Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Unemployment Rate (three word Wednesday - bait, jump, victim; and Flash Friday)

Hank had no reason to expect company at nine-thirty in the morning. Date and time had not meant much to him in over three months. He threw a plaid robe over his boxers, made a feeble attempt to push his hair back, and answered the knocking at the front door. A clean cut man in a grey business suit nodded and extended his hand.

“Mister Hank Rowan, I presume?”

Hank scanned the younger man quizzically through sagging eyes. Hank knew he looked like shit; his face was scruffy, his hair awry, his teeth not brushed, he had not been graced with a shower in two days. Still the suited man did not look phased by Hank’s unkempt presentation. He leaned on his door and croaked, “What do you want?”

“My name is Walter, I am from Domestic Services.”

“What can I do for you Walter?”

“I understand you’ve been unemployed for awhile now,” Walter claimed the briefcase resting against his ankle and maneuvered his way around Hank. The living room was as maintained as its occupant. Taken aback by Walter’s aggressive jump indoors, Hank spoke slowly, “I was victim of a layoff in March.”

“Sorry to hear that. How has your search for re-employment gone?”

“It’s a tough market out there. I’ve sent resumes, I’ve looked online. Temp agencies. Nothing. Been collecting for about seven weeks.”

“Maybe I should discuss my reason for the visit. I believe I can help you, Hank. The Presidency has been very concerned about the nation’s unemployment rate being so high. A small group of individuals like myself were hired by the government to see what we can do to remedy the situation. Think of my visit as a job interview brought to you.”

Hank rubbed his chin. He had never heard of such a thing. Still he was willing to hear Walter state his case. Almost anything Walter proposed could be better than eating Ramen noodles two meals a day, and still facing a foreclosure. Walter interpreted his doubt, “Our organization has succeeded over the second quarter in bringing the rate from 9.9 to 9.7. It may not seem like much, but it’s thousands of individuals we are talking about…”

Your group is taking the credit for the improvement?”

“You said it yourself Hank, it’s a tough market out there.”

“Alright then,” Hank took the bait, “What does your group do exactly?”

“Hank,” Walter pointed quickly and smirked, “I’m glad you asked. We look for unemployed and financially desperate individuals, such as yourself, no offense... and place them where they are no longer dependent on government funded support. This is creating a turnaround in national profit because we have reduced those relying on welfare.”

“Sounds like you’ve definitely done your part against the recession.”

Walter placed his briefcase on the filthy coffee table and unhinged the braces, “In fact, I guarantee I can get you to work by the end of the day!”

“That would be great! What kind of work? Do you need my resume?” Hank scanned the room, failing to locate his resume folder.

“No resume necessary Hank,” Walter revealed a .38 Magnum from the briefcase.

Hank froze in his footsteps, “You’re not really from the government, are you?”

Walter grinned, “I promised you some work. How are you with a shovel?"


  1. a gruesome twist at the end.. nice pacy narration!

  2. Aw, Jay this is fantastic. Love the ending, love the premise. Great stuff.

  3. Nice twist. I didn't see that coming even when I was expecting you to throw in some sort of a twist!

  4. Ah, for whom the bell doles :-)
    Enjoyed that. Great ending.

  5. Jay...Well done! Beautiful twist, great description. I could almost smell his breath. Now I want to know, how/why he was chosen for such distinguished assistance. hahahaha.

    Good job.

  6. Got fooled by the curveball, when I was looking for the curveball...darnit!

    Well done!

  7. An unexpected twist there. Done very well.

  8. I hate the ending! Why on earth is that?

    But beautifully narrated Jay! You always end with an unexpected twist!

  9. Nicely done. I knew something fiendish was coming, but not that!

  10. Did not see that ending coming. Great twist and superb pacing.

  11. Bwahahahaha! This tiny tale is great and packs quite a wallop.

  12. That was intriguing. Wow; it sounded so professional, right up to the end.

    I didn't know I'd missed your writings until I came back.


  13. Ah, a real story for the times! Very nice.

  14. Thanks everyone for your kind words. Glad to see that my expected twist was still.. unexpected. :-)

    Sadly there's too many Hanks out there these days, but that certainly does not mean we need Walters.

  15. I have no clue where it was leading but I didn't think it will end well, nice one