Am I Job? | Teen Ink

Am I Job?

February 12, 2019
By sknerr GOLD, Princeton, New Jersey
sknerr GOLD, Princeton, New Jersey
15 articles 0 photos 2 comments

Favorite Quote:
"You miss 100% of the shots you don't take -Wayne Gretzky" -Michael Scott

The tongues of sunlight lick my eye, and I open it, shaking away the rug of sleepiness to remind myself of what’s real. No, I don’t live in Laguna Beach. No, I don’t have a family. No, I don’t have those courtside seats. Yes, I am real, inhaling the polluted air of the factories beyond the chainlink fence. Then I pull the eyepatch on and feel the elastic dig into the back of my head. I’m used to it by now. 

There’s Gary and his posse, huddled together in the corner of the abandoned train car, making indistinct noises. Groveling, knowing I could kill them with a squeeze of my fist. I take my pillow, a bag of cornmeal, and pour some onto the squalid floor, my hand shaking. They inhale it greedily.

But I want to go back to sleep. Back to the twenty-four million dollar mansion and that model from Sports Illustrated lying naked on the kingsized bed and the eleven zeros in my bank account. I have three kids, all a combination of my ruggedness and their mother’s beauty; Nathan, the oldest, is a proficient cellist, Juilliard-Bound; Matt, the middle child, is introverted but an avid fisherman; and little Abby, only five, doesn’t know what she will do but I can already see her in pointe shoes. They love me. When I throw open the door after work, their arms encircle me, a pile of beating hearts. I take them to Lakers games, dapping up LeBron James as he throws us his jersey after hitting a game-winning floater. There’s a whole chapel in my house; every day I kneel and ask God to keep everything the way it is. Sometimes Matt kneels with me too, and we sit in silence and pray. Spears of light shoot through the stainedglass into both of my eyes. “I want to be a minister when I grow up,” Matt says, and I know he doesn’t; he wants to go spear orcas in the Antarctic Ocean, but I tell him that God would definitely approve.

Graffiti makes a Pollock painting on the inside of the train car. Most of it’s illegible, but five words stand out in bright orange lettering: “Fuck Jesus, God isn’t real.” Underneath, I pour out the last of the cornmeal into a pile, and angrily trace words with my finger: You aren’t real. Gary advances, eager for more food, the gang close behind. I shoo the rats away with the ripped sleeve of my plaid shirt. Then, I kneel and feel the metal against my bare knees, the rust mingling with the scrapes on my calves. I close my eye, and ask God to make everything better. That’s when the church bells ring from half a mile away.

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