The Road to Glory - Pt 2"Ma'am. Wake up." My eyes opened instantly. McCord, my squadron's cadet commander and the other Color Guard trainer, was standing over my sleeping bag. I sat up, slightly groggy from lack of sleep, but mind already racing. McCord looked haggard. He had driven the 7 hours with 2 of our other guys from the squadron and had just arrived as I was falling asleep. They got less sleep than we did. "It's 5:30, ma'am." I frowned and looked at my watch as I stood.
Major Bonk, our squadron commander, showed up at 7. By then we had already showered and had a bit of practicing under our belts too. The guys were nervous and jumpy, and I knew we needed to get some food in their stomachs. We went off to McDonald's, keeping close eye on the time. They had to be ready for inspection at 8:30. They calmed a bit at breakfast, joking around and having a bit of fun. I on the other hand was incredibly sick to my stomach. Nervousness and worry had made my stomach problems flare up. I told m
The Road to Glory - Pt 1The sign said "Spearfish, 150 miles." We'd already been on the road for five hours, and the five guys behind me in the van had finally moved off the typical locker room humor and on to the subject of time travel. I listened absently as I drove, thinking instead of the long day ahead of us. I cast a glance in the rear view mirror and took stock in my team-- where they seemed to be at mentally and physically.
Meyer sat with his eyes closed, in silent meditation to the music being fed him through his headphones. Quiet and watchful, he was the oldest member of my team. This would be his last competition, for he would be turning 21 in a few months. He was my state flag holder, and we had pulled him onto the team only 2 weeks before. He had had some problems with his timing, but I knew he would perform well. He was also one of the fastest members of my group. I was counting on him to bring us a good time in the mile run.
Lohan, my team's alternate, was in the middle of yet another
Occupational Hazard - Part 57:40 p.m. - Why do we have to work so late? Five of us are slaving away at our desks, waiting for the magical moment of 8:30 to roll around so we can get OUT. Well, perhaps "slaving" isn't the right word. We are...making up words to "The Gambler", by Kenny Rogers. We've decided we need a sales team anthem. And what better time to get these important things done than after everyone's gone in the department but us?
Dan strikes up a tiny "string" instrument made from big paperclips and rubber bands, and Chris plays seriously lame air banjo as we chuckle and sing the words we have so far...
on a warm summer's eve
on an outbound call to nowhere
I met up with a customer
who was much too dumb to see
That I was calling only
to sell him crappy products
i sensed that he was easy prey
and I began to speak
I said, "Sir, I've made a life
out of 'helpin' folks get richer'
and givin' them the bank they need
when they didn't even know.
And if you don't mind my sayin',
you're in debt to your ey
Occupational Hazard - Part 410:43 a.m. -- We're bored. The boss is gone to some conference where they decide policies that affect us (usually as adversely as possible); Jody the Babysitting Gnome is out to some appointment; and we have nothing to do. Well, let me rephrase that. We have nothing fun to do. We've already thrown enough paper clips and rubber bands at each other to scare the crap out of the cleaning lady when she comes to vacuum later tonight, Ross has already broken the tiny basketball hoop put up at eye level by my boss in an effort to increase morale (Ross showed us a great dunk, but the poor $1.00 hoop just couldn't take "the THUNDA!"), and my cell*coughCUBICLE* -mate Kelsey has already loudly pronounced his view of the new CMS report, which stated that he was 14 seconds late coming back from his after-lunch break. We're sympathetic. We know he ate Taco Bell for lunch. We're surprised he made it back at all.
There is nothing so terrifying as eight guys and one girl, all early-to-mid-twentie
Occupational Hazard - Part 32:45 p.m. - I'm on the phone with a guy who called to ask for CD rates. He says he has to invest a small amount from his late mother's estate. That "small amount" is $940,900 and some-odd change. After crawling back up on my chair and wiping the drool off my face, I struggle to push images of "Kit Schroeder - Employee of the CENTURY" out of my head and coherently converse about financial solutions. He asks what position I serve in the bank (to ascertain if I was 'good enough' to discuss his situation), and I smiled into the phone as the words rolled off my tongue. "Of course, sir; I'm the Senior Financial Teleconsultant here." Now, this is true. Kind of. I am the senior member of my team [of 10 people, due to longevity, because 85% of phone bankers leave within 6 months...but these are all SUCH unimportant details...]. I HAVE been listed on the national Top 10 list for top salespeople in the bank nationwide for the last 2 months, but I figure it isn't the right time to ment
Occupational Hazard - Part 27:59 a.m. - I sprint into my cubicle, holding a McDonald's bag, a soda, and my dark blue nail polish. [Hey. It's Tuesday. It'll be slow.] I log into my phone quickly and collapse into my chair. Leaving my phone in "after call" status so I don't get any customer calls yet, I open up my Sausage McMuffin and inhale deeplysavoring the promise of grease-filled goodness. I'm mid-bite when my phone rings. The display says "Jody McMillian". Great. It's one of the "babysitter trolls". I slurp some soda, trying to empty my mouth before answering.
"Thith ith Kit." *swallow*
"Kit? Yeah. Hi. Um, I noticed you were a minute and 13 seconds late signing into your phone today. Just wanted to make sure you are aware that we don't like to see tardiness." Her nasal voice permeates everything that is good and right with the world and makes my sandwich taste like grade-school cafeteria tunafish.
"Uh, yeah, Jody. I had to put down my stuff. I'm on now though...check that monitor again!" I
Occupational Hazard - Part 1Ever called your bank? Of course. When you call and ask for the balance in your account, it usually goes something like this:
You: Yes, I need to check the balance of my account, please.
Bank: Certainly, hold one moment.
You: *wonders how they know who you are. Oh wait, the automated thing just asked you for your account number.*
--insert long pause--
Disembodied Bank Voice: THANK YOU for calling First Bank of Ass, where we LOVE to screw you royally! Please enter your account number and the pound key.
You: *punches numbers, thinking "Didn't I already do this? Where'd that chick go I was just talking to??"
[Note: That chick has put her feet back up on her desk and gone back to gossiping with the local Avon lady about your account. God forbid she look up your account herself.]
Disembodied Bank Voice: Thank you! Please hold for the next available banker.
--insert long pause--
Disembodied Bank Voice: Thanks for holding! Your call is VERY important to us. Please have your account
euphoria untitled 9forty-five dollars.
that's all they said
my wedding ring was worth to them.
1 3/4 carats of promises
that once sparkled in their purity
somehow dulled now
with the tarnish that comes with reality
the ring spun around the man's finger
as he peered into its core
with a tiny scope meant to find flaws.
I think he must have found as many as we did.
is all that the last three years of my life is worth.
my eyes welled up as i took the ring back,
closing it in trembling fingers.
i think i'll hang on to it for a while, i whispered.
Disjointedbroken words littered the disjointed
as her fingers connected racing thoughts
sending them through sparkling wires
hoping their meaning could be found
somewhere between the first/last/middle
on the other side
but couched in all that is frightened and wary
breath held in anticipation
it is all one and the same now.)
come here, she said,
in the stilted language of the lost
hoping against all odds he would understand
that what she offers is what she needs
and what she gives she will (need to) take
but only if he will close his eyes and open
(she had always been trained to accept
only what she was given.
no more; no less.
but that was before. this is
and this shaping/becoming/being
this blessed change is innocent in its purity
and yet tainted. always dirty with the truth.)
i am too broken to come this time, he said.
she sighed and whispered,
but the disjointed words fell through the cracks
of the breath