It’s almost 7:30. I had a long commute. I worked hard. I did well at work. Found people looking for buildings. This is my job now. I drive out to the desert and sit in an office at a veneered desk and talk into a phone. In front of me is a giant monitor filled with a grid of warehouses located in a desert county, along with names and phone numbers. I call the place, try to find out if the person is interested in moving. If they are, I get money.
Maybe a lot of money. A piece of the deal. Warehouses are typically leased for periods of ten years so a lot of money changes hands if one of these things come through. But before that happens I have to punch in a lot of phone numbers off this white grid. I am in an ill fitting suit; behind me men walk around and chatter in other ill fitting suits. Their shoes are newer than mine but we pretty much look the same. Talk into the phone and try to make money come out. Outside my window are mountains. An apartment complex. Trees tossing in the desert wind, occasionally a bird. No one gets naked in the apartment windows, ever. Still, I keep a vigilant watch.
They warned me that people might be hostile on the phone but they never are. I know how to talk to people. I come off as an ordinary human being, not some jerkoff trying to sell them something. Fundamentally I don’t give a shit whether they give me their confidential lease information. My job is not a representation of my humanity, and if I lost it tomorrow I would shrug. They can sense this, that their reaction to me brings me no joy or pain whatsoever. It makes them want to give me their confidential lease information.
An attractive woman works in the building. A secretary. Or who knows, maybe she’s not a fucking secretary, except no hot woman in her twenties has ever done anything important in history. She is not a god damn supreme court justice. She is a secretary. She wears business suits with skirts cut above the knee and tasteful makeup and has glasses and I have finally had enough trips with her in the elevator to remember her face properly as I picture pulling down her panties and pushing into her by that one potted plant in the lobby. She likes me, this girl. She is Hispanic and I’m white skin blue eyes and I can tell I’m exotic to her. She looks at me over her black glasses, gives me fuck me eyes and makes small talk. I’d ask her out for a drink but where the fuck do you take a girl for a drink out there. Tract house laden cactus farm of a city. Plus who cares. I’ll just find some other Mexican on OKCupid.
Talk into a phone and look at a computer filled with numbers and try to make money come out. It’s nothing; there is nothing to it. Trying to get a ball bearing company to move three blocks and save two cents a square foot. My boss is a nice man. He discusses golf. There is free bottled water and power bars. Parking is never an issue.
It’s nothing, and that’s just the way I motherfucking like it. Because it’s 7:30 at night and I’m sitting here typing instead of reliving some argument with my old boss, except in this version I win and then stick his face in the engine of my car when it’s good and hot. Watch his teeth get launched a hundred feet by the alternator belt. Or not even an argument, just remembering an ordinary conversation– his tone and his lizard eyes– you’d feel your weight shift to your back foot, your hand clenching up. I lived for six years desperately wanting to murder a person with my bare hands. My new boss is nice. He discusses golf. Maybe I’ll take it up.
It doesn’t sound cool, but nothing sounds cool if you know what it really is. I have a new line for this job already. What do you do, some girl asked me. I look at a computer and talk into a phone, I said. I wear an ill fitting suit and squint at an over-bright screen of Microsoft Excel and say numbers and if I say the right numbers to the right people a man gives me money. By night I sell pillows on my Etsy store. They’re embroidered with “go fuck yourself for asking me that banal question.”
She laughed. But I meant it.