[Please comment on this. If you don't like it, rip it apart and tell me why. If you enjoyed it, I'd like to hear what you liked about it, and if applicable, what you think I can do to improve. Either way, you won't hurt my feelings. - SD]
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It's been a long day for you.
You are in a nondescript drinking hole, nestled between a rather large bearded woman and a thin, wiry man in coat six sizes too big for his body. The bearded lady reaches over and gives your thigh a squeeze, but you slap her hand away. She takes the hint and wanders over to the drunk teenagers laughing in the corner.
After a few drinks you strike up a conversation with the man next to you.
'So what type of job do you do?' you ask.
He puts down his drink and leans over.
'I die for a living,'
He tells you this in a whisper, his words barely audible and swimming from his thin lips until each syllable penetrates the retina of your left eye. Your brow twitches spastically.
'It's an industry that can take you places. Not many people realize the opportunities that they have.'
His hand materializes, holding a palm-able slip of paper.
Curious, you take his card. You squint at what appear to be indecipherable ink scrawls marring its surface.
'I work in an office,' you blubber. 'I make reports.'
'What kind of reports?'
You try to recall what it is exactly that you do. Despite efforts to recall even the faintest memory, you remember nothing of the last eight hours.
'Does your vocation make you happy?' he continues.
You tilt your head back and deposit the last bit of alcohol into your gaping word-hole.
You think about the austere shoebox masquerading as your office, how it reeks constantly of nail polish remover and soiled bandaids, and how you have to sign a never-ending white scroll every time you feel the urge to expel bodily fluids.
You think about the three legged chair you've been assigned, the one that seems to move a foot to the left or a foot to the right every time you try to sit in it, and how week after week your pleas for a replacement get lost in an asphyxiating sea of corporate jargon.
You think about how your parking spot is not even five feet wide, and how the fat man who works in the mail room always parks his moped in your fucking space.
You think about the low ceilings that force you to walk on your knees, and the curiously flavored, cloudy yellow liquid dripping from the water cooler nozzle.
You think about your coworkers: faceless Q-tips shuffling silently down cubicle row, carrying files and overloaded cardboard boxes from place to place like sedate lemmings.
You think of the line of cocaine you did in the men's room at lunch.
(You forgot to sign out).
'No,' you finally say. 'It has sapped my will to live.'
At this point he claps you on the shoulder, then shakes his head somberly and gives it a friendly squeeze. 'Maybe it's time to start looking for a new job.'
'How did you get into the business of dying?' you ask him.
'I know people,' he tells you smugly, producing a thin, hypodermic needle from the penumbra of his coat. He lifts it absently to his gums and continues. 'It's easy money, you know.'
He begins to outline the various assignments he carries out on a daily basis:
1. Testing the flame retardant capabilities of spandex shorts.
2. Ingesting rat poison.
3. Measuring the toxicity of felt pens.
4. Drinking gasoline.
5. Handling highly unstable explosives.
(Here he pauses to explain that there is no greater rush than that of spontaenous, remorseless dismemberment.)
'You sound like you enjoy your work.'
'We all have to go- why not get paid for it? I see no point in rotting away at a desk in a wretched hole that some inhuman machine dug out of the ground. Besides, once you die, you begin to cherish life that much more.'
'Does it pay well?' you say, suddenly interested.
'How could it not?'
'Do you have dental?'
'Will I get my own parking spot?'
'We accommodate everyone. No one gets preferential treatment.'
You study him for a minute or two, though by now you are so inebriated that it becomes a struggle to maintain consciousness. Still, you suppress the urge to vomit and find the strength to open your mouth.
'Well, I think I might look into switching jobs. You know, play the field a little.'
'What's the risk?'
'There is no risk. And, trust me, everyone in this business has a future. We truly value our employees. If you die well, it's very easy to be promoted.'
'When can I get an interview?' you ask abruptly, cutting him off.
'You just had one.'
'When's my first assignment?'
'You're living it. Here,' he says, sliding another drink under your face. 'This one's on me.'
"Imperious, choleric, irascible, extreme in everything, with a dissolute imagination the like of which has never been seen... there you have me in a nutshell, and kill me again or take me as I am, for I shall not change."
From his Last Will & Testament, Marquis de Sade