Tuesday, May 29, 2012



JESSE: The next day I woke up a bit sore. We had spent all day yesterday carrying in heavy boxes. I got up, scratched my balls and stretched. I noticed no one was in the room with me. I looked at the clock and was surprised to see it was
I walked into the living room and saw Joe and Darren standing in the kitchen. They were yapping at each other about something. "What time did you guys get up?" I asked, walking over to the counter.

Joe was a ball of energy swirling around the kitchen. He looked as if he took speed and washed it down with an energy drink. He looked over at me and said, "Since eight or nine!  It's a beautiful day in our new home!"

Darren added, "You and Jeremy are sleeping the day away."

"He's still sleeping then," I said through my own sleep-heavy haze.

Joe guzzled down some orange juice and said, "I think he just got up a few minutes before you. He's probably in the shower."

I said, "Well I better get ready to go look for a job. What are you boys planning?"

"A little exploring. A little job searching as well," Joe giggled.

Darren nodded in agreement. "I mean we have jobs once school starts but till then we want to bring in some cash."

I wished them all the luck in the world then walked back to my room where I grabbed my best clothes for job searching. I believe you should dress nice when filling out applications. I laid them out neatly and then hit the shower. I listened to some tunes and mentally prepared myself. I have a routine when searching for a job. First thing I do is start off close to home and then work my way out. So, I knew our first two stops would be the Goodings and Winn Dixie grocery stores, both of which sat down the street from us in direct competition with each other.

We would then move across the street to K'mart and the movie theater. Then we would have a choice of going right or left on University. When we first arrived we had driven down University coming from the left side. The obvious choice to me was right, as it would be more of an exploring option. None of us had any idea what was down that way.

JOE: Jeremy and I had gone that way the day before when my parents took us to the power company to get the power put into our names. There wasn't really anything that way for quite a ways if you happened to be on foot.

JESSE: Then why the hell didn't you tell me, Joe? I bet you just wanted to make me suffer. God Bless you, you evil, evil boy.  Anyway, I started to run my pattern in my head. When I look for a job I have a routine there too. I always ask for a manager after filling out an app. I introduce myself and ask questions. This shows you're interested in working there. I always finish it with pointing out the phone number on the app. I tell them I should be available here anytime if they wish to call me in for an interview. I follow this with "Unless you'd rather just do the interview now". This works for me every time. By the end of the week I'll almost always have an interview and sometimes even a job offer.

JEREMY: I remember this morning quite clearly because I woke to the sound of Joe and Dar watching Bladerunner in the living room.  They were laughing it up and damn near yelling to each other with no regard for those asleep in the apartment (I bet they were doing it on purpose, those rapscallions).  I laid there for a moment thinking how strange it was to not only be on my own for the first time in my life, but sharing a place with my three best friends in a whole other state.  It sunk in at last that this was for real.  We were on our own.  The thought was both scary and exhilarating.

JESSE: I walked into the living room, ready to start the search. Jeremy was also there, sitting on the floor playing Shadowrun, dressed sharp as always. I plopped down behind him, pulled out my wallet and counted out what little money I had. I was in the mind not only to stop for lunch but a bank as well. We needed to start some checking accounts.

Jeremy paused the game and asked if I was ready to go. I most certainly was. I discussed the game plan I'd thought up and asked for his opinion. He agreed with it by nodding his head. He stood up and headed to his room saying, "One last stop in the bathroom and we'll head out."

I smiled and said, "Quit primping in the mirror, Pretty Boy. Time to get some jobs."


We started out at Goodings. Jeremy and I both thought it was a classier joint. Winn Dixie from the inside out just seemed dirtier. We walked in, grabbed some apps and filled them out. I asked to speak to a manager.

She came down looking pissed off about something or another. This did not have anything to do with her mood. Her face just seemed to be fixed in a permanent scowl. She told us that she had job openings for bag boy or a produce clerk. She took the apps and thanked us for our time and said she would call us if anything became available. She then turned around and left us standing there. Jeremy and I both knew that call would never come.

JEREMY: We were never able to get a job at Goodings.  What can I say; the grocery store was just too classy for the likes of us.

JESSE: After that, we went right next door to Winn Dixie's. We walked in and did the same exact thing. This time out we only got the assistant manager, a rather plump fellow with a jolly disposition. He talked to us quite a bit. This meant they were desperate for help, leading both Riley and me to feel like we might stand a chance. He thanked us and said we'd hear from him real soon.

This place seemed a cinch to hire us but I figured we should keep looking all the same. I really didn't want to work at a grocery store again. So we left and headed right onto University. We soon found this to be a grave mistake.


At the time Jeremy and I did not know each other all that well. We had only met on those special occasions mentioned before. We both knew we liked movies and certain other things but we didn't know personal details nor could we say we were in each others’ confidences at this time. So this walk, as hot and odious as it was, was the first step in that awkward ‘getting to know you’ faze all eventual friends have to go through.

Jeremy was rather quiet and introverted the whole time. I searched my mind for topics of conversation. I then started to talk a mile a minute about anything and everything I could think of. I talked about the Simpsons, movies in general, and, of course, MST3K. Jeremy remained stoic but threw in a comment here or there. I then hit upon the topics of westerns and history. This sparked his interest even further. At the time Jeremy loved westerns and my talking about that particular era really brought him to life.

The conversation began to take on more of a two-sided dimension. After a while we were both chatty Cathies. I like to think that we started to bond and that's what started him talking. Who knows, maybe he thought if he talked a little I'd eventually shut up. He knows now that only death will shut me up.

JEREMY: Perhaps not even then.  I can see Jesse’s bloated corpse on the slab as the gas escapes with a “Phhfuckyouuumotherrrfuckerrsss.”

JESSE: As we continued our walk we started to feel the full force of the heat upon us. We were both wearing dress shirts and slacks. The heat seeped through our clothes and started to boil the sweat off our bodies. We began to dehydrate. Soon talking seemed like a valuable waste of energy, so we stopped. It was over 102 degrees out, or at least it felt like it.

Looking back on it we must have walked somewhere around four miles and we quickly figured out two things: Firstly, no job would be worth walking through all this heat for. Secondly, by the time we found a place to apply at we'd be dead from heatstroke so we unanimously decided to turned around and head back toward home. We weren't ready to give up just yet though. We would simply head the other direction, vowing that we wouldn't stop until we had at least ten apps in.



Jeremy and I trudged past a large campus that we would later be told was Full Sail. Either we didn’t think anything of it at the time or perhaps we thought it was a mirage conjured up by the intolerable heat, but we passed it by without so much as a glance and continued down to a strip mall near a bike trail. There really weren’t that many businesses in our general area.  It seemed the layout for Florida was meant for drivers not pedestrians. I ended up putting one app in at some place called Kids Jungle Gym or Discovery Zone or something like that. Jeremy filled one out there as well and we were on our way.

We headed back in the direction of Winn Dixie and crossed the street to hit K'mart. We both quickly went in and filled out apps. By this time we were both exhausted but this wasn't our main problem. Our main problem was that we smelled like sweat, which was no surprise since we were both pretty much drenched in it. We knew going anyplace else in our current state would just jeopardize us getting a job there so we decide to pack it in for the day.

On the way home I told Jeremy we would have to go to the video store and the movie theater the next day. He agreed that those would be great places for guys like us to work at. We also decided that since we had achieved half our goal today we could sleep in tomorrow.  We got home and both headed to our separate bathrooms to shower.  A quick change of clothes later and we re-gathered in the living room where we put in one of Joe's Simpsons tapes and, collapsing on the floor with the AC cranked to the max, basked in the crazy antics of those beloved carton icons.

JEREMY: We kept the air conditioner at maximum power for the first month.  It got so cold in the living room at times that I would have to wrap myself in a blanket but it was a blessing to feel that cool air hit you as you stepped through the door after trudging around in the heat and humidity.  That is, until we received our first electric bill for two-hundred-plus dollars, motivating us to turn off the AC and apply it only periodically the rest of our stay in the apartment.

Also, one of my favorite memories from this time was that we ordered pizza every night for dinner for the first several days, vowing to save some for lunch the next day, but between four hungry guys that was an empty promise at best.

JESSE: An hour later Darren and Joe came home. Darren had a big smile on his face. He blurted out the one thing we did not expect to hear. He had found a job.


JEREMY: Dar had secured a job at Ruby Tuesday as a bus boy and his first day was scheduled for the very next morning. He was strutting around, rubbing the fact that he was the first of us to become employed in our collective faces and then went to bed early so that he could get plenty of rest.

The next day around the phone rang. I answered it and Dar said, rather meekly, that he had been fired and was on his way home. Naturally, we were all curious as to what had happened. I mean, you would really have to screw up to get canned on your first day of work.

Well, Dar arrived home, drenched in sweat, his head downcast, looking near tears. He explained that when he arrived at Ruby Tuesday that morning the head chef asked him if he was the new cook. Instead of saying "No, I'm here for the bus boy position" Dar confirms that he is the new cook and spends the rest of the morning screwing up customers' dishes and garnering heaps of abuse from the chef. The whole ordeal reached its inevitable conclusion when Dar spilled a pot of boiling water on the chef.

Yes, folks, Dar was the first of us to secure a job and the first of us to lose one.

DAR: I thought I could do it.


JESSE: A couple of days after Darren lost his job I got a call from Winn Dixie. They asked me to come in for an interview and I was more than happy to oblige since no one else had contacted me. I hung up the phone without saying goodbye and ran to the shower.

I was interviewed by the head Assistant Manager. His name was Terry and the whole interview process went like this:

Terry: Thanks for coming in on such short notice.

Jesse: No, thank you.

Terry: So, you want the job?

Jesse: Yes, please.

Terry: All right, we have a test for you to take on a computer. Then tomorrow we need you to take a piss test.

I ended up starting work that night. They said my position would be changed around a lot until they settled on what suited me best. That night I worked as a stock boy and around that evening I went home exhausted and plopped in bed without a word to anyone.

I worked three other positions during my tenure at Winn Dixie. I worked in the Dairy, then I was the head of the bag boys, and, finally, I ended up being the floor cleaner in the mornings. It was a pretty shitty job all together. It paid the bills though and that's all that mattered. The most exciting part of the job was the piss test, but that's a tale unto itself.

JEREMY: On Jesse’s first day of employment Dar, Joe, and I were hanging around the living room, bored and full of energy.  To pass the time we began chatting about our adventures back in Indy as if the years had quickly passed us by.  While we were doing this we formed a semi-circle and began kicking the air mattress back and forth for no other reason than we could do it and not have a parent or grandparent yell at us to stop before we broke something. 

Well, after about five minutes of this one of us kicked the mattress too hard and it shot up into the paddle fan and broke off one of the revolving paddles. 

We all paused, looked at each other, and giggled profusely.  Anyone else would have stopped at this point but we continued on, kicking the mattress back and forth until we inevitably broke off another paddle.  It was only after the second time that we decided to quit as the paddle fan was now lopsided and could no longer circulate the air properly.  Let this be a lesson to all you youngsters out there that, more often than not, your elders actually know what they’re talking about.



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