Monday, November 29, 2010

Who Is Without Flaws

On the company’s last day, I stuffed black bags with file folders, broken staplers, wires, plastic shelving.

We ate takeout Chinese. Two days before, we learned the feds were coming. Two months into this job, it was time to call my parents, say, I’m jobless again.

We learned the news in a group meeting. Some assertive types raised their hands, gleefully asked, how can we help? Me, I pondered my stupidity working here.

I piled kung pao chicken onto wobbly paper plates, then talked to Jill, who, industrious as ever, was shredding papers. I asked, what’re your plans? She said, maybe get margaritas. I meant like, long term, but just nodded, depressed about our differences. See Ted for your last pay. She didn’t look up.

Ted had Eddie Vedder hair, never wore ties. He sat cross legged in a barren office. Before him, a laptop and accordion folder.

He looked up, said, Bell, retrieved an envelope from his folder. Cash--you’ll understand.

Ted, what’s next?

Well, we’re gone by 5:00, then detail guys hit this place with Q-tips and toothbrushes.

That’s not what I meant. But I just nodded.

I always stumbled explaining my job. It’s varied--database, spreadsheet, support. Dad never understood. You need goals, mom would say.

Back on the floor, shredder hum meditation was broken by packing tape screech.

Soon, I’d return to resumes, Careerbuilder, interviews with bad-breathed sharks. For now, I read my fortune cookie: who is without flaws? I tucked it into my pocket.