I had to tell somebody. My side of the story had to get out. The way they ushered me out of there so swiftly, it’s like they were worried I was going to tear the place down. It gave me no opportunity to say goodbye. I had nobody’s phone numbers. I had already told them that I don’t have a Facebook. My stories had been kept hidden from them. I was obliterated without a trace. Clarice was my only hope at a double sided story.
I pulled out my phone and sent a text to Musette that simply said, “I got fired.”
Next, I messaged Piper and told her the story. So many times I’ve told the story. I’m leaving things out at this point, which is disappointing as this is supposed to be the definitive documentation of my reality. Like, I forgot to tell you guys that they blamed me for taking one of the counterfeit bills. I had been working up to it by documenting the meeting, but then I forgot the meat.
What a crock of shit. Anything they could throw at me. That’s the way they took me out. A blind side sucker punch off the ship.
I didn’t want to tell too many people. I told three: Piper, Lirpa, and Lilli. “Spoiler Alerts” – as if they are all watching this thing I’m doing here as intently as I have been watching Hannibal on NBC which, now, ahead in time, I’m learning is also getting the can.
I went to the park and sat on the benches. Piper said, “Don’t go home.” So I kept walking. Musette tried calling me but my phone was on priority interruptions only. She called ten times and then she sent me a message telling me that she was freaking out and that now she had to go back in from her lunch break and was unhappy that she has to deal with my one line message for the rest of her shift.
Just another betrayal – by my phone. My spirit animal. My sacred, portable machine. Still getting the kinks out. Still working out this laziness. Currentivism.
I came upon a cathedral and went in. The doors were wide open. I have not been in a cathedral since being in New York. It was beautiful. I was taken aback. I took a seat on a wooden pew and started crying. I bent to my knees and cried some more. Everything began to make sense. Golden organ pipes lined the pillars and ran the lengths of the walls. There was a crucifix for the center mast. The walls made of impenetrable stone depicting scenes of Christ’s suffering with light shining through the actions of saints dripped in stained glass portholes. A quote on the wall reads that God’s eyes and heart are always here and I know that I am home and that I never left. The true ship. The S.S. Appropouture. God’s box. Constant. The stable celestial reality. The white light at the entrance of death. An angelic presence coming through this tear in my reality.
I pray a prayer of vengeance, adding The Page to my hit list. Come the church to you and you shall fall as all old religions must in the face of the living spirit. Strawberry kiwi vapor billows from my nostrils. I change the unlock screen on my phone to the sign of the cross and drink the holy water from the cistern.
I am free.
Clarice is outside. I saw her talking on her phone while I was talking with Clementine. She is still talking on her phone. I walk up to her and in a raised whisper say, “I just got fired.”
She gives me a raised finger, like, ‘hold on, don’t go anywhere.’ I nod and wait for her to finish her phone call. It takes longer than expecting. She appears to be in the process of planning some sort of party. The person on the other end won’t give up whatever ghost she’s wrestling with. Clarice keeps laying out annoyed periods at the end of her sentences meant for the final touches of a reciprocated farewell but the recipient keeps hopping over them, streaming whatever further amendments she deems necessary to cram conjunctedly into this already overfull phone call.
When the conversation finally ends, I tell her about what happened.
She is scared for her own safety.
“Well, at least you’re aware they’re willing to drop people so easily. It’s the union’s fault of course. Or at least the presence of it. Two months in and one to go. They didn’t want another protected minion to try controlling.”
“I thought you were one of the best… It seemed like you had been there forever already.”
“To tell you the truth, I planned on being there for a long time.”
I give her My Struggle.
“I don’t want them to sue me.” I say, letting her enjoy the rest of her lunch break without me.
The ocean rages below. The wild ocean of Mordor or Moloch. The face of my landlord. The face of a mean city and the mean face of work which I thought I had somewhat and somehow escaped from.
But even this was too much for me.
Clementine walks me out. Lisa doesn’t say goodbye. She won’t even look at me.
I ask Clementine if I may get my coffee.
“Of course.” she says, walking me to mystery before herding me downstairs, past my coworkers, where I clear out my locker. My Struggle is in my Musette bag. I mean to return it but forget to give it to Clementine.
“Will you talk with me outside for a moment?”
She looks around , debating whether she can, should, or even wants to spare the time.
“Come on, at least give me this. It may be the last time you ever see me.”
She agrees to go outside.
I tell her that if there is any possibility of giving me another chance, I’ll take it.
“It’s not going to happen.” she says. “We rarely even provide people repeat opportunities who have left voluntarily.”
“I can’t believe this… How could you do this to me? You gave me absolutely no warning.”
She uses the fact that she just got back from a vacation as an excuse.
“It’s so crazy…”
“You’ll be okay. You’re a good guy. Being fired is not the end of the world. Both Lisa and I have been fired before. Life goes on.”
I scowl at her.
“I don’t know what to tell you…”
“Nothing… There’s nothing to say. Goodbye Clementine. Thanks for everything.”
The next day I’m back to the nightshift. It’s weird because today would regularly be my Tuesday but this is my third day working. My friend Billy is here. During our team meeting I tell him that I started reading Against Nature. He asks me what I think of it.
“I have only read the first introduction, so, it’s hard to tell; but it seems like something I’m going to enjoy.”
He is happy to hear this and hopes that I will share status updates with him.
I am assigned to mystery which reminds me about last night’s Hannibal episode. I ask Billy if he watches it.
“I saw the first episode but for some reason didn’t keep watching.”
“That’s a shame. But it is common. However, it’s one of my favorite shows.”
“From what I saw, it looks really beautiful.”
“That’s a good description of it.” I say. “It is a very beautiful show.”
I go back to mystery and set my coffee on the sorting cart. Five minutes in and Lisa and Clementine show up, standing at the end of the aisle. Lisa curls her finger, beckoning me to follow her. They take me up a staircase back around the unpacking area that leads to a windowed room overlooking the store which the employees refer to as the crow’s nest.
“I’m going to be direct.” Lisa says “We’re letting you go.”
She wants me to give her my name badge.
“Clementine will walk you out.”
“Wait, wait, wait… What? You’re letting me go? Why!?”
“It is common consensus that you are lacking initiative. I guess the word I’m looking for is… lazy?”
“I had no idea you felt this way… Nobody said anything to me! You’re letting me go? You have to understand my shock. I have had absolutely no warning!”
“No warning? I find that hard to believe.”
I look to Clementine.
“Clementine, are you meaning to tell me that you share in this opinion?”
She nods her head.
“It was decided as a group.”
“But… I arranged those shelves so beautifully for you that one day, remember, history, the history section? Remember how much you complimented me on it and appreciated it?”
She nods and says it was nice.
Lisa is getting annoyed.
“Is there nothing I can do?” I ask “Give me a second chance!”
“Bibles listen, there are no second chances. It was coming up on time for your thirty day review, and as we were looking over your file we decided that it was pointless to do the review and that it was time to let you go.”
“That’s not how the review process works!”
“I’m sorry.” says Lisa “The decision is final.”
With my hands tied she walks me to the plank.
“Please don’t do this.”
“The decision is final.”