Ted adjusted his mask like a criminal. What an interesting time to be alive. He thought. Not long ago, dressing like this would arouse suspicion of anyone around. Now the whole world wanted you to be as covered up as you could possibly get. Ted absentmindedly strolled down the street, rather disgruntled. Plowing straight into a fire hydrant did not help matters. Ted did not realize how solid fire hydrants could be, until that very moment. A cheerful boy of about five years old ran by him singing, “Mr. Golden Sun”
“The sun hates me!” Screamed Ted after the boy, who did not respond in the slightest.
“All of life hates me.” Ted muttered to himself. Ted limped on. He had to get to the temporary work facility. The sooner the better. It was a first come, first served sort of arrangement. In minutes Ted arrived at the Temp agency. He was greeted, and I use that term liberally, by a gruff woman in her early 50s who had clearly seen better days. Life was hard for her, and it showed. For a first point of contact, the face of the organization, she was not particularly charming, which made it a wonder that she had gotten the job in the first place. None the less, Ted knew that he must impress her. Just like he had to for many days prior to this one.
“You’re back again?” Snarled the receptionist.
“Yep,” replied Ted.
“What do you want this time?” She said with a growl that could torment the soul.
“Something better than cutting out boxes.” Ted said as a matter of fact.
“You vaccinated?” She droned.
“I keep forgetting to do that!” Shouted Ted.
“Then it’s back to the large warehouse with you. It’s the only place you can maintain social distance” She said. It was a direct statement. There was no room to argue. Until Ted was fully vaccinated, his job prospects would not improve. Even an entry level data clerk position would be out of reach. Ted could type. Even that would pay more than box cutting.
The fanciest dream Ted could conjure up f.or his life was to become a lawyer. Unfortunately, in order to become a lawyer, Ted knew that you needed specific education. In order to get that specific education, you needed a lot of money. In order to even think about that, you needed a job that paid enough for you to save beyond your monthly expenses. Box cutting was keeping Ted alive physically, for the most part. As long as inflation cooperated with him. However, he was not in a space where he could dream. In order to do anything beyond this, Ted had to remember to go to a walk in clinic and get vaccinated. Ted was not against vaccines. He had never attended a rally. Life and its various circumstances had prevented Ted from accomplishing that goal in the present time. He thought about storming out of there. Running down to the nearest clinic and getting injected. If he had shot number one, at least the crazy lady would know that he was serious about changing his life. It was at this moment that Ted remembered that he must pay for the shot.
Disheartened by this setback, Ted signed on for the last remaining box cutting job and joined the non-vaxinated masses in the large warehouse.
Box cutting was tedious work. Cut the cardboard, fold the cardboard, repeat and try to beat yesterday’s record. Ted had not beaten any records in the last three weeks. He grew increacingly tired of the work with each passing day.
The day crept on. Ted had forgotten to pack lunch. His stomach continually reminded him. Nothing was on his side today. The buzzer sounded for quitting time. Ted ran out of there as quickly as he could, stopping only briefly at the pay window to collect his meager earnings for the day.
“Until tomorrow, Ted!” Said the old man in the window.
“What do I have to do to get your job?” Grumbled Ted.
“It takes a lot of organizational skills.” Said the old man.
Ted left in a huff. He had to get to the vaccination clinic before it closed.
Forgetting about the fact that there were stairs at the entrance of the building, Ted fell head long down all of them, ripping another hole in his old suit.
“Presentation is everything!” His parents had said at some point when he was growing up. “No matter what job you have, you should take it seriously.” Ted stood up and dusted himself off. He limped off toward the vaccination clinic. Perhaps they might be able to help with his bloody knees as well.
Half an hour later, Ted arrived at the vaccination clinic, just as the last nurse was leaving for the night.
“Sorry, we are closed. Try again tomorrow!” She said cheerfully.
Her happy demeanor was not helping Ted at all. Weighing his options, he realized it would be best if he tried to treat his injuries at home. A trip to the emergency room would mean not being able to pay rent.
Upon arriving home an hour later, Ted realized that he did not bleed out, but it was of paramount importance that he clean out his cuts. Blood stains now accompanied the rips. He was going to have to live with that. Dry cleaning was a luxury, and not an option today. The only consolation for the day was that he had enough bandages and gauze in his medicine cabinet to do the job. After accomplishing this small feat, Ted went to bed. Nothing bad could happen to him while he slept.