Insert Chassis Albuquerque: The Sundial Salesman - A Chapter

4 April 2018

The Sundial Salesman - A Chapter


Related imageOne's groundswell can quickly degrade to a slump.
"Where to...?" the taxi driver asked.
As soon as I said: "Tokyo," he looked apprehensive.
"Tokyo? I didn't know people lived out there any more - well, that'll cost extra," he said and got on the phone to his insurance company. "Is this it, the John - is that Lennon or Lemon? Real classy," the taxi-driver reads, straining his eyes when we pulled up outside the building, because years ago already someone's craftily made the effort to clamber up to the sign above the door and bother to alter the wording so that it reads: "The John `Lemon'" building.
Almost immediately a guy carrying a woman off his shoulder appeared and asked the taxi driver for a light. And as if she knew the taxi-driver was watching her dead body, she raised her disheveled, broken blonde head from off her man’s back. The cab driver couldn't see a cigarette anyplace on either of them and, on second thoughts, quickly checked with me in the back seat, just to be sure the three of us weren't in it together for some kind of hijack fuck-fest.
Further mitigating circumstances, there's some issue with the doors of the cab, they won't open and I have to clamber out through the half-open window.
The cab-driver speeds off.
Midnight comes, pressing tenderly into the new day, the first distant, round rays of it hugging warmly the hostile earth. Jesus, or God, was right, Sundays are the single most important day - because after Friday and recovering Saturday and hitting the town again Sunday didn't leave a whole lot of sensible options. Mondays forever bow to Tuesday like it's no contemplation of good Wednesday. And Wednesdays stands alone, holding the hands of sober Thursday, afraid to let it go see raving Friday.
And Friday forgets selfish Saturday and Sunday has no care for any of them, they can all die and begin again - for when Monday looms groggily again all anyone wants is Saturday and Sunday to forget Monday through to Friday. Then you find your way only to get lost again, just the thought of another day rising in your heads.
Trying to get up has become some great, exhausting marathon I'm unprepared for, a medical problem with no cure other than to bravely face another day. Who doesn't wake, take a look in the mirror and uninspire themselves by how extinct they're looking, how yesterday we were all younger, different men? Terrible to watch someone risk extinction, waste away and die. Even worse when it’s your own extinction and more and more your face has that endangered species feeling as it's slowly sliding to the top of the list.
Why, some mornings alone with nothing but the thought of another day rising in my head, life's old late night breath still hanging around and stinking up my face, me wishing it would leave and go or at least rinse it's foul mouth with gasoline, I get up, sit on the edge of the bed, look around and look the new day in the eye.
And then the morning reaches back and punches me in the face, repeatedly.
But I thought maybe it would be different today?
Yes, it would be.
You know what was different about today? Nothing. It was just as shit as yesterday.
The phone rang.
It was probably a cold-caller.
No such luck!
Broadway! You coming into work?”  Petzold! The bald motherfucker head of Public Relations.
For the hell of it I explained I wouldn't be attending work as I'd just found Jesus.
Then hung up. 
Immediately that asshole Petzold phoned back.
"Oh yeah? Well tell Jesus - if that's her name - if she needs a job, we have one here, we've just had a vacancy come up! Jesus Christ! Where the fuck are you, Broadway?"
What was he trying to insinuate? Broadly spiritually, where was I in life? Given it serious consideration I said: "I wish I was much further along but here I am, still working for the same shitty company, plugging these crap hours with an asshole of a manager like you, Petzold."
Work was that funny thing people seemed to do even if they don’t want to, an infinity paradox incapable of ever being properly resolved, just the notion of work, any work, repulsed me to the point I was physically sick, leaving me unable to work.
I said: "Why should a man's work be the death of him when very well-documented scientific evidence suggests too much work can cause mental retardation, brain damage, seizures and other problems - why look for trouble?"
Well, that practically set Petzold on fire.
“I got chloroformed and its terminal - hell, I might not make it through the day,  Petzold," I tell him.
“Chloroformed you say...? What about Jesus...!” Petzold isshouting but I hung up again.
The phone rang and kept ringing but I didn't pick up, picking up the phone so soon now would be like an atheist admitting God existed. And that’s the last thing you ever want to do, admit anything - more shrewd advice from my father.
Petzold left a message asking if I was thinking returning to work - at all. I phoned him back, maybe 15 minutes later, saying I was certainly thinking of it!
Then I phoned again and said how all this thinking had taken a toll and left me tired and depressed so I’d be off a while longer.
Immediately Petzold phoned back and left another message.
“You’re fired, Broadway, fired! Now get your ass up here so we can make it official...!”
I spent at least another 30 minutes trying to think of the most pretentious thing I could say.
But occasionally it isn't possible.
And so - even though I had the upper hand - here I was, coughing my way to work on another grand grey Monday.




A CHAPTER from "The Sundial Salesman"
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