Thursday, December 15, 2016

An Unheeded Prophecy

No sun could be seen. A dense, early morning fog blanketed the entire city. This was Elliott's favorite type of weather. It muffled all the sound; everything was peaceful. That morning, Elliott had decided to take a walk through the park. As he languidly slipped through the masses of condensation, he saw two dark silhouettes in the distance. They just stood there. It seemed strange to Elliott given the temperature, but he had seen far stranger things in the town. He came nearer and nearer and then finally walked past. He walked twenty feet, then thirty, then forty, and still, nothing happened. Then he heard the man shout. "Your great fortune, true, it was your ruin." It penetrated the thick fog and seemed much clearer than it should have been. But this didn't matter to Elliott. He was late to work. Again.
Elliott walked through the back door of the Olive Garden and took his ritual last breath of fresh air. He tried to enter unnoticed, as if he had always been there working. Elliott tried to look as if he was simply returning from a trip to the dumpster, but his supervisor, Derek, stood right next to the doorway. Elliott averted his eyes, but that didn't stop Derek from telling him in his gruff tone, "Be in my office in five minutes." "Ah nuts," Elliott was thinking. Derek warned him multiple times that his tardiness would no longer be tolerated.  "A shift is a shift, you can't say it's only a half shift," he had repeated. What a TJ "Henry" Yoshi his supervisor was. 
Elliott sulked around outside Derek's office. He counted off the seconds that he had to himself before facing certain termination of his job duties. Finally, he had no choice but to enter. Elliott opened the door and took in the sight of the thoroughly unprofessional office. The chairs were from the front that were too ugly too use anymore, papers littered every horizontal surface, and it smelled of spoiled grease. Elliott sat down. Derek spoke first. "I've been looking over your records, and Elliott, you are easily the only choice I have." 
"Just get on with it," Elliott thought to himself.
"I got a call from corporate yesterday, and I won't be working here anymore. I've been offered a job at Olive Garden corporate in Orlando, and I need someone to take over from me. I think you're the best one for the job.
Elliott didn't respond.
"If you don't want to, I understand, but I think you have a real future with Olive Garden. I'd recommend pursuing it as a career," Derek continued.
"Thanks, I'll consider it," responded Elliott finally. His tone did not reflect  his words. He stood up and left. Throughout the remainder of his shift, he did indeed, however, consider the offer. He was on a path to become a meteorologist, yes, but it was not going well. He had failed two classes already and was having no greater luck retaking them. "Maybe this is what I am supposed to do," he thought with resignation. "It would be the easier thing to do, I'd have have job security at least," he thought as he left the back door of the Olive Garden into the misty, afternoon air. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2016


Elliott looked at his coworkers sitting around in the Olive Garden kitchen. Some leaned against walls and closed their eyes, others stared intently at cracks in the tile floor, and a few played with their thumbs. "This is so pointless," Elliott thought. Three days ago, the city's water shut off unexpectedly. Few citizens were working, but Elliott was signed up for a five-hour shift at Olive Garden today. It's not like they were doing anything though–all of the Olive Garden employees were forced to sit around silently waiting for nothing. It  was if their boss believed the water would come on any minute and suddenly flocks of people would come through the front doors demanding their Eggplant Parmigiana and breadsticks.

But five hours later, the faucets still ran dry, and no crowds had gathered at the entrance, so Elliott left. He knew he couldn't complain. Elliott was getting paid for five hours of work and could use the money, but he just felt so useless. He could have been studying, or cleaning, or doing anything else to get his life together, but there he was for five hours doing nothing. Elliott quickened his pace and became madder. He had so much to do, so much to learn, but his time was just being wasted. He heard a high voice call his name and groaned.

Monday, October 10, 2016

#2- This is living?

Elliott had a shakiness in his step as he walked home along a yellow, orange, and red tree-lined Blackbird Boulevard under a cloudless sky. A northward breeze blew the scent of garlic out of his oversized white work uniform. Fall was here. His six-hour shift at Olive Garden had just ended, but his day was only half over. He checked his watch, 4:10. Just under an hour to get there.

The Victorian lay looming 8 stories tall just over a block away. It was his only stop before his first day of class. He soon arrived and dashed up the grimy back stairs to the third floor, where he entered his humble apartment. Elliott walked to his desk and rummaged through drawers full of relics from his student past that he would soon be reliving. He pulled out a half used notebook of lined paper from his attempt at a biochemistry degree. He changed out of his fraying work uniform and put on his nice khaki pants and red polo. He looked down at his watch: 4:35. "Time to go," he thought to himself. Unfortunately for him, his doorbell rang.

Elliott hesitantly opened the door. A well-dressed man with brown hair and glasses held a camera and a professionally dressed woman clutched a legal pad and paper. "We're Rebecca White and John Davis from Southern Living magazine. Tell us about your life here at the Victorian. What makes it special to you?" the woman aggressively began interrogating.
"Sorry, I have somewhere to be," replied Elliott.
"Sir, this will only take a minute of your time," said the man. Elliott slammed his door with a bang and waited. "They'd have to leave soon, wouldn't they? What made him any interesting?" he wondered. He paced around his living room, glancing out of the peephole every minute to see if they were still there. Ten minutes later, they had left. Elliott dashed out of the door and down the back staircase. He fumbled for the keys to his mother's 2005 Toyota Camry and screeched recklessly away from The Victorian. He had to be on time. It was the first day of class, and Elliott wanted to just get one thing right for once.

He pulled into a parking spot outside of the university and dashed inside. He stopped just outside of his climate dynamics class and glanced at his watch: 5:06. "Goddamnit."

Thursday, September 22, 2016

#1 - A Whiter Shade of Pale

A sliver of pink sunlight creeps onto Elliott's face as he lies sprawled on a futon with stained bedsheets. His eyes slowly begin to open, but Elliott quickly succumbs to the draw of just a few more minutes of sleep. After dozing for what felt like seconds (but was really another ten minutes), a loud bang jolts Elliott awake. He sits up and rubs the sleep from his eyes. He inhales deeply. The aroma of musty gym clothing and greasy food fills the air. He scans his surroundings; on the shaggy carpeted floor lie a half-eaten pizza, several empty liquor bottles, and, crumpled in a corner, his oversized work uniform. No clocks are on. The explosion must have caused his power to go out, but it doesn't matter to Elliott. He sluggishly comes to his feet and picks up his phone from his bedside table. 7:34 PM. Crap–work is in 10 minutes. He steps over a sticky brown spot on the carpet from a piece of jelly toast he dropped last Thursday and pulls aside his curtains. A beautiful, deep purple sky illuminates his face as his glazed eyes stare back. Ribbons of pink cirrus clouds float high above puffs of cumulus clouds spanning the horizon. He sighs and thinks to himself, "what a terrible day to miss." Elliott backs away from the window and proceeds to put on his rumpled work uniform and splash water on his tired face and matted black hair. He leaves the confines of his apartment and lumbers down the two flights of stairs to the back door of The Victorian. The warm air of one of the last days of summer greet him. Elliott turns right and walks down Simone Boulevard several blocks until he comes to an unmemorable Olive Garden, where he walks around back. The smell of breadsticks and chicken carbonara waft over Elliott and nauseate him. He is reminded of the tables of birthday celebrations, business dinners, and old couples that he will waste his night waiting on in the coming hours. He stops briefly outside of the rear entrance. Elliott takes one last look at the now purple sky and walks inside.