06 May 2010

"Sketchy Connection" #Fridayflash



Bones has Season Three on Netflix now. I minimize the screen once the opening score starts and focus on my resume. Keywords are important to get noticed by The Machine. I called an office once for an update on the status of my resume with their firm. A woman answered and told me that "The Machine will pre-select your resume for our consideration." It came down to The Machine to read my carefully-composed work, and The Machine to decide if my hobbies and interests interfered with The Company's Vision.

This is not to be confused with The System. The System is down, I can't access your records to calculate your Unemployment benefits. The System doesn't make mistakes. Your last paycheck has to be right—The System doesn't lie.

I wonder what large nameless entity I'll become acquainted with next. What monolith I'll have to scale. I change a couple of keywords in the document and return to my show. The connection is sketchy, and pixels show like they used to when I had satellite cable. My phone rings on the seat. Just another bill-collector.

I attach my resume to another well-thought out email including my salary requirements and sigh at the jet-taking-off sound. It's unavoidable. I've lost my confidence.

As long as this connection stays up—

I'm deep in Dr. Brennan and Detective Booth's conversation when I hear the soft thump of a car door. I snap the laptop screen shut, and turn the key in the ignition.

A flashlight taps my window, the shine reflected by a golden badge.

28 comments:

litrock said...

I always find stories about unemployment really interesting. Everybody experiences it in their own way, but it always goes to this weird place outside the normal flow of space and time that us working stiffs feel.

It seems like your narrator here is a little more outside the flow than usual. But great as always.

PS: the entities remaining are The Man, The Suits, The Boys Club, The Grinder, The Rat Race, The Company. Off the top of my head. None of them are very nice.

Valerie said...

The perils of stealing wi-fi? Neat read.

Sulci Collective said...

I liked this, it's the way of the future, all aspects of our lies conducted through fibre optics & plasma, paying bills, claiming benefits while watching a TV show.

Nicely done.

marc nash

christel42 said...

Oh jeez! I can totally relate to this. My other half is dealing with Unemployment fiascos right now.

"We're sorry, but it is going to take up to 3 weeks for our System to verify your application, as the System is back-logged with potential applicants." ~The System

"Um what? What am I supposed to do for money until then?" ~ Boyfriend

"We will pay you the back-pay as soon as we can get your application processed." ~ The System

"Um, honey? We are screwed." ~ Boyfriend

I laugh in the face of our potential disaster.

Joanie Rich said...

I love this one! The ending really took me by surprise. I was expecting the narrator to be in their home - although I suppose at this point it is their home now. It makes you think about how people end up homeless. My favorite part was the descriptions of the entities, although "nameless" doesn't seem to fit since even "The Company" is a name even if it is a bland or impersonal one.

The Frog Queen said...

I wanted to say something clever...but it looks like everyone else has covered it. I have nothing to add to their thoughtful accolades other than....damn, that was excellent :D

Seriously, always love visiting your blog and reading your great work.

Cheers!

Laura Eno said...

Working in the car for the wi-fi...busted. Great commentary on our society.

Cathy Olliffe said...

Hey Carrie, cool 1984 vibe to this futuristic piece. Loved it! Funny how we get so attached to our toys... I went camping last weekend and was momentarily stunned when my internet disappeared.
By the way, always wanted to watch Bones... have read a lot of the books and liked them, don't know what me and the TV show haven't hooked up.

ganymeder said...

Wonderfully insightful read. Liked the surprise at the end.

Chris Chartrand said...

Superb as always. Great ending.

John Wiswell said...

Remarkably short for setting such a scene.

http://bit.ly/9vkepj

Jen Brubacher said...

The machine, not to be confused with the system... I love it. (And also I don't because that's pretty much how we live.)

ERIN COLE said...

The 'Po-Po' is the ultimate machine! This creeped me out, the systems of our livelihood are taking over and we're becoming the robots.
Cool penning.

Tony Noland said...

Ugh, the perils of wardriving.

Tightly written, Carrie.

Marisa Birns said...

Always remember a question I had to answer two years ago for The Machine that handled resumes for a university. It asked me where I went to elementary school.

Really good piece here. Was surprised by the reveal!

John McDonnell said...

Good dramatization of what unemployment feels like. Also, how it feels to deal with the faceless entities that control all our lives. Good job!

Linda said...

A brand-new dimension on multi-tasking. Short with a great punch. peace...

Aislinn O'Connor said...

Think H. G. Wells himself would be proud of this one! Seems like even in the age of Netflix, two things just don't change - the misery of unemployment, and the impersonality of uncaring bureaucracy. Great story. :-)

Bukowski's Basement said...

Awesome, Carrie, on so many levels of subtext... From the Orwellian vibe to the seemingly present-day vibe. It all jived with so much brevity. I love brevity...

Eric J. Krause said...

Good stuff here. Creepy in its own way. The twist of stealing wi-fi at the end was a good one. Loved how The Machine is not to be confused with The System. Enjoyed this one a TON.

Jodi MacArthur said...

You've taken a cold, techno world and put a beating heart struggling to stay warm and human. And of course, he gets busted for it.

Isn't the struggle what makes our existence so real? It's what makes us human.

LOVED this, Carrie. Your mind is a gem.

Anne Tyler Lord said...

Oh man, I hate those machines that read resumes - whoever thought that up should be shot.

Great story about today's unemployment situation. I see some thought it was just to get free wifi, which also fits. Either way, it is our new world.

Excellent as always!

Sam said...

I first read this great story yesterday but didn't have time to post a comment. It kept popping into my head all last night and this morning, so I just had to make it a priority to come back and tell you how much I enjoyed it. Great narrative, MC and POV; I love it.

Karly Kirkpatrick said...

Great piece, Carrie. Shows that a lot can be accomplished in few words! Definitely timely...hope you didn't have to drive around stealing wi-fi to post this!

PJ said...

Nice piece, Carrie - it makes me wonder, though - sitting in the car to steal wifi or living in the car? regardless, i hope she finds a gig soon!

Mark Kerstetter said...

I'm amazed sometimes by the things people can't live without, that they consider necessities, and when a person can be out of work yet still be surrounded by expensive gadgets and services.

Icy Sedgwick said...

I can relate to the whole problem of trying to make sure you get just the right words on there...

Great flash.

~Tim said...

I'm not unemployed [yet] but I have been job hunting so this really struck a chord with me on the frustrations of dealing with The Machine and The System and other large nameless entities.