Wednesday, August 24th, 2:12 P.M.
I spent the morning working on my osher skills. I thought I'd better get as much work in as I can before I start work on Monday. Who knows how much time I'll have for osher after that. I'd certainly have to stop spending my mornings spying on Valerie. Oh, what a loss that is.
I was roaming around downtown, hoping from one rooftop to another, when I came upon Delany as she was at lunch. At least I think she was at lunch. It was the right time for lunch and I know people like the fresh air and solitude that comes from being on a rooftop alone, but I don't think people get much nutrition from a pack of cigarettes.
Delany was looking out at the other buildings completely oblivious to what was going on around her. I managed to sneak right up to her, and sit next to her before I grabbed her attention. "Hey Delany."
Delany was startled to find out I was there. "Aah! Damn it, Hato. You nearly gave me a heart attack."
I smiled at her and said, "Oh, I'm sorry."
"No you're not." To help calm, her nerves, Delany took a long drag on her cigarette. "What are you doing up here anyway?"
"Nothing much. Just doing some osher exercises on the rooftops of our barely tolerable city."
"Shouldn't you be working right now?" Clearly Delany was annoyed with me.
"I don't start work untill Monday."
"Oh. Well, what about an apartment. You don't want to be one of those losers who lives with his parents untill they die."
"I've been looking for one. It's hard finding a place when you only make eight-fifty a month."
"Eight-fifty? You lucky fuck," Delany said dismissively.
"What do you mean?"
As she stamped out her cigarette, Delany said, "Nothing. It's just that I work too fucking hard to only be making four hundred a month."
I was shocked by this. "Four hundred a month? That's fucking obscene."
As Delany began to dig another cigarette out of her pack, I asked her, "If I'm having problems finding a place to live, where are you living?"
Just before she sparked up, Delany said, "With my brother." Delany lit her cigarette and continued. "Daniel had an extra room, so, after some light haranguing from my mother, he let me have it."
"No, I have to cover the cable."
"Oh, that's nice."
Delany took another drag on her cigarette and said, "Why don't you stay with Sparra?"
"I already asked him, but he said he's rooming with Wanda, and they don't have any extra space."
"Wanda told me she was rooming with her boyfriend, so she and I couldn't be roommates. It's too bad because, thanks to stripping, she is loaded."
Then a realization hit us. This caused me to drop my jaw and Delany to drop her cigarette. Delany spoke first. "Wow. Sparra and Wanda are together."
I spoke next. What I said was significantly less significant. "Wow. Strippers make a lot of money."
Delany noticed her cigarette on the ground, put it out with her shoe, and said, "I should go back inside. I'm not going to make my pitiful salary by taking a long lunch."
At that moment I thought about asking Delany out on a date. "Yeah, I'd better go too. That radio tower isn't going to climb itself."
"Be safe up there."
"I will, maybe." Delany and I left that rooftop. Delany left to go back to work, I left to go back to death defying activities I won't be able to engage in after I start work. I know I should have asked Delany out when I thought to do so. I'm really regretting not doing that now.
On my way home, this time utilizing traditional routes to do so, I picked up one of those free apartments for rent newspapers that are right next to the free newspapers people use as rolling papers when they get high. I'm hoping to find something, anything, within my price range so I can move out of my parent's house. Then again, I was also looking for a good job, and look how that turned out.
So, yeah, this is a thing that actually available in America from an American store.
I have one question to ask about this: Can I get a plate that reads "In Nothing I Trust"?
Zynga V. Taylorsville
Recently Kobojo settled a copyright infringement lawsuit brought by Zynga over it's Pyramidville game. Zynga claimed that Kobojo's use of the suffix "-ville" infringed on their game Farmville. This case was settled out of court with Kojobo changing the name of it's game Pyramidville to PyramidValley.
Outside observers have said that this case was settled out of court because of Kojobo's small size compared to Zynga. If the case had gone to trial, Kojobo would have had a tough time mounting a competent legal defense due to it's limited resources. Such an observation may be put to the test with the next lawsuit Zynga plans to pursue. Zynga's new lawsuit also goes after a small entity with limited financial resources, due in part to the downturn in the American economy. On Tuesday, Zynga filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Taylorsville, Utah.
You read that right, Zynga is suing Taylorsville, Utah. Taylorsville is not a company, a band, a blog, or any kind of privately held entity. Taylorsville, Utah is a city. Taylorsville is a city in Salt Lake County, Utah, United States. It is part of the Salt Lake City, UtahMetropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 57,439 at the 2000 census. Taylorsville was incorporated from the Taylorsville-Bennion CDP and portions of the Kearns CDP on April 24, 1996.
When reached for comment, President of Zynga Mark Pincus gave the following statement:
For too long many city, town, municipalities, and other podunks have flaunted their disregard for the copyright that we hold. Zynga invented -ville. Before Zynga came along, no one ever used the suffix -ville for anything. That is an established fact, established in a court of law. If anyone dares to disagree with us, Zynga dares them to face us in a court of law. We will emerge victorious for we are a corporation, and, in the eyes of the law, we are right."
When asked by this publication for a comment Russ Wall, the Mayor of Taylorsville refused, stating:
All you publications are a part of the lamestream biased liberal media. We do not tolerate your kind here.
The case is expected to go to trial next August, unless it get settled out of court beforehand.
On Thursday, stories started circulating about an upcoming movie project involving Arnold Schwarzenegger. This project was reported to feature the former California Governor reprising his role as Conan the Barbarian. This movie was reported to be a continuation of the franchise that Schwarzenegger starred in during the 80's, not a continuation of the franchise starring that one guy from the first season of Game Of Thrones who we never understood and died for some reason.
On Friday the story that was reported began to unravel. Upon contact with the studio responsible for the project, Universal Studios, the true details of the project began to be revealed. The Conan project that Arnold Schwarzenegger is signed on to is not a continuation of the Conan The Barbarian franchise. Rather, the project is a biopic about Conan O'Brien.
Arnold Schwarzenegger is set to star in Conan: The Only Likeable Ginger Ever. This movie follows O'Brien's time while host of the Tonight Show, his departure from NBC, and the various nerd riots that occurred during that time. Other people attached to the project are Will Arnett playing the role of Andy Richter, Brandon Flowers playing the role of Max Weinberg, and Deon Cole to play The Sexiest Black Man On TV, a role loosely based on himself.
Another name attached to this project is making waves among the conservative press. In the movie, former NBC executive Jeff Zucker is portrayed as a devious, conniving, dumb man who is set out to ruin Conan O'Brien's career, and also the prospects of any red haired person having any sort of role in the entertainment industry. To fill this role, producers sought someone who has experience with the role and can accurately portray a man who is unapologetically and irremediably evil. Attached to play the role of Jeffery Zucker is former conservative talk show host Michael Savage.
Conan: The Only Likeable Ginger Ever is set, like many other projects, for a summer 2014 release.
Monday, August 15th, 9:17 A.M.
I just got the call that I got the job at the school. Finally! My job search is over. Now for the next search, trying to find an apartment. With the paycheck I'm going to be pulling in, I'm not sure what I can afford.
Thursday, August 11th, 6:47 P.M.
Today was my second interview for the janitorial position at Moenia Prima Elementary School. This one was interesting. I showed up at the school early for my interview, like I usually do. However, unlike how it is normally, it seemed to me I was the only one being interviewed, or, at the very least, I was the only one who bothered to show up.
After waiting for a short amount of time, Valerie came into the room where I was sitting. "Hato, could you come with me, please."
"But I'm waiting for a job interview."
Valerie smiled and said, "Yes, I'll be one of the people interviewing you." I followed Valerie down a short hallway to a small office where I was interviewed the first time. I had to stop myself from staring at Valerie's beautiful long legs and I followed her, so I thought of one of the times I had secretly seen Valerie getting dressed. I should have just stared at her legs.
Inside the room, I met Conrad Le Barton, the man who conducted the first interview, and a man I know far too well, Allen Furcifer. Allen Furcifer was the Vice Principal at Moenia Prima High School, which is the high school I graduated from. Allen Furcifer is also a dick. Now, I don't mean dick in the sense that all Vice Principals are dicks. I mean dick in the way that anybody that's in an unquestionable position of authority becomes a dick.
I sat down in front of my three interviewers. Valerie was smiling with her hands folded neatly in front of her. Conrad wasn't looking at me, he was busy looking over my paperwork. Mr. Furcifer has this scowl on his face that looked like he had just eaten something that tasted like ass, smelled something that smelled like ass, and was looking at something that looked like ass. Not that fine ass that Valerie has, the kind of ass I imagine Mr. Furcifer has. Old man ass.
The interview itself was generally positive. Valerie asked me questions having to do with my personality and my outlook on life. Conrad went over my qualifications and past work experience. Mr. Furcifer aggressively questioned my work ethic, questions that I answered adeptly, bolstered by info from the paperwork sitting in front of Conrad. The interview didn't go as swimmingly as the one I had with the DFPS, but I've had worse interviews. A lot worse. This interview was miles better than my interview at Warrior Technological.
Let's Put Power To Work
There is something that I find disturbing about the recent revelations involving Lance Armstrong. In their piece written for Sports Illustrated, Alexander Wolff and David Epstein pour over "164 pages punctuated by chilling detail, and more than 850 pages of addenda and documentary evidence". The piece details testimony obtained from many different witnesses from many different walks of life who filled many different roles in Lance Armstrong's life and his doping.
"A Massive Fraud Now More Fully Exposed" is based mostly on sworn testimony obtained by federal officials. A lot of investigative work went into getting to the truth behind Lance Armstrong's doping allegations, which lead to Armstrong feeling the consequences for his actions. Why is this kind of effort not being put into investigating the alleged crimes committed by the people responsible for the banking crisis in 2008? Why has no one responsible for the banking crisis been convicted, or even brought to trail?
In a September 3, 2012 piece written for Rolling Stone, Matt Taibbi detailed the disparity in the resources put into investigations made involving banking officials and athletes. Quoting from the piece:
The government assigned 93 agents to the Clemens case, who collectively interviewed 179 individuals in 68 locations and produced a total of 235 reports. The mortgage task force? It was stuck at “about 50 or 60″ attorneys for much of the year, according to insiders – and many of those first staffers were provided by smaller federal agencies like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Did this story make much of a dent in the national narrative about these investigations? No. Did the Department Of Justice make any corrections to close this disparity? No.
On April 27, 2012, before Matt Taibbi's story was written, 60 Minutes did a piece where they detailed fraud perpetrated by the CEO of Lehman Brothers before it's collapse. 60 Minutes told of how Richard Fuld signed documents asserting that Lehman Brother was a financially sound organization, assertions which he knew to be false. This action by Richard Fuld was not only fraudulent, it was a crime, a violation of Securities and Exchange Commission policy. Did this story make much of a dent in the national narrative about Lehman Brothers? No. Did the Department Of Justice take action in response to this story? No.
On March 1, 2009, 60 Minutes did a story about Harry Markopolos. Harry Markopolos on several different occasions warned the SEC about investments made by Bernie Maddoff, warning that the SEC did nothing with. In fact, as this story details, the SEC didn't find out about Bernie Maddoff's ponzie scheme untill the scheme was on the verge of collapse and Bernie Maddoff told officials of his crime. Did this story make much of a dent in the national narrative about Bernie Maddoff? No. There are people who still think that the SEC busted Maddoff, when it was Bernie Maddoff who dropped the dime on himself.
Recently, the Curt Schilling headed 38 Studios collapsed in a way that directly affected the public. 38 Studios received loans from the state of Rhode Island, loans that it defaulted on. The studio collapsed, causing 309 people to lose their jobs. Not only that, several of the people who lost their jobs found out that they had more outstanding debt than they thought they did. As a part of hiring people to work on it's projects, 38 Studios offered help with moving expenses to perspective employees. This help included taking on the home loans of several employees. 38 Studios promised that they would sell the homes on behalf of the employee so that the employee could buy new homes near their new jobs. As it turns out, they didn't. Several of the people who had previously been employed with 38 Studios not only found themselves out of a job but also drowning in debt. On September 30, 2012, it was announced that no criminal charges would be filed in relation to the 38 Studios collapse. Did the collapse of 38 Studios, the unfulfilled promises they made to taxpayers and employees, and the regulators inability to find anything worthy of a criminal prosecution make a dent in the national narrative about corporate culture in this country? No. Did the Department Of Justice learn a lesson from the regulatory failures of the banking collapse? Clearly no.
There is something wrong with this situation. Corporations have and continue to commit fraud. Ordinary people continue to take it on the chin when corporations commit fraud, costing the ordinary consumer money and jobs. Regulators, politicians, and business leaders vow to make changes to prevent situations like this from happening. But they still happen. They keep on happening. The situation never seems to change. What's worse, people aren't demanding that it does change. They just put their hopes in the same people who have promised to make the changes they want, who then fail to do so. Why? Why aren't people up in arms about this? Why aren't people outraged about this? Why aren't people doing anything about this?
Sure, we had the Occupy protests, some of which continue on to this day, but those protests weren't organized around a single goal. All the Occupy protests amounted to was a bunch of people sitting in the park talking about how things sucked without actually doing anything to make it not suck.
Change needs to be made. The people who commit financial fraud don't need to be brought to justice, the customers who made committing fraud such an appealing proposition need to not do business with fraudsters and thieves. We need to look at the people we do business with and see if they are good honest people before we do business with them. We cannot count on those who commit financial fraud to be brought to justice We have seen through the regulators actions that the people who are tasked to enforce the rules are more interested in pursuing athletes, who's financial impact on out society is minuscule compared to people who commit financial fraud.
We have a power as customers in financial matters. Let's put that power to work.
Monday, August 8th, 5:30 P.M.
Today was my interview for the janitorial position at Moenia Prima Elementary School #1, or as my friends and I called it when we went there, The Pee School. Yes, we were that young and we made jokes that stupid. I feel no shame for it.
The interview went well, so well that they want me back for a second interview on Thursday.
Friday, August 5th, 11:06 A.M.
First thing this morning I got a call from Valerie. She told me that she had gotten me a job interview at the school she works at. It's for a janitorial position, not a good job but it's a start. I thanked her for what she'd done for me then hung up.
The janitorial position is a good one, it's better than the nothing I'm doing now, but I was hoping for something better, something substantial, something liberating. I've been thinking for some time about leaving. Not just leaving Moenia Prima, but leaving Dolore altogether. Velas, especially the city of Amcan, is a place that has always appealed to me for some reason. The music that comes from Velas is better than here, the television is more varied than the drivel produced here, and the food seems to be more vibrant. Although, if I'm completely honest, the main appeal of Velas is that Velas is not here. Velas is not Dolore.
Today I acted on these thoughts, and attempted to access a Velasian job hunting website. When I tried to access it a message from the Dolore government came up telling me it was blocked. Weird. So I tried going to the Velas Broadcast News Service website. It was blocked. Weird. Just as a test, I tried going to Megaphone, the biggest music television and radio service for Velas. It was blocked. Weird.
I'll have to find out what's going on.
This week it was reported that the recently released Majesco title NBA Baller Beats sold only three thousand copies in the first week of release. While this is am embarrassingly low number, more embarrassment can be found if you dig down into the numbers.
According to analysis done by Wedbush Securities, a small number of the titles purchased were bought by independent video game bloggers. These bloggers were reviewers who could not get review copies of the game from Majesco. These purchases amounted to 132 of the 3000 copies of the game that were purchased. The other two thousand, eight hundred and sixty-eight copies of the game bought by one entity.
On September 11, 2012, the day that NBA Baller Beats was released, 2686 copies of the game were purchased from one store by one person. The person is Kevin Cashman. Kevin Cashman is the President of the Lambda Lambda Lambda fraternity at Adams College. This purchase was made with a Lambda Lambda Lambda credit card, which is supposed to be used only for Lambda Lambda Lambda business.
When pressed as to whether or not he had misused Lambda Lambda Lambda funds, Kevin Cashman, pictured above, said the following:
"Purchasing those video games was not done for the nonexistent entertainment value found in those games. Rather, those video games were purchased in order to maintain the aesthetic value of the Lambda Lambda Lambda fraternity. Recently, we have run out of AOL demo discs to use as coasters to prevent water rings showing up on our wooden furniture. In order to refill our supply of coasters, and maintain the general aesthetic started by the use of CDROMs as coasters, I made the decision to purchase multiple copies of NBA Baller Beats. We do not intend to play any of the copies of NBA Baller Beats that were purchased, they will be used only as coasters."
Majesco spokesman Stan Gable said in response, "Our goal as a company is to provide a product that many people can enjoy in many ways. Using our product as a platform for liquid nourishment is one of the emerging markets that we hope to capitalize on."
This statement seems to reflect a change in the philosophy at Majesco. Majesco appears to be making strives to make video games that people use in other portions of their lives, not just playing video games. Majesco's philosophy appears to mirror ones held by the newspapers, magazine, and junk mail industries.
Tuesday, July 26th, 2:12 P.M.
Today I have an interview at one of the prospects I received from the job placement center. The interview is at Kluckles, a fast food place in a verbrecher part of town. A fast food place. That's what I've been reduced to. Fuck.
I left early so I could swing by Valerie's place and spy on her again. I know that I shouldn't be using my osher skills in this manner, and that I should be really ashamed at myself for doing so, but fuck it. I'm broke, unemployed, and without a girlfriend right now. Non of that excuses what I'm doing, but fuck it.
Anyway, after Valerie had finished dressing, I started making my way over to the bus stop just down the road a piece. With visions of this absolutely stunning woman still playing in my head, somebody tapped me on the shoulder as I waited at the bus stop. "Hi Hato. How are you doing?" It was Valerie and I thought I was toast.
"I'm doing well Miss Membantu. How are you?"
"I'm swell, but please, call me Valerie." Valerie's use of the word swell was particularly apt at that moment. I was trying desperately to shift my mind away from Valerie's toned and taught body to something I did not find erotic. "So, off to the salt mines, are you?"
"I wish. No, I'm off to a job interview." The thought of my ongoing job hunt did the trick in making my swelling go down.
"Who are you interviewing for?"
Valerie got this disgusted look on her face. "Kluckles? You mean that fast food joint that advertises that they serve chicken, but actually serves a mixture of donkey meat, turkey innards, and bovine penises?" I have no idea why my swelling returned at that moment.
"Yeah, that's it, although I had no idea they served cow dick. Where did you hear that?"
"ON VBNS. Have you tried looking for a job at the job placement center by the opfer cultural center?"
"I did, and this is the best they can get me."
Valerie looked disappointed. "Oh, that's not good to hear." Valerie reached forward and touched my arm. Her skin is softer than I imagine it to be. "Listen, I have some pull with the school district. I'll see if there are any open positions you can fill." What Valerie said made me feel good, and not just because she said open positions. Valerie broke her touch with me just at the bus pulled up. "Is this bus yours?"
It was my bus but I knew it would have been awkward to continue to talk with Valerie and ride the bus with her while I was still swelling. "No, I'm waiting for the-" I looked at the sign, hoping to find another bus that stopped at that stop. Thankfully, there was one "-the forty-four."
"Well, allright then. It was nice talking with you. Hope I see you again."
"Same here Miss Membantu."
As the bus slowly drove off, I began to regret all the times that I had spied on Valerie. I regretted it because I think I'm starting to develop a friendship with Valerie, and it's hard to be friends with someone you've secretly seen naked. Also, my spying had driven me to skip the bus that I actually was waiting for, the bus I needed to take to arrive at the job interview on time. This is when I started to run. Running to a job interview that I ended up missing.
Saturday, July 16th, 6:00 P.M.
Yesterday I ran into Sparra at the cultural center. He was helping kids perfect their jumpshot while I was looking at the want ads. We started talking about music, video games, and all the work he was doing and I wasn't. Over the course of the conversation Sparra mentioned how he hadn't heard from Delany, Matthew, and Wanda in a while. Conveniently enough I had their email addresses in my Hipster, except for Matthew because I never bothered to put it in there. We made plans to meet for lunch today at Ree's, a fine Velasian dining place downtown. I say "fine" but what I really mean is fine to people who don't know any better and really like breadsticks.
Sparra and I showed up early for lunch. Sparra showed up early because he was really excited about reconnecting with people. I showed up early because I had nothing better to do. We had to wait for the rest of our party before we were seated, so Sparra and I started talking.
Sparra got my attention by first hitting me on the arm. "You pick up the new Klavier CD?" Sparra's the one who got me into Klavier, although I suspect he's into them because their guitarist is hot as hell.
"I didn't so much pick it up as much as I stole it online." Yes, I steal music online. Deal with it.
"Have ya listened to that third track, Candyass?"
"With that sick guitar solo?"
"Yes!" The two of us high fived, which grabbed the attention of the verbrecher hostess.
"Sorry miss." The hostess walked away, shooting us dirty looks as she did so.
"What's her problem?"
"I don't know."
Just then we caught wind of a conversation happening on the other side of the short wall that separated the waiting area from the dining area. Sparra and I got right up against the wall so we could hear better.
"-and so I told that ashy motherfucker, "Look freton, it doesn't matter that I hit your car with my car and now your piece of shit is a mangled piece of shit. I am a verbrecher, and you are a no good opfer piece of shit. Now get the fuck out of my face!"
"You put that freton in his place." There was the sound of two people high fiving.
"You know what," then I hear a heavy click, "if I had pulled this blade on him, I would have gutted him like a fish. Just like I do to any opfer I see."
Sparra then stood up on a bench that was against the short wall. So that his head popped up over it. He started addressing the people on the other side in a playful tone. "Hello. You said you wanted to do something with me?" After he said that, Sparra flashed this thousand watt smile that served to taunt who he was addressing. I stood up on the bench and peered over the wall just in time to see the embarrassed look on the people on the other side. We got a laugh out of that. A good long laugh. A laugh that lasted untill Delany walked in the door of the restaurant.
"Well, it's good to see you two enjoying yourselves." Seeing Delany made Sparra and I sit up and take notice. I didn't know why Sparra took notice but I know why I did. "You gonna tell me what you find so funny?"
I got Sparra's attention by hitting him on the arm. "Dude, tell her what you did."
"Is Wanda with you by any chance?" I found this to be strange. It seems as if Sparra had completely forgotten what had just happened.
Delany took this in stride. "Oh, she's outside on her phone." Then Wanda entered the restaurant and I learned why Sparra had taken notice. The look on Sparra's face upon seeing Wanda was one of pure delight.
Wanda finished placing her cellphone in her bag then turned and saw us. "Hey you two."
Sparra made no effort to mask his delight. "Hi. It's good to see you."
I got up and made my way to the hostess's station, efforting not to get in Sparra's eye line. "Great. Now that our party's here, let's see about getting seated." I rang the bell on the hostess's station. I waited a moment then rang it again. Then, in my impatience, I rang it annoyingly. Finally, the hostess showed up.
"Yes sir, I can hear you, how can I help you?"
"Our complete party has arrived."
"Just the four of you?"
The hostess, efforting to mask her annoyance, gathered some menus and said, "Follow me." The hostess lead us to a table where the four of us took our places. Sparra pulled out a chair for Wanda, which she found to be odd. She didn't find it odd that Sparra was being charming, it was odd that he was being charming to her. The hostess have us our menus, took our drink orders, then left to tend to people who didn't annoy her.
I began looking over the menu and was shocked by what I saw. "Wow. Everything here is so damn expensive. They even charge for water."
Delany agreed. "Yeah. Even if I could afford it, I really don't want to eat this much pasta. Which one of you thought of coming here anyway?"
I glanced at Sparra, who quickly came to his own defense. "Hey, I didn't know the food here cost so much. I just hear some people at work talk about how good this place is. Besides, I don't hear Wanda complaining about anything."
Without missing a beat, Wanda replied, "My boss owns this place, so I get a discount."
My greed was nearly embarrassing. Nearly. "Can the rest of us get in on that discount?"
Wanda couldn't help but giggle at my greed. "Yes, of course."
Wanting to appear to be generous, magnanimous, and rich, Sparra said, "Then I'm picking up the tab for lunch."
Grabbing the waitress's attention in order to facilitate a joke, Delany said, "Excuse me, miss, can I get the pan fried filet minogue stuffed inside the oven roasted seasoned pheasant stuffed inside salt cured suckling pig with the 1923 Chateau however you pronounce that absurdly expensive bottle of wine, please?" The annoyed waitress walked away as we all shared a hearty laugh.
Wanda dampened the laughter when she said, "At least I get benefits. What do you get at your jobs?"
Delany held up her hand and said, "Papercuts." The sight of Delany's bandaged hand made me wince and stop laughing. "Yeah, this is what happens when you stuff envelopes all day."
Sparra had an inquiry. "Don't most companies have machines that do that?"
Delany had an answer. "They do. However, I work for a charity that can't afford to give me a raise, much less make my job obsolete."
I chimed in so that I can start whining. "At least you have a job that can be made obsolete."
Wanda was amazed by this. "You still don't have a job?"
I continued to whine. "Nope."
Delany was concerned. "If you don't have a job, how did you plan to pay for lunch?"
I had an answer for Delany. Not one that quelled her concerns, but an answer. "Well, let me put it this way: I wore my running shoes today."
Sparra then tried to turn his charm on again. "Speaking of shoes, I notice you've got quite an exquisite pair of heels on today, Wanda. What do you do to be able to afford those fine kicks?"
Wanda then became extremely quiet. What she said next she said with a great deal of hesitation before every word. "I am a stripper."
I could tell by the look on Sparra's face that he regretted bringing up Wanda's shoes. Delany tied to mask her shock by taking a drink of water. I made a regrettable attempt to break the tension. "So a strip club owner owns Ree's? Interesting."
I don't know if it was my joke that did it to her, although I hope it wasn't, but at this moment Wanda started breaking out on tears. Sparra attempted to console her. "Look, stripping isn't that bad. I was thinking about going into stripping before I got on at the Post Office."
Wanda slightly composed herself and began to spill her problems. "No, it's not that the stripping that's bad. Stripping, and the pole work that comes with it, is actually a great way to get some exercise. The bad thing about the job is the clients." Wanda took a moment to dab her eyes with one of the napkins at the table. The rest of us didn't say anything. I was afraid at what might come next. "The catcalls and the names are nearly unbearable. I didn't know what a couple of the names meant untill I looked them up online and learned how disgusting they were. They way they handle me is equally disgusting. Slapping my ass to get my attention, groping my breasts the moment I get within arm's length, forcing me down on their laps by grabbing me by the crotch. I swear, some nights when the all verbrecher all drunk crowd is hyped enough, the only thing keeping them from assaulting me as a group is the bodyguard openly displaying their loaded assault rifles."
That was the last thing Wanda said before she began flooding her face with tears. Our group lunch didn't go on for much longer after that. Wanda was the first to leave, she wasn't going anywhere in particular, she just felt she had to leave. Sparra settled the bill and chased off after Wanda, attempting to apologize as he did so. Delany went back to work, saying she was swinging by the drug store to get some more bandages on the way. I went home, completed some more levels in Shadow Core while submitting more job applications online. I hope the future hold better things for this little group of ours. It's got to get better than this, right?
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