I gave up looking for Emmett’s body down by the creek and climbed back up the hill to the house. I checked my face for damage from the fall, and had a cut by my eye where my glasses broke.
My friend Ted lent me a pair of frames for the job interview; the prescription was close enough but they were a bit big and kept slipping off.
The job was library attendant for the local university. It meant I’d have to work nights until about 2 AM, but I was taken by the romance of that – and the thought of perving-out on college girls.
I probably came across overly confident and a bit odd: several years out of college, with jobs in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Seattle, then returning east for reasons unspecified, to my hometown.
They took the time to type a personalized rejection letter and mail it to me, dated January 1998. I saved it and typed a poem on the back.
Shortly after, I found work through a temp agency at Air Products & Chemicals, Inc. – manufacturer of industrial gases and specialty chemicals. They started me off distributing reports that came off a computer each morning. I separated the reports by CSR name and pushed them around on a Rubbermaid cart, hand-delivering them to each of the reps. I have no idea what they did with the information.
They put me with an aging secretary who was about to go out on leave, so I could learn her work and take over after she left. She had bad posture and her face was wired tight with a constant frown. One day, I sketched the back of her in contrast to the large computer monitor she served, to illustrate the loss of humanity in the face of technology, as expressed in her weakened back and obscured face. I have the drawing framed by my desk at work now to remind me of my roots.