Every morning Dave Sims awoke promptly at seven. It was a deeply ingrained habit, and even without an alarm clock, it never changed. After a quick pit stop in the bathroom, he wandered into the kitchen, where his wife was busy making coffee.
“Good morning,” said his wife.
“Hi, Hon,” replied Dave. “Coffee ready?”
“In a minute. Want something to eat?”
“Nah, just coffee. Did you get the paper?”
“We had to cancel it, remember?” His wife looked at him quizzically.
“Oh, that’s right,” he said. “I guess I’m becoming forgetful in my old age.”
“You’re not old,” his wife scolded him. “You’re only fifty.”
“But I feel old.”
“Well you’re not.”
Dave made his way into the living room and turned on the television. Sitting in an easy chair, he surfed through channels until he found a news station. It was covering a high school shooting that had occurred the day before. So far, nine students had died.
“Oh God,” he called to his wife. “The body count at that school in Florida is up to nine.”
“That’s a shame,” said his wife. “Those poor families. You would think a kid is safe in school.”
“Not anymore,” he said. “This country is going down fast. Guns might not kill people, but kids with guns sure do.”
“Why don’t you turn on something else,” she said, entering the room. She handed him his coffee.
“Really,” she continued. “That stuff bothers you, and you have enough on your mind.”
“It does, and I do, but I like to know what’s going on.”
“Give me the remote and I’ll change it. Or better yet, let’s turn it off.” She sounded exasperated. “Why don’t we talk, okay?” She had been getting exasperated with him often, of late.
“Okay,” he said, turning it off.
“What’s your plan for today?”
“I saw a few jobs posted. Figured I’d apply.”
“Good,” said his wife. “Heard anything from your friends at the office?”
“Not a word,” he replied. “I’ve become persona non grata there.”
“Well, don’t worry about it. They’re useless anyways. I’m going to go shopping with Linda later on, by the way.”
“Do we have the money?”
“I’m just going to look, I won’t buy anything.”
“Then what’s the point of going?”
“Just something to do, I guess.”
After that, both sat pensively and drank their coffees. A clock in the corner ticked loudly in the background. A bird flew past their big picture window, and two squirrels chased each other through the front yard. The sun was shining, but it was a chilly spring day, and the heater clicked on. After a second cup of coffee Dave stood up.
“Well, I better get moving. Those jobs aren’t going to find me if I just sit here.”
“Good luck, dear,” said his wife.
Dave put his empty cup in the kitchen and made his way to the den, which was actually a second bedroom they never used. Sitting before the computer, he logged on, and began applying to jobs while still in his bathrobe. Companies no longer wanted people to apply in person; they preferred the anonymity of the internet. He thought it a rotten way to look for work, but what could he do? He sent his resume to three or four different openings, but didn’t hold out much hope. Since he began applying, only one company had even acknowledged receipt of his resume, and it noted that two hundred and sixty-one other people had applied for the same position. Good luck with that, he had thought. It was discouraging.
After a while, he started to surf the net. Between the television and the net, he did a lot of surfing, so much so that he joked to himself he should be in better shape. He might have lost his job, but he hadn’t lost his sense of humor, or so he thought.
Around noon his wife popped her head in and announced that she was heading out with Linda to go shopping.
“Don’t spend too much,” he said.
“Of course not,” she smiled.
She was growing worried about her husband. He had not been himself lately. He worried constantly about money, and was easily angered. He cursed out everyone; politicians, neighborhood kids, bad drivers, rude shoppers, former bosses and most anyone with which he crossed paths. She thought he might one day explode.
After his wife left, Dave wandered through the house aimlessly. He turned on the television again, but used it as background noise. He made himself a tuna sandwich for lunch, noting that even tuna was getting expensive.
The doorbell rang, and he ventured to answer it. Who the hell is this, he thought to himself? It turned out to be two Jehovah’s Witnesses, coming to preach. Before they could get out three words, he stopped them dead in their tracks.
“Sorry,” he said. “Not interested.”
“Not interested in the word of God?” asked one of them.
“Not unless he’s hiring,” Dave answered. With that he closed the door.
Dave plopped himself in front of the television and, remote control in hand, began shooting through the channels. He marveled that, even with hundreds of channels, there was never anything on. And cable was getting expensive, so much so that it was becoming a luxury, one that he might eventually have to get rid of. When you’re unemployed, many things become luxuries.
Dave’s wife returned home near to three o’clock, empty-handed.
“Did you have a good time?” he asked.
“Yes,” she replied. “Linda treated me to lunch.”
“Oh great, she’s helping out the poor folks now?”
“You know Linda’s not like that. She was just being nice.”
“I know,” he said. “Sorry.”
“You have to stop being so defensive,” she scolded. “Linda is one of our true friends. She knows it’s not your fault you lost your job.”
“I didn’t lose it,” he corrected her. “It’s still there. They just hired someone for less money.”
“Either way, you need to let it go.”
Dave continued to channel surf, while his wife busied herself in the kitchen. She could smell the tuna Dave had for lunch. It was their last can. She washed out the bowl he used by hand, as the dishwasher was broken.
“Hon, what’s for dinner,” Dave asked from the other room.
“Spaghetti,” she answered.
“And meatballs?” he asked hopefully.
Dave turned off the TV and went back to the computer. Maybe some jobs were posted since last he looked. Finding nothing new, he again resorted to surfing.
“Hon, can you bring me a beer,” he called out to the kitchen. Beer, too, was becoming a luxury, but one he refused to give up.
“Yes dear, be right there.”
He heard her pop the top off, and she soon appeared with a beer in her hand.
“Here you are,” she said. She placed it on the desk by the keyboard.
“Any luck today?” she inquired.
“Nope,” was his one word answer.
Supper was a mostly silent affair, with both participants lost in thought. He worried about money, while his wife worried about him. After dinner, he grabbed another beer and turned on the TV for the umpteenth time that day, while she cleaned the kitchen. After she was done she joined him in the living room.
“Anything good on tonight?” she asked.
“Probably not,” he answered, after finishing his beer. “There never is.”
They watched television for a while, mostly reruns, when she began to grow bored.
“You’re right, there’s nothing on. I’m going to go finish my book,” she said, rising from the couch.
“Can you get me another beer while you’re up?”
She returned with his beer. She didn’t mind if he drank a few beers, as it seemed to mellow him out, but lately a few had become too many.
“I’m going to go read. Don’t stay up too late, and don’t drink too much.”
“I won’t, honey.”
“Good night,” she said.
As she left the room, Dave sat quietly in his easy chair, sipping the beer. It appeared as if he were watching TV, but his mind was elsewhere, and the ticking clock in the corner seemed to grow louder by the second.
- Big Oil Does It Again | breezespeaks (mbcalyn.com)
- God and Pat Robertson | breezespeaks (mbcalyn.com)
- President Obama Rediscovers Backbone | breezespeaks (mbcalyn.com)
- Why Republicans Hate Bill Clinton | breezespeaks (mbcalyn.com)
- A Liberals Lament | breezespeaks (mbcalyn.com)
- Goin’ for coffee (dldahl.wordpress.com)
- Dark-Roasted: 5 Beers for Coffee FiendsBeer Sessions (thekitchn.com)
- Eight Ways to Treat Your Employees (apartmentguide.com)
- Rain in my coffee (franinwonderwords.wordpress.com)
- Coffee and … Honey or Agave Syrup? (jamiestable.wordpress.com)