Off to Work

Contributor: RD Wood

- -
There is a man who leaves for work each day, or so his wife and children think. He lost his job as a salesman at the insurance company on October 19th 1987 and has sat in the park ever since. The most painful hour of his day is the one before the park opens when he must wait in line with men he considers inelegant and gruff, ‘uncouth’ if he knew the word. His wife sometimes comments that his clothes never seem to grow old but he does not tell her that this is because he folds them away and does not work, that he sits all but naked in the park all day, always at the same place, which is a five minute walk from his old office and between the forgotten general who sits atop his horse with sword drawn and the poet with a frown and a book opened out.

After several years of this routine while on a school excursion with her youngest daughter his wife sees him and seemingly mistakes him for just another homeless man, though a fairly clean one, and hurries by with her head down ignoring the coins in his paper cup. The man just looks away.

They continue to live with this lie until the repossession company comes looking for them one afternoon. In her stress at the thought of being declared bankrupt and without her husband having heard of her extravagant shopping sprees, the wife is finally caught fucking the milkman the next day, as she had carefully done for years, by her youngest daughter who notices a resemblance to this naked man. The daughter tells the father, and relieved, he leaves them, free to get on with life and not compelled to pay child support.

He becomes a host on a cable show and bit by bit, day by day reveals all, reveals the sordid details of his double life. Everyone is disgusted by his demeanour on air. Yet, somehow this self-loathing performance works and he is a runaway success.

- - -
RD Wood lives in Melbourne. He has had work published in Southerly, Jacket2 and Best Australian Poems 2013. At present he is working on a chapbook of concrete nature poems.
Read more »
These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • Sphinn
  • Facebook
  • Mixx
  • Google
  • Furl
  • Reddit
  • Spurl
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati

Help keep Linguistic Erosion alive! Visit our sponsors! :)- - -