(Ahem: Stout Airlines?)
(1) Employment had just come out of the woods (to graze? to engage in ‘Cruelties of Proximity’?) when the sudden motions of Unemployment frightened it off. We all stood up then, from behind the hedges. We looked at each other, our hands up, as if to say, “The heck did you do that for?”
(2) Employment offered me a job. I said yes. I agreed to tour the facilities where I would work—a large warehouse reached by access road that featured wide craters. Once inside, I noted heaps of Product in bins, dysfunctional electricity, and a spacious puddle underneath a hole in the roof.
(3) The time came for my performance review. Employment sat in a swivel chair, wearing a blue shirt with solid yellow tie. I hadn’t shipped any Product, it was pointed out, even though there hadn’t been any Orders. I was told that my position would be converted to Underemployment.
(4) I attended a Job Fair targeting the Underemployed. Many greeters staffed many booths in an arena that, by night, would feature multimillionaire Athletes on a team that prioritized everything but winning. A large automobile revolved in the middle of the floor for no apparent reason.
(5) Underemployment spoke cheerily about No Benefits, as if No Benefits were, in fact, a benefit. A somber gal advanced the slideshow every couple of minutes. “Vegetarian?” I inquired, thumping my heart twice with my fist. (She was kind of hot.) “No,” she replied. “Underemployed.”
(6) I went on Underemployment interviews. For one, to be Under Secretary, I remarked that usually the Secretary was underneath, and that the title was redundant. For another, to be Under Study, I remarked that under-studying didn’t always lead to failure. I have yet to hear back from either.
(7) Around lunchtime, a Voice that identified itself as Administrator telephoned me about going to the Clinic, and meeting with a Diagnostician to get a complete Work-Up regarding my Word Count. “Me?” I said. “You,” said the Voice. “Why?” I said. “As a condition,” said the Voice.
(8) I can never look when a Diagnostician has to draw Words from me. “Make a fist,” instructed the Diagnostician, “just relax.” Yeah, right. You try making a fist and just relaxing, I thought, but I didn’t say anything. “You’ll feel a little pinch,” said the Diagnostician, but I said, “OWWW!”
(9) The bad news is, my Nouns are way down, and my Adjectives are way up. In other words, I’m Modifying what little Subject and Object I can offer. In addition, I’m probably clinical for Puns. “I fear Vietnamese soup,” I tweeted, and posted, and updated. “Yeah, I’ve got a real Phobia.”