A Work in Progress

Of a young man trying to figure things out. In this first scene, the whereabouts of his sales commission. Told in the first person, his story is one of desperation, which like a newly planted seed, grows:

“What’s it say!” I yelled, trying to fight my way through. Jimmy at the front, smack against the building, his face practically on the square of paper. From three rows back all I could see was FBI in big letters across the top.

“Is it Broadnax they’re after!” I yelled, but

Jimmy wasn’t turning his head. He couldn’t because people were shoving from both sides, all trying to read what he was reading. Other employees of Live Well, I was sure. The few that weren’t shoving simply stood, passersby who after arriving flashed looks of irritation, like this woman in front of me. In a huge sweater, she was almost as old as our customers, but strong, using her elbow to keep me from passing. Having seen the article she had nothing better to do than plant her big butt here on the sidewalk.

“Is it Broadnax!” I yelled again.

“Course it is.” Rod Renelli, a first year salesman like me, had come from her other side. “Who else would scam Medicare?” he said from over her shoulder.

Our founder, he was talking about.

Another elbow, in my ribs this time.

“Please, lady, I work here. It’s my job at stake.”

She sniffed, looked to the front again.

“What are you saying, Rod?”

He wedged himself between her and a black guy who was closer.

“Rod, talk to me.”

“Later, I gotta see if there’s a place to go.”

He didn’t know either, that’s why he and the rest of us were fighting, trying to see where we’d go to get our commissions, in my case a better than usual month’s worth: four hundred and eighty-eight dollars.

From the front Jimmy was edging his way back, shouldering people aside, the smaller ones, getting through another row, a moment later he was almost to mine. “Hey,” I said, reaching out to him, the woman swatting my arm away. “Stop that.” She glared at me, then turned her angry stare, her jowly face hidden by a bush of hair.

Jimmy broke free of her two hundred plus pounds and at last I could grab his shoulder, the top of it.  His face turned. “What’d you read?” I said. “Does it say anything about us, where to go?”

He’d broken free of me and everyone else. He pulled the hood of his sweatshirt higher, and after turning, headed down the sidewalk, like he’d never even seen me.