Murphy’s Law says, “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.” Write about a time everything did — fiction encouraged here, too!
I used to work for Sterling Johnson, a great company. I started entry-level in marketing. It’s hard to get a job there. Your past has to be impeccable, your character beyond reproach. The pre-employment screening includes several interviews, drug tests, a lie detector exam, psychological testing, and an interview with a psychologist, and an extensive background check.
I received a couple of awards, raises ahead of schedule, and two promotions.
Sterling Johnson does not discourage employees from marrying one another. I was dating Amy, a recent grad from Colgate. We were talking seriously about marriage.
My brother Darin lives with me. I love him. He’s the branch of the tree that produces the bitter fruit.
I worked days and supposed to report to work at 8:00 AM. I show up at 7:30. Darin worked the graveyard at an all-night diner. He was the grill man. His shift ends at 5:00 AM. He’s home by 5:20 AM. He wakes me, we talk, have coffee and breakfast together. I left the apartment at 7:15 AM. It’s a seventeen minute drive, but I allow for traffic backups, trains, and bad weather.
It was a year ago I worked until 10:00 PM. When I got home Darin was already gone. I could see he had some of his seedy friends over. They left the residue of a few beers and the stench.
I showered and went to bed. The next thing I remember is Darin shaking me. “Dude, you got to get up it’s quarter past seven!”
I jumped out of bed and rubbed the sleep from my eyes. “I’ve got time,” I said.
While brushing, shaving, combing, and deodorizing, Darin explained. “The place closed down at three. Some stoner hit a power pole. Me and my friends at work crashed at somebody’s place. We were blowing weed the rest of the night. Dude I’m sorry. I hope I’m not making you late. Can you call in sick or something.”
“I’m not sick,” I said sharply. “That may be the way you run your life, but that’s not the way I run mine.”
I grabbed my cloths from the closet and ran to the kitchen wearing nothing but my briefs. Opening the refrigerator I grabbed a carafe of orange juice and gulped it down like a thirsty farm hand. It tasted strange, but I just brushed my teeth. “That’s not toothpaste,” I said after two more gulps.” It was whiskey. Darin spiked the orange juice the night before.
I ran to the car still in my briefs. ’I can slip my cloths on while driving,’ I thought. I grabbed my keys from my pants pocket and ripped my pocket. ’Dress code,’ I thought. “Every Sterling Johnson employee must wear clothing neat in appearance with no missing buttons, frayed collars, or tears.”
“I got an extra pair at work,”
I put the key in the ignition and started the car. As I pulled my hand away the cuff of my shirt caught on the key chain. I jerked and the key broke-off. ’I’ll call the dealership from work.”
The neighbor’s boy left his bike parked behind my car. I ran over it and dragged it a couple of car lengths before knowing what I did.
The car smelled like a pot house. There was a note on he dash. I grabbed it and read, “Hey Brother Dude, my car was low on gas last night so I got off early and used it to go to some friends place to crash. I was pumped and didn’t want to come home and wake you.”
Bam! While reading the not I hit a light pole. ’I’ll call it in.’
There was a lonely stretch of road, it was a back way to work and not much traffic. ’That would be a good place for me to put my pants on.’
I tossed the pants to the floor and began to pull them past my ankles. I steered with my teeth clinched to the steering wheel. I heard a siren. I’m pulled over by a State Patrolman. I have whiskey on my breath from the whisky/orange juice cocktail in the refrigerator, the car reeks of marijuana, and I don’t have any pants on . It was all caught on the dash cam. I was arrested on the spot. My car sat by the side of the road all day with the engine running. The engine blew.
The drug squad of the Highway Patrol brought a K-9 unit to sniff the car. It appears one of Darin’s friends tossed his months supply of weed in the trunk.
Well anyway, her I am in jail; charged and convicted for possession of an illegal amount of drugs, driving under the influence, leaving the scene of an accident, and public indecency.
Six months ago Sterling Johnson decided to hire people with a past in the hopes of giving them a second chance that they might show extraordinary loyalty and work ethic in return. The program has been very successful. They hired my brother Darin. He’s doing great and he’s now engaged to Amy.
I’m going to have to serve my entire eighteen month sentence. I didn’t make parole. One of the conditions to early release was that I needed a place to stay. The logical place would be with Darin, but Sterling Johnson has a policy for employees hired under their new rehabilitation program; they could not have association with persons who have a criminal past.
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