Author: Michael Kelso PM
Sometimes it just doesn't pay to get out of bed.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Words: 981 - Reviews: 1 - Follows: 1 - Published: 11-07-11 - Status: Complete - id: 2968441
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Poor Harold by Michael Kelso
Harold was not having a good day. What little hot water he usually had for a shower was
already used up by another tenant in the undersized, overpriced, infested apartment
building he lived in. So, yet again, he took an ice cold shower. The shower must have felt
sorry for him, and somehow told the toaster to make it up to him. The toaster obliged by
giving him a little extra heat, and burning his last piece of toast. Harold choked down the
burnt toast, and washed it down with a half cup of cold coffee, as he stumbled out the
door, trying to dress himself. He barely made it to the bus stop in time. He sat down,
hoping that his luck would change, when a spring from the seat broke and shot up into his
leg. It didn't do any damage to his leg, the real problem was when he stood up, the spring
caught hold of his pants and ripped a large hole in them. The rest of the way to the office,
he had to cover the back of his pants with his tattered briefcase. In the elevator on the way
up to his office, he heard snickers from behind him, that instantly stopped when he turned
around. He got off at his floor, and quickly made his way to his 'office'. It was merely a
cubicle, barely big enough to fit his tiny desk. He collapsed into his chair and let out a
long sigh. Harold was not having a good day. In fact, Harold was not having a good life.
He just couldn't seem to catch a break. He was never popular in school, but he always
made decent grades, usually just missing the honor roll. When he was in ninth grade, his
father passed away, leaving him to take care of his mother. She had Alzheimer's disease,
that got progressively worse. Some days Harold would come home just to be chased off
by his mother, who thought he was a burglar. On good days, she chased him with a stick,
on bad days, a shotgun. His mother passed away just before he graduated high school.
The house was left to Harold, but the mortgage still had ten years left to pay it off, and
Harold couldn't afford the payments. He sold the house, and had just enough left for a
down payment on his pitifully small apartment. He wanted to go to law school, but
couldn't afford it. So he got a job as a clerk for a low grade law firm, which was
essentially just a bunch of ambulance chasers. He hoped that he could get some practical
experience, study for the BAR, and maybe move up to middle management in the
meantime. Six years later, Harold still sat in his same tiny cubicle. His computer was so
out of date he couldn't even run internet. His chair and desk were falling apart, and the
'1' button on his phone hadn't worked in nearly two weeks. He tried to cal maintenance,
but their extension number was '221'. Every time he went past their door, a sign was
hanging on it saying, 'On break. Leave a voice mail for any repairs.' The other clerks
were very possessive, and wouldn't let anyone else use their phone. The display on
Harold's phone said, '341 messages, press 1 to retrieve.' While trying to decide what to
do, his phone rang.
"Harold Funston, how can I help you?" He said.
"Funston!" His boss shouted through the phone.
Harold jumped, nearly dropping the phone.
"Where is my report?" He growled.
"What report sir?"
"The one I needed done two days ago, on last month's profit/loss margin."
"Sir, you never asked me to do any report."
"I left you three voice mails in the last week."
"But sir, my phone, it's…"
"I don't want to hear your excuses! Have that report on my desk in one hour or you're
Harold was so upset, he dropped the phone, comically juggling it al the way to the floor.
He hung the phone up, and frantically began gathering information to start his report. As
much as he hated his job, losing it would be catastrophic. He was already living paycheck
to paycheck, and falling behind on bills. Soon he would have to get another crappy job on
top of this crappy job, just to afford living in a crummy apartment. His only glimmer of
hope was a postcard showing a beautiful tropical beach. The phone rang again. He picked
it up while continuing to type.
"Harold Funston, how can I help you?"
"You have just won five million dollars!" Proclaimed an automated voice.
Harold's jaw hit the desk. It was the miracle he had been waiting for. He looked at his
picture, and started to dream of diving into the clear blue ocean. He was brought back to
reality by the voice on the phone.
"The ACME prize corporation has selected YOU as its grand prize winner! You need
only confirm your name and address to claim your prize. If you do not confirm, we will
pick another lucky winner."
Harold was drooling. He knew that from now on, everything was going to be okay.
"To confirm your prize, simply press 1, and an operator will assist you."
Harold stared at the phone in disbelief.
He started hammering on the '1' button, like he was playing a video game, in the
desperate hope that the button might register just one time.
"Please press 1 to confirm." The voice said.
"One! One! ONE!" He screamed into the phone, as a last, desperate act.
"I'm sorry, we did not recognize your response, better luck next time."
The line disconnected.