he didn’t understand anything
back then i was
desperate in buffalo, new york.
i couldn’t find a job
after two months
and i was getting fat sitting
in the apartment
eating bolognia sandwiches
while my wife went
to work every day.
i tried walking around
but it was buffalo
so there was nothing to see
after the first day there.
finally i got a call
from this bathroom installation place
that needed a paper pusher.
and they gave me an interview
the store manager noticed
that i put “none” under hobbies
and he wondered if it was a mistake.
i told him it wasn’t
but he kept up at me.
finally i told him that i wrote on the side.
poems and short stories.
he nodded and made note of it
on yellow paper.
a few days later
i was masturbating to a morning talk show
that had some blonde celebrity on it
dressed in a short skirt
when the manager of the bathroom installation place called.
he said i got the job, mostly,
but he wanted me to come in and meet the staff
to see how i jelled with everyone.
so i went to the store.
it was a warehouse, really,
a cold, sterile place full of shiny, white tiles
and glossy toilets and baths.
the store manager smiled and shook my hand.
he was going bald
but he had a goatee.
he took me into his office and told me
all about the job.
he told me they were like family at this place
that they had picnics together too.
on the wall was a picture of the store manager.
he said it was taken after he, and some of the other guys,
went white water rafting.
he asked me if i liked the outdoors and i told him no.
then he told me i mostly had the job
but he wanted me to meet the staff.
i told him he said that on the phone.
he told me that he had one more concern
and i asked him what it was.
it’s the writing, he said.
what if you make it big in writing?
he said i can’t hire you for this job
if you might make it big in writing.
i told him that very few writers made it big
and that even if i got published
it probably wouldn’t be enough for me to quit the job.
i really needed the money.
he liked hearing that.
the smile came back.
we went and met the rest of the staff.
they seemed nice enough
a bit dead in the eyes, probably from spending
their days in a bathroom warehouse.
i thought i might get dead in the eyes too,
i thought i might be forced into white water rafting
or going on picnics.
i got the job.
when i left i got in the car
and just sat there looking at the place.
it was non-descript.
it sat in a squat industrial park
right next to the airport.
i watched some planes take off and land
and then i drove to the nearest liquor store.
i charged a bottle of wine
and a bottle of scotch.
when i got home my wife was already in
from her job.
she asked me how the interview went
as i set the booze down on the table.
i told her i got the thing.
i told her that store manager didn’t understand
anything about writing.
i told her that i hated buffalo
and everything else.
three days later i never showed up for my
first day on the job
i was in pittsburgh, drinking iron city beer
and sleeping on my parent’s couch
because my wife had thrown me out.
she understood all one needed to know
about writing...and then some.