You Got to be Kidding Me!

Submitted into Contest #186 in response to: Write a story within a story within a story within a ...... view prompt



You Got to be Kidding Me!


Charles Haynes

         “I can’t believe I’ve been working at the same monotonous job for almost twelve years. Twelve years! I could have been doing something useful. Something that makes a difference. I could have…”

         “What are you mumbling about, Jack?”

         “Sorry, was I mumbling?”

         “Were you mumbling? Does a bear sleep in the woods? You always mumble. Let me guess. It’s the job again. But that’s no guess because it’s always about the job!”

         “I’m tired of the job, Bill. I’m tired of doing the same old thing. I’m tired sitting up here, hours on end, staring at this console! I’m tired of wondering what might have been!”

         “And, I’m tired of having this conversation with you! You got a great job, man! I got a great job! We’ve got security. Great benefits. Not to mention, we make good money. And, sometimes old buddy, some people just don't realize how good they have it!"

         “Yeah! Yeah! I hear you. And, of course, you’re right. But…”

         “Oh, here we go again! It’s too this. It’s too that. It’s boring. It’s unfulfilling.”

         “Bill, haven’t you ever had dreams?”

         “Oh yeah, in fact, I had one night before last about this gorgeous girl! But I quickly popped back into reality when my wife shook me and woke me up because of all the strange noises I was making.”

         “Can you be serious? I want something different!” Anyway, Bill, it's easy for you to talk! Going on this long, exotic mystery vacation."

"Hey! Can't a guy do something special with his wife without letting everyone else in on it? Anyway, here's Kelly. Let's ask her what she thinks."

         “Thinks about what? I’m all ears. I hope it’s something juicy. Not the game! I refuse to listen to another comment about the ref’s questionable call on the last drive of the game.”

         “No, it’s not about the game and I’m afraid it’s not too juicy. Jack, once again, is complaining about his job. Thinks he should be out saving the world or building houses in some third world country or dipping up soup down at the soup kitchen. Maybe you can help him see the light!”

         “See the light, hmm! According to Mandy, I still have trouble seeing the forest because of the trees. Whatever that means.”

         “One thing I know. It helps to stay busy. If I had to sit here for hours, like you guys, it would drive me nuts. At least, most of the time I’m up moving around.” 

         “Maybe you should take a job like mine. Not mine, but like mine. Make sure we get that straight! Not as much money, and maybe not the prestige you guys have, but I sleep well at night, and I do okay.”

         “And, when I go back through that door, I have plenty to keep me busy. Problems to solve. Questions to answer. Gives me a feeling of usefulness whether it’s true or not but, I like to think it’s true. Even those forms we have everybody fill out. It’s nice to have all the answers to their questions. And, it’s not always the same group. Makes it more interesting!”

         “Hey Kelly, I’m sure I just saw Jack roll his eyes, again!”

         “Well, guys, it’s not like we’ve never had this conversation before!”

         “Exactly, Jack my man, and if you would get over this job thing, we wouldn’t have to keep having this ridiculous conversation. Don’t you think, Kelly?”

         “Sure, but at the same time Jack doesn’t want to be having this same conversation five years from now. Something has to change. Either the job situation or how Jack looks at the job.”

         “Either way, gentlemen, I think reflection can be good. I know it is for me. As we talk, I realize, even more how much I like my job. You might remember how two weeks ago I got to assist the doctor with the woman who thought she was having a heart attack. Turns out it wasn’t a heart attack, just severe anxiety, but I enjoyed being involved.”

         “Just today I got to comfort some kid whose dad has been in Afghanistan for over a year. And, sometimes, it’s just the general conversation that stirs me. I get involved and I feel good about it.”

         “Well, I got to go. Mandy may need some help. Besides, my fans await!”

         “That reminds me, tell Mandy I need to talk to her.”

         “You mean warn her that you need to talk to her?”

         “No, you don’t have to warn her. It’s not about the job. I want her to give me her recipe for that chicken casserole. Cynthia wants to try it.”

         “Be glad to. Later, I’m out of here.”

         “Wow! I like Kelly. Glad she finally shut up and went back to her work. But I like her. Think we should put a chair against the door just in case?”

         “I’ll tell her what you said. Maybe she’ll find a compliment in there somewhere.”

         “While she was talking, I realized there was a lot of truth in what she said. One way or the other I need to deal with this thing differently in my head. I do have a good job. Many people would kill for this job. It provides well for me and my family. Cynthia doesn’t have to work if she doesn’t want to.”

         “You know what the worst thing about the job is?”

         “Oh, God help me! Are we going to do this again?”

         “The worst thing is having to sit beside you for hours on end thinking that one day you might be able to hold up your end of a serious conversation!”

         “Did you say, ‘serious conversation'? I hope you weren’t referring to the one we were just having when Kelly was in here." 

"Speaking of serious conversations, I think you should seriously consider having a long conversation with Reverend Shealy. Maybe he can help you. I heard he has experience with deliverance. You know, from demons. Is there such a thing as a ‘job’ demon? If there is, then you got one!"

"Hey, wait a minute! Do you remember that story from the Bible? That guy had like two thousand demons. Seems like he mumbled a lot, too. I'm calling Reverend Shealy as soon as I can."

"Don't worry, pal, I'm going to get you some help! Let's see. I'll need some garlic and a cross and maybe a silver bullet, just in case.”

         “Very funny, Bill. You are truly a man of compassion. I knew I could count on you.”

         “Anyway, funny guy, once again, it’s that time. Tell the passengers to buckle up and advise them that we’ll be landing shortly.”

         “Okay everybody, that’s a wrap. Great job! See you on set first thing tomorrow morning!”

"Hey, Ted! I am always amazed at how easy you get into character."

"Thanks, Susan. You, too. I guess I find it easy to relate to Bill's character."

"So, how are you doing, Ted? Really!"

"I guess I'm a little weaker than I was, but otherwise, I'm doing okay. Thanks for asking."

"Sure. John wanted me to be sure and remind you that he'll pick you and Cynthia up first thing in the morning to take you to the treatment center."

"Thanks, Susan. I really appreciate it."

February 21, 2023 01:30

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