My luck was running out.
I knew this because one weekday afternoon I was so immersed in navel gazing that I actually caught a glimpse of the world behind me, upside down, through my asshole when I accidentally broke wind, and God – or at least a very good God impersonator- appeared in glowing robes, upside down of course, face obscured by luminous light, and he reached up inside of me, pulled my head through my belly button and out of my asshole and slapped my face hard and in a surprisingly high-pitched weeny voice spake thus:
I put my earphones in and turned on my ipod in an effort to drown him out. It was no use. His voice cut through the Nazi hate rock that I was listening to like the voice of God. I mean he was God (or at least a very good impersonator). To be honest, I was kind of glad to hear his shrill tones cutting through the music, because by the 8th song by the band Jew Slaughter, it dawned on me that Nazi hate rock as a genre was like incredibly anti-semitic and I have no truck with the jews, in fact if anything I positively adore bagels, especially when worn on my head like some kind of baked yeast based halo. I turned off my ipod.
GETAJOBGETAJOBGETAJOBGETAJOBGETAJOBGETJABOAGJETBJAOBE GETJOAJGETAJOBAJGEBOBGTEAEBOENGETNAPJOBGETANJOB Etc…
‘Ok god, I get it. I’ll get a job already.’
‘Just one question God…’
He gestured for me to continue.
‘Why did you have to be a man?’ I said.
He looked at me witheringly and then pulled up his robes to reveal a meaty gunt that phased unevenly into a dimpled vagina covered in blackheads and pubic hair that looked as if it hadn’t been mown since pre-Christian times.
A thick tangy vaginal musk broke the air like the smell of garbage from a burst bin bag from a seafood restaurant at the end of a long, hot day.
I involuntarily began to dry-wretch.
And then in a puff of pink smoke, he was gone, leaving nothing behind except a dissipating plume of pink smoke and a combined smell of burning brake lining and aforementioned pudenda musk.
With a lot of difficulty and vegetable oil, I finally managed to retract my head back through my anus and out of belly button.
It was time to join the workforce.
I was pensive. ‘The Workforce’ always sounded like a really shitty superhero collective to me:
‘BAD GUYS BEWARE… IT’S THE WORKFORCE!
WITH DEAD-BEHIND-THE-EYES-MIDDLE-MANAGEMENT-CALL-CENTRE-MAN and MINIMUM-WAGE-SUICIDAL-CUSTOMER-SERVICE-GIRL and KFC-CHICKEN-FRYER-DOWN-SYNDROME-BOY…
OFF TO FIGHT THEIR DREADED FOE… UNLIMITED FREE TIME…’
I started looking for a job.
I looked at my resume.
- No qualifications.
- No skills.
- A 9 year employment gap.
I hadn’t worked for nine years. Okay well not technically. I had had these weird quasi jobs that weren’t real jobs if you know what I mean.
For example, in those nine years, i had:
- Earnt money as a comedian
- Worn a giant tooth suit and given out dentistry flyers at South Clapham station.
- That’s about it.
But as in proper job, nothing for 9 years.
I wrote the limited experience I had had in the job market into my CV. It looked like this:
NICK SUN: EMPLOYMENT HISTORY
November 1999- March 2000
Grace Bros Chatswood
• Apathetic customer service
• Stealing company merchandise assisted by an accomplice
• Not turning up without properly notifying floor manager
• Giving free merchandise to customers for no reason
• Eating giant toblerones beneath the counter and then throwing most of it in the bin (2 on average per shift).
March 2002-January 2004
• Stealing food (cheese and crackers, lamb shanks etc…) and drink (tomato juice, vanilla breakas) and eating it in the bathroom.
• Stealing alcohol.
• Taking valium on the job and burning 30 trays of pumpkin
South Clapham Dentistry (UK)
• Wearing a giant tooth costume correctly.
• Clocking in up to half an hour late.
• Clocking out up to an hour early
• Taking up to an hour for lunch
• Getting high on the job
• Throwing away flyers could not be bothered distributing.
• Tearing down old dentistry with sledgehammer.
• Salvaging copper wiring to sell to scrap metal merchants.
• Customer service
• Heavy Lifting
• Stage and venue set up
• Basic sound and lighting duties
• Working in a team environment
• Booking and organisational Admin
NB: This is a completely fictional company and job- I never did any of this.
I listed my friend’s phone numbers as my referees. I called them up, told them their new fake names and their new fake jobs. I told them to tell prospective employers how good I was. I told them to say that I was a good worker. I told them to tell them to give me a chance.
No one called them.
I went on the internet.
I sent some emails.
No one emailed me back.
I started calling people
I called a box factory
I wanted to be a box packer
The lady said,
‘have you had experience packing boxes?’
‘Yes I have packed boxes in the past’
And she said,
‘Yes but professionally?’
And I said,
‘what’s the difference?’
‘We are looking for professional box packers’
‘What do you mean, career box packers?’
I thought. Who the hell are these career boxpackers? They must be the happiest people in the world. Their dream is to pack boxes. Something achieved with relative ease. Something they could just do at home if they wanted to. If they had boxes of course. They had it made. I envied them. Smug pricks. Maybe people shouldn’t dream of big things that might not happen. To be a rock star or president or astronaut or ballet dancer or whatever. Maybe to dream of being a box packer was the true road to contentment.
I started dreaming of being the kind of person that would be content to be a boxpacker. Not only that but the best goddamn box packer my imaginary employers had ever seen. Well actually maybe not the best but like just good enough to be left alone.
‘Your loss lady. Those boxes would have had the fuck packed out of them if you had hired me.’
I hung up the phone.
Fuck the box packing industry for turning me down.
At least I still had my dignity.
I went to the welfare office.
I lined up.
Everyone there looked pretty depressed. I couldn’t work out why. They were getting free money from the government. That sounded great to me.
Most people need jobs. Without them they would be forced to think about things that maybe they didn’t want to. Free time isn’t free. Without a comparison, it eventually costs you your sanity. I knew this because I went through this myself. Nine years of no job and nothing but free time. The first 5 years was especially hard work. Guilt feelings coming from nowhere to whack you on the face while you are having the nicest time, wasting time somewhere. And of course the demons. But after the six year mark the grip of social expectations loosened, and aside from horrific poverty, crippling bouts of suicidal depression and the unfocused panic attacks that seemed to happen without warning all the time, being unemployed was pretty okay.
Me and my demons, we got along fine now.
Like a couple of birds learning to share a cage together.
I would be sitting in my bean bag, eating spaghetti off my stomach and Guilt would be all like ‘You enjoying yourself you fat fuck?’
‘Yes I am Guilt, thanks for asking’ I would say and Guilt would grumble and go back into his hole.
‘What about the future?’ Fear would say from behind the chair.
‘Future aint here till its here and when its here it’s the present so fuck the future Fear, and you know what? Fuck you too Fear.’ I’d say, laughing at Fear till it had shrunk down to the size of a pea.
‘You should eat all the spaghetti, don’t bother saving any for your flatmate like you said you would cause you owe him favours…’ Selfishness would say.
‘Okay.’ I’d say back.
Good idea Selfishness I thought.
Then I would eat all the spaghetti
‘I cant believe you ate all that spaghetti.’ Said Shame.
‘Yeah I know, I know, I get it… I’m a piece of shit… Just fuck off will you?’
‘Who are you talking to and where’s my spaghetti?’ My flat mate said.
I get to the front of the line.
The lady told me that I had to call an employment officer from one of these weird installed phones they had. ‘But I thought we were in the employment office.’ I said.
‘No that’s a different one.’ She said.
They looked like prison phones back to back without the glass partition and you sat down and picked up the phone and there were just three buttons with letters beside them. One was for enquiries about getting the dole, another one was for emergency dole assistance and the other one was I cant remember.
The lady pressed one of them but I didn’t see which one it was and told me to wait.
I waited. And waited and waited. Like half an hour or some shit. I read my book. It was science fiction about some world that wasn’t this one.
I waited some more. I looked at the graffiti on the wall next to the phone.
Someone had written,
‘I WOULD RATHER DIE THAN BE ON THE DOLE
I AM GOOD WORKER CALL ME 0455939205’
Like some employer with some jobs to give would be like,
‘I gotta find me some good worker… Hmmm I know, lets go down to the dole office and read the graffiti on the walls and see what it has to say.’
I mean the guy didn’t even put down his qualifications or what job he was even looking for.
I contemplated on calling him up and saying
‘Hello? 045593205? Congratulations, you got the job!’
And he would go
‘What??? Amazing! What is it?’
And I would go
‘It’s a job where you clean the blood and shit off the electric chair at a maximum security prison in hell and you can start as soon as you die.’
And he’d hang up.
Or who knows maybe he would agree to do it.
Maybe he would clean the fuck out of the chair every time and do a kickass job and I would be like ‘Holy shit, you are a good worker! Im sorry I ever doubted you!’
And he would smile inscrutably and a forked tongue would flicker from out between his lips and he would hiss at me and hiss at me with smoke pouring out of his eye sockets till sirens began to wail and the whole damn world turned flashing green.
This was the scenario that was playing out in my head while I waited for the lady to pickup the phone on the other end. Eventually after the 18th repetition of the same hold music she came on the line,
‘Student loans line, how can I help you?’
‘Oh I’m actually looking to apply for welfare.’ I said
‘Oh I will put you through to that department.’
There was a click and then more hold music.
That damn lady had put me through to the wrong department.
I waited some more.
I listened to the hold music and looked around. The welfare office was a huge operation. There must have been about 50-60 people all working there, some at desks, others scurrying about, everyone’s job was to help find other people jobs. I watched the cogs turn slowly inside a machine that made more cogs.
I wanted to be a cog.
I texted some of my friends.
I listened to some more hold music.
Thought about all the ears and mouths and hair that had touched the phone I was holding and I got it into my head like maybe all the oil and grime from their faces had collected on the hand piece of the phone. Like the accumulation of collected failure building up like poison residue and I felt sick.
I didn’t want their bad vibes.
I had enough of my own.
Then I thought, maybe I’m just putting my bad vibes onto this phone and the phone is actually like some weird detox instrument that sucks the failure and dirt off of you and turns you into a success.
I pressed the phone harder into my head in the hope that it would clean me.
Then the music just clicked out and I heard the beeping sound of a dead line.
What the fuck?
I got up and went up to the lady who had put me on the phone and told her the situation.
‘Oh I’m so sorry.’ She said. She didn’t mean it but neither would I have if I had been her. If I had been her, I probably would of probably just gone to the bathroom and fondled my breasts and put my fingers in my vagina.
She was kind of hot in an older woman type of way and I was kind of horny.
She pressed the button and again I forgot to look at which one she pressed.
Shit it was a gamble.
I listened to some hold music.
Half an hour passed and eventually some woman picked up on the other end.
‘Student loans line, how can I help you?’
I think it could have been the same one I first spoke to.
‘Hi I want to apply for welfare?’
‘Oh oops, you got the wrong department, let me put you through…’
‘Wait!’ I interrupted her.
‘Someone just did that and I waited for another half an hour and then the phone just clicked out and died on me and I had to hang up and then wait again.’
‘Oh im so sorry! I will try to make sure that doesn’t happen again!’ she said.
She put me through.
I waited for some more.
I looked around at the centrelink office again. There were more people employed by the welfare office than unemployed people waiting for the welfare there.
I thought about how many of the people working there found a job at the welfare office through the welfare office. Like they had spent so many years on the dole that they knew the ins and outs of the system to the point where they were just given a job.
I thought about writing some kind of story about a prison planet where everyone was employed by the same government agency with like 3.5 billion employees and their sole job was to find other 3.5 billion people jobs within the same agency. And they all just fought and vied for the same positions, that continually shifted and rearranged itself. The building where this all happened was the size of the planet it was built on and shaped like a huge honeycomb that started off really narrow and then widened severely in every direction all the way up the top, teetering impossibly on its single brick foundation. No one lived on the actual planet, because it was difficult to find a way out of the building.
Just one huge planet sized building of HR and nothing else.
In the end, everyone dies of starvation.
That is except for two people, who manage to find their way out, but one is hit by a truck being driven by the other one and dies while the one who drove the truck is driven to suicide out of guilt for something completely unrelated.
And then the building falls over and everything is destroyed.
I decided to not bother writing it, it seemed too much effort and seemed a lot more effective as just the former synopsis.
I looked throught the window at all the people on the street below me, heading back to their jobs after their lunchbreak.
I just wanted to be a nomad. Wandering the environment and living off the land. Or at least employing someone to live off the land for me and to bring me fresh food daily, while I sat in my bean bag and watched nature documentaries filmed in places that were really cold while I was oh so warm, warm, warm.
We had spent the better part of the last 5 thousand years exonerating ourselves from the food chain, only to put ourselves in chains of a different sort.
I looked around at all the women in the welfare office and sorted them into two groups. One group I would fuck, and the second group I wouldn’t fuck.
Then I grouped the first group into two further groups the first being the group that might let me fuck them and the second group being the group that would probably definitely not let me fuck them. Seeing as pretty much all of the girls in the group that I would fuck were also in the subgroup of the girls that would probably definitely not let me fuck them, I then just merged all the groups into one group- which happened to be the original second group I had come up with- The group I wouldn’t fuck.
So they were all in that same group, just for various reasons but I think most of them had to do with me.
‘Hello, welfare application here.’ A bored male voice answered.
‘Hi, I just wanted to apply for welfare here.’ I said.
He took my details. Name, age, address.
‘Okay, well then Nick, we will call you at 10am on the 1st of may.’
He hung up. I had spoken to him for under a minute. I looked at my watch.
I had spent 3 hours and 38 minutes on that phone waiting for that one minute.
Which was fine. It wasn’t like I had much to do. I was unemployed.
As I left I went to the toilet. I went into one of the cubicles.
There was a needle bin there. Like people would just go to the welfare office, look for work and then just shoot heroin. Why not?
I meticulously laid down a layer of toilet paper on the toilet seat to make sure no failure butt residue got on me and sat down on the potty to take a shit at the welfare office.
I felt I had to do something for the 3 and a half hours I had spent waiting there.
There was some graffiti on the toilet wall. It read
‘FUCK OFF WOGS, FUCK OFF BACK YOU HOME.’
I wasn’t sure if xenophobia had clouded their grammatical skills.
Or if perhaps maybe they were from some other non English country and the prospect of inter cultural racism entered my mind. It was refreshing change from your standard anglo-centric racism.
I wrote a reply underneath with an arrow pointing at the original comment.
‘LEARN TO SPEAK PROPER ENGLISH OR GO HOME AS WELL YOU FUCKING DICKHEAD’…
I am the endpoint of 610 million years of evolution.