The Whatever Contest Entry
|When I’m feeling down, I’ll actually play the blues. It may just be an expression of self-pity, but it also helps pull me out of it. Well, not always, but most of the time. Miles Davis started playing, and music filled the rustic room in my very rural residence. I lowered my creaking six-foot frame into an easy chair and pondered my predicament once more. The shock of being put out to pasture early from employment had me sleepwalking for days, but reality had sunk in like an anchor on a sandy bottom. I was unemployed, and too old for any new career, and one in my line of work would have to move. That was if anyone even wanted me at this age. Too long in the tooth to find work, but not quite bald enough for retirement. |
My cellphone went off in the pocket of my robe, “Hello?”
“Good afternoon. Is this Mr. Gorm?” The pleasant female voice asked.
It couldn’t be bill collectors yet, so I responded, “Yes it is. How can I help you?”
“Well, I’m with The Zils Group in Mankato, Minnesota. Do you have a few minutes?”
“Yes, I do.” I cleared the rest of the cobwebs and listened.
The offer was unbelievable. After finding my resume on a job board, they decided to offer me an incredible salary, a company car, stock options, and so much more. Even though I would have to leave my hideaway near Shenandoah National Park, the money I would make would let me keep it. It’s where I always wanted to retire. I loved the outdoors, especially fishing. There was nothing like trout from the streams and sunfish from the lakes to make a great dinner. It turned out it was a valuable skill.
Then suddenly, I’m in Minnesota. I loved the position, but the climate was a different story! Between the lack of sun, the ferocious winds, and the temperature, your face took on a very patriotic set of colors. I had pale skin and light hair, so that helped. The weather was severe, but it was important to keep the job. It wasn’t difficult at all, it was mainly indoors, and if the roads were too slick I worked from home. If it weren’t for the icy wind that blew in with sharp claws and carried nasty bugs.
They called it the “blue flu” for a reason. The virus turned the skin the color of a cornflower. The prevailing opinion was it was some respiratory failure. The locals called them Smurfs and tried to keep them away, but it only worked with limited success. I knew the only way to be safe was to be alone, so I readied my gear and set out for home. Time moved with a blur reserved for a movie montage. I had flashes of hiding in the woods, wearing a protective mask and killing the infected, and fighting for canned food.
“That’s mine!” I yelled. Some gangbanger in colors had grabbed a can from my cart.
He turned back and bowed up, “You can’t protect it, you can’t have it… bitch.”
A machete appeared in my hand, “But I can.”
He dropped the can and yelled, “Chico azul” over his shoulder.
The next thing I remembered was waking up under a bridge with an old radio blaring a tinny version of Linda Rohnsadt circa 1977. Something made me think it was a bridge in Kentucky. Perhaps it was the smell of the grass, or perhaps it was the smell of horse manure. I stepped up to a gate a moment later that had F. Marc painted on it. Perhaps it was a stable owned by some nobleman. The inside wasn’t well kept. I was immediately targeted by one horse fly in particular. He was relentless his quest to take first in the contest to annoy me.
The buzzing was relentless. I swatted at it and hit the alarm clock. Wait… the alarm clock? I came awake and worked to untangle the dreamworld from reality. It was Monday morning, which usually sucked, but not today. The steely sky tried to dampen my mood, but it didn’t work. I was back, and I showered and dressed with excitement. The drive took a while, but I got to the office on time.
A stale doughnut never tasted so good.