards I said, “Gross,” but I thought Awesome.

Eventually I worked by myself. I like digging alone in the woods because no one can see me roleplaying as a grizzled warrior. Sometimes when I got really worked up at chunky ground I’d raise my rockbar above my head and shout something medieval sounding like, “Enkindlers arise!” or “Old gods protect us!” I probably shouldn’t be telling anyone this.

I don’t know why the mafia makes people dig their own graves. It takes so long. Tommy Two-Fingers has to be standing in the cold marshes for hours before someone could get six feet deep and eight feet long. It took me two to go two feet down across foot feet of pipe. If I was about to get whacked I’d say, “Kill me now and then you dig; I’m not going to meet Jesus all sweaty.”

Near the end when I was clearing the pipe of hard packed gravel and clay, the valve kept getting in my way, so I turned it, knowing there was another valve twenty feet away to stop that green volcano of waste. After a few minutes I exchanged my shovel for a rock bar and started stabbing the ground indiscriminately, breaking up the rock, until I shouted, “Ancestors give me strength!” and accidentally broke the PVC pipe clean off of the valve. I froze in fear.

The naked valve and broken pipe started a high pitched, fast flowing hiss. I was the red shirt in action movies who discovers he just stepped on a trip wire. I felt the camera quickly zooming into my face, preparing for a smash cut of my stunt double being blown away my a landmine. However, after a few seconds of hissing I had the presence of mind to slam the valve shut and then take a short break to think about what could’ve happened. Old gods, thank you for your protection.

We Have All the Projectors

I have finally made it to Van, where I will be staying for the next nine months. I came to teach English and take names. But I’ll give them back when I’m through. I just need them for a small trick.

On Monday I met with the English department head for the first time. Before I left the states, I was told that I would need to wear, as a daily uniform, a dress shirt and slacks. The teachers who inspired me in high school wore flannel and jeans, and had great big bushy beards. But they also had to teach in the Bates Annex. That’s where the ghosts were.

Anyway, I had to buy several shirts and pants. I even had to shine my shoes. And when I walked into the English department, the head was wearing a Hollister shirt.

His name is Hassan, and he is a nice old man. He, along with everyone else, wears jeans and, if they feel like it, a collar. He told me that at the university, the department was known as the English mafia, because they got the best rooms, and they “had all the projectors.” I said I was glad I had joined the right team.

I found out that I’ll be teaching conversational English to graduate students and professors; my students probably won’t have much experience at all, and most likely know nothing about dragons, so I have my work cut out for me. I’ll teach 12 hours a week, with one catch – I don’t start until mid-October.

When Hassan told me this, I was a little shocked. All the other Fulbrighters were supposed to start that day, that first Monday when they walked into the office. But I have two weeks to myself. I briefly thought about leaving immediately – I thought about traveling for a few weeks around Eastern Turkey before my classes started. But something made me reconsider. As I thought about my next two weeks, I realized I had an opportunity to rise in the English mafia. And so I asked Hassan: “Tell me – how can I get in on the projectors?”

I Get Fired, Rehired in Fifteen Minutes

The Executive Board of BYX had it’s annual meeting on Thursday; since I’m in training to become a National Advisor, I’m here in Ft. Worth for the week and was taken along to sit in the corner wearing a dunce cap. I didn’t speak and my mouth felt freeze dried the entire time, like it feels when you sleep on a stranger’s couch and are afraid of doing something normal which is prohibited in that stranger’s house.

There are five members on the Executive Board; they, along with the full time staff, met from 8 until 12, talking about budgets and proposals and individual chapters. Then after lunch we were joined by the seven member Advisory Board, and that meeting ran from lunch until after dinner, around 8 at night. A twelve hour board meeting – and I didn’t fall asleep (in the conference room – there was a family restroom right outside. Bingo).
I don’t think I was expected to understand what was going on. I was brought in, along with the other new staff member, to meet the board and get a feel for the issues we would be dealing with. In fact, I enjoyed the morning session. The executives were engaging and even funny, and I understood what we were talking about. It was in the afternoon that I lost control. That’s when the graphs came out, and the handouts became only numbers with no pictures. I can’t read without pictures. It’s called hieroglyphics and the Egyptians used to do it.
One board member, Wendell, started BYX at the University of Texas in 1985. He created the whole thing. And I was terrified to say anything to him. The worst part was, I never knew where he was. When he first spoke, he was sitting at the table. Then the conversation moved on and I forgot about him, he spoke again and suddenly he was on a stool. Then in an arm chair. Then sitting on the snack counter. Then on the sofa next to me (when I totally lost the conversation thread, I was told I could sit on the couch away from the meeting and rest my brain. They gave me applesauce to cool off). That was the terrifying part. He spoke, and I wanted to say, when did you sit down? After the conversation moved away, he looked at me and said, What’s up? I just nodded with a high frequency, like a sound wave, and when I looked back he was gone.
I lost my job for about thirty minutes. In the middle of the budget section, someone said, “Let’s cut the staff by half. All the new guys are out.” I panicked. I took out my phone and texted my dad to ask if his company internship was still open, then I asked one of the board members, did I just get fired? He shook his head no. He told me it was hypothetical, and it happened once a board meeting. When my dad texted back yes, I had to make up an excuse. I told him it was still available because no one with a college degree wanted to wash cars for the summer – I have a real job now. I’m done with menial labor.