It is 3 in the morning on a hot, stuffy June 5th.
I am in an alley way, wearing a snow cap in the middle of summer and carrying a TV set that is not mine.
The real owner of the television is a man who works a night shift, doesn't have nosy neighbors, and likes to leave his door unlocked.
I set the TV down on the ground and lean against the brick wall overlooking the alley. I breathe heavily for a minute before coughing and tearing the cap from my head. Sweat beads on my forehead, and I let out another heavy breath before reaching into my jacket pocket and pulling out a pack of cigarettes.
My name is Victor Trakolski.
And I love my job.
My apartment is small, located across the hall from a burnt-out pilot, and down the hall from a mousy little number who keeps her nose upturned. It's a nice enough place; people leave you alone.
I set the TV set on the kitchen counter, next to a container of week-old tuna sandwiches and empty cans of soup. I should really get on cleaning that up, but ehhh...can't be bothered. I fumble around with an electrical outlet, and then turn the set on. It works, even after being carried for blocks and going on a bumpy over-the-speed-limit drive.
I mess around with the channels for a bit, lamenting that I forgot to pick up the remote on my way out of that guy's place. Oh well. I unplug the thing and lug it over to the entertainment center. My old TV broke down a few days ago, so I figured why not go out and find myself a new one? Granted, this one didn't come from a shop...heh. It'll be good enough, though.
Plopping myself down on my recliner, I kick back and relax. Glancing at the clock on the wall, I see that it's almost 7:00 AM. I wonder if that guy's noticed his missing TV yet? Has he filed a report? Are coppers out to get me?
My phone rings, and I jump a bit. Caller I. D. says 'Veronica T.' Good ol' sis', checking in on her little brother, making sure he's not up to no good.
"'Ello sis'. What's shakin'?" I grin as I answer the phone.
"Hullo. Just wanted to remind you about your job interview today at twelve; Mom told me to call you, blah...just so you know. Don't forget to go to this one, mkay? You've missed the last four." My, she doesn't sound very enthusiastic.
"Sure thing. I'm ironing my suit was we speak." I pick at my fingernails and nod aimlessly.
"Right...right...just go, unless you want Mom all over your ass. Again."
"Ah, yes, wouldn't want that. I'll go. Thanks for the reminder!"
I hang up and laugh. I don't even own a suit. But I'll humor Mom and go.
Mousy Little Number is waiting at the elevator when I get there, and I think for a second about taking the stairs...nah. This might be fun. She glances at me when I walk up and press the down button.
"Going to work, Pammy?" I ask, my hands jammed in my jacket pockets and my grin cheeky. She hates that name.
"It's Pam. Just Pam, Mr. Trakolski." And I don't particularly care for that one.
"And mine's Vick. Just Vick, Miss Bitch." Ohho, she really doesn't like that one.
She throws me a severe glare before turning around marching to the door that leads to the stairs.
Was it something I said?
The interviewer is a large man with fingers that look like sausages. He kind of frightens me, to be honest.
"Now...Mr. Trakolski...your resume isn't all that impressive." He looks at me over the top of a stack of papers he's been reading. "It says here that you've worked for a short time in jobs such as; office assistant, waste manager...paper boy...mkay, sales clerk, and others...you have a wide variety of job experience, but, according to this, you didn't succeed in keeping any of those jobs for more than two weeks."
"I like to vary myself in my work." I said, shrugging.
"...it says here that you were fired from every job, mostly due to 'poor performance'."
"Do you really even want this job, Mr. Trakolski?" The man put the papers down and looked me hard in the eye. I shrugged.
"I think you know where the door is."
Ah, public transportation. Don't you just love it? I do. Paying for it, however, that's another matter entirely. I prefer to follow closely behind other customers as they stick their train ticket stub in the slot, and move through the gates as they open. Not much allotted time, of course, but it saves me thirty dollars for a ticket every week.
I guess you could say that I'm a bit of a cheapskate.
I blow some smoke at my reflection in the apartment window and tell my mom to calm down.
"I mean, it was a shitty job anyway."
"Better than no job at all! Goddamn, are you ever going to do something with your life?"
"Maybe someday, if I feel like it."
"You're twenty-four years old!"
"And I can't talk to you right now; talk to me when you start making something out of your sorry ass!" Click. She hung up.
What a lovely woman.
I inhale deeply on my cigarette and blow the smoke at my scruffy, red-haired reflection. I need to shave.
The rain batters against the roof as I stare at the ceiling, wondering where I went wrong.
Another dawn, another day. I'm awakened by sunlight shining on my face. I stretch, let out a yawn, and sit up. I rub my eyes as I stumble to the bathroom.
I rather like the black rings around my eyes.