Frequency: I (unemployed)

I (unemployed)

I can only try

It could have been anything or anyone. An unemployed man, a homeless person. It could have been a toy floating in the water, beckoning. Her back was only turned for a couple of minutes, talking to a neighbor about sunscreen or something, and then he wasn’t there. She was on the antidepressants, and maybe that made her less aware. Or something. It could have been anything. He just wandered off. There was no screaming.

I will try to show you around

There were a few months there when Charlie was between things. While he was unemployed they spent some time at the beach cottage and he really felt like they bonded during that time, father and son.

I need to find a different place

Johnnie alternately describes himself as “a traveler,” “a searcher,” “a free spirit,” “a freelancer,” “a seeker.” He never describes himself as “unemployed, living off of a dwindling trust fund,” though if the truth were to be told, that’s exactly what he is.

I do not like the look of this

You know those people who find gold coins on the beach, or winning lottery tickets in the breeze? Johnnie is sort of the opposite of that. Unemployed, bleary-eyed, and hung-over, Johnnie can go to the most beautiful places in the world, only to find the ugliest scenes.

I have to go away from my home

While he is flush and unemployed, Johnnie stays on the run, driving his way from one coast to the other and back again, keeping on the road, stopping only for fuel, coffee, drugs, and one-night-stands. Just passing through.

I will think on it long

Howard had been fascinated by dioramas as a child, and one day while his mind was unemployed by the threat assessment in front of him, it occurred to him that terrorists might think of places as sorts of dioramas too, the humans so many figurines to be immobilized and frozen in time.

I will go down to the well again

They went back to the cottage six months later because the therapist suggested it might be cathartic. The island was all but abandoned, the unemployed beach covered in snow. They walked along the water and remembered the day.

I must ask for an answer

Howard sometimes thinks of the quiet toxicity of the Cold War, and how certain concepts, such as that of the thankfully unemployed neutron bomb, might have ever been thinkable. Then he thinks about IEDs and metal detectors at schools and wiretapping and waterboarding and other things. Then he gets back to work on a diagram of Jersey barriers to be installed in front of a Department of Education facility in Kansas City.

I will try your other number again

Charlie dials the number that he has kept unemployed, secreted in a sleeve of his wallet behind his Krispy Kreme card buy-ten-dozens-get-one-free card for so long. While he knows it would destroy Anna if she knew he still had this longing, certain desires are hard to let go of under any circumstances.

I am not who you think

As an entrepreneur, Kent considered himself to have never been unemployed, even when he was without gainful income. Sometimes he got the vibe from someone, say in a singles bar or a chamber of commerce meeting, that she or he though Kent was a fraud. Just because he thought outside the box. Just because he could think different. Where others saw nothing, Kent saw opportunities. That was his secret weapon.

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