Got a call last week about the perfect day gig. One of those out of the blue dream jobs. They loved the resume. Tracked me down. I aced the phone interview. The in-person went even better on Monday. I was “the perfect candidate”. Felt good about it, I was obviously the prime contender. Went out for drinks and dinner with the wife. It was hot and the restaurant was cool, the margaritas even cooler. Tuesday began ominously…no genius grant. Again? Hell, I write good. Or would that be the Pulitzer. One of those aw shucks it was nothing awards. Whatever, I didn’t get one. Could have used that half a mill. Who do you have to fuck in this town to get a genius award? Still, the day went well. Then at 5 pm came the email. Spare, impersonal, third hand even…I was no longer under consideration. The prose was taut and resonant. Think Hemingway read aloud by HAL the computer. I stared in disbelief. WTF? What had happened? I had dressed nice and everything. Even in the 106 degree temp there I was looking sharp, all in black, black blazer….hell, I’d hire me, and I don’t even like me. Maybe my “agent” was a prick. Agents can be pricks, even employment agents. Though mine is a really nice guy, actually. So maybe the weasely guy at the interview black balled me. You know the type. Or maybe one of my references talked trash, tho’ why I can’t imagine. Maybe I just came off as a jerk and they were way too nice to tell me so. Whatever. Poof…the dream gig was gone. Yet another good break gone bad…. A lot of those lately. Four years’ worth. I must have pissed some goddess off somehow. One of the ball breaking, unforgiving ones.
Anyway, I should have gotten drunk. You would have gotten drunk, admit it. But I didn’t. I had a PBR that was in the fridge, Then some milk. Milk. What kind of loser drinks milk when his dream job slips through his fingers? What kind of Irishman am I? The disgrace of the family, the sober one. A long line of boozers singing Little Bit of Heaven Fell From Out the Sky One day and mumbling about Bing Crosby and then there’s me, the lightweight. Sigh…. Well that PBR wore off hours ago and here I am still sulking, awash in an ocean of self-pity and what am I doing? Writing this. I always write stuff like this when things go wrong. And lately a lot of things have been going wrong. A novel’s worth. A War and Peace. The remembrance of things pissed right down the drain.
Well, time to hit the bricks again, I tell myself and punning unintentionally. Maybe I’ll get off my creative ass and try and score a writing gig, as is such things existed, or that I liked doing them. But money is money and money I like.
Saw a chunk of A Day at the Races today. God those Marx Brothers were funny. Even after Thalberg tamed them. Too much anarchy for Hollywood. But you watch the Marx Brothers and wish life were like that. Just like that. Anarchistic and giving it to the man. An endless blur of self referential jokes. Pianos that disintegrate and authority figures so dumb they don’t know they have their pants on. Blondes to be chased up stairs and down again. Singing Sweet Adeline and eating crackers in bed. But you need a day gig to pull that off. And oh what a day gig that would have been. The most beautiful studio I have ever seen. Fountains, streams, a pond the size of an olympic pool. Koi the length of your arm played in its waters, living slow, perfect, endless lives and looking absolutely beautiful. I watched one rolling lazily near the surface, all gold and creamy white and tried to imagine being one. I couldn’t. All I could think of was just how cool it would be to work in a place that was more beautiful than any jobsite deserved to be. I imagined walking the grounds on some errand or another, belonging there. It was fun to think about.
But back now to reality. I promised the wife I’d take out the garbage.
And maybe another PBR before bed. Living dangerously. F Scott Fitzgerald would dig it. He and Zelda. They probably roamed these very streets. They might have staggered down the very steps outside my window after some wild Hollywood party. Raymond Chandler lived only a hill away, drinking and unable to write. Sylvia Plath tried suicide at the far end of the reservoir. Bukowski lived in squalor nearby, writing his shitty poetry. Don Van Vliet discovered words at the other end of Waverly Drive, and my brother lives in Tom Waits’ old house. Tom told him so himself.
Me? I got to take out the garbage…..