Fuck Kafka ~ Joseph Ridgwell

May 23, 2008

I was living in the red-light district of Sydney, working, drinking, and always broke. Like many travellers I just couldn’t get out of Kings Cross. I was well and truly stuck. Then I had an idea. Two jobs. That was it, a double income. Then I would be able to get the fuck out of the Cross, get back on the road, and embark on some serious Australian travel. Hey, hey, happy days.

     I worked days, porter in a private hospital, on the ball-breaking early shift, 6 am to 3pm.  But if I could stay out of the boozer, my evenings were free. After a four-day toot I woke up one shaky hung over morning and decided to get busy. I scoured the Help Wanted ads. With zero qualifications and little experience other than a few dead-end menial jobs, my options were limited.  I rapidly flicked through the pages until one advertisement caught my eye.  Telesales, on the job training, OTE $$$!  But most importantly, no experience required!

      Being on a mission, I wasted no time in dialling the number and lined up an interview for the very next day. Cheered by the news, I grabbed a cold one from the fridge, and had a hair of the dog that bit me.

     The job was 5.30 to 9.30 PM, and involved cold calling members of the public via the dog and bone. It was an impossible gig, one thought up by an insane person. We had to convince punters to re-mortgage their house and invest in new properties situated out in the middle of nowhere. Crazy shit. The Telemarketers even had a special name for the con, Negative Gearing. Negative Gearing, I mean think about it?  What the fuck? Although I kind of liked that name, Negative Gearing, it had a certain ring to it, even poetic in a strange way. Negative Gearing.

       It was mostly young immigrants in that boiler room, British immigrants like me.  Aussies were few and far between.  To lighten things up a bit, we’d adopt the name of famous Brits.

‘Good evening, this is Noel Gallagher calling. Are you aware of Negative Gearing?’

Childish I know, but nine times out of ten the Aussie on the other end of the line didn’t realise.’

‘No, Noel, I’m not.’

Ha, bloody ha!

     The Manager on the evening shift was an interesting chap. He was tall and blonde, and looked like a movie star. The job was paying his way through college. He planned to be a big-shot lawyer, and I had no doubts that he would make it, he looked right for the part. Despite this, he also had a great interest in literature.

     To pass the time some of us would chat about favourite writers, books etc. The guy next to me was an aspiring author, heavily into Kafka. I remarked that Kafka’s greatest achievement was the invention of the Hard Hat. Saved a lotta lives, I said. The wannabe didn’t know what I was talking about. Yet, he was big into Kafka?

    Anyway the weeks passed and I got bored and tired. Fifteen hour days can do that to a fella. Even adopting famous British names began to pale.  What most galled though, was that despite two jobs, I still didn’t have any money.  I couldn’t understand it. I was earning more, but somehow spending more.  And then there was the author. This dude was irritating. He kept moaning about the job, the calls, his shit turd life. What a fucking whinger! And because he was sat right next to me, I couldn’t get away from it.

     Then the day came. The pressure was on. We had to book more appointments. If we didn’t hit the targets the job was over. We stepped to it. The future big-shot lawyer paced the room, urging us to greater efforts, at times even imploring us. We can do it, he kept saying. We can do it! And maybe we could. Meanwhile the author was still grumbling, I wasn’t listening, I was too busy dialling numbers. The dude kept the grumbling shit up and then called the manager over,

‘How,’ he said.

‘Yes,’ said the future lawyer.

‘How can you enjoy Kafka, and then do this for a living?’

The lawyer didn’t even blink, ‘Fuck Kafka,’ he said low and hard.

And in that moment I wished I said exactly the same thing.

    

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5 Responses to “Fuck Kafka ~ Joseph Ridgwell”

  1. […] unknown wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerpt… working, drinking, and always broke. Like many travellers I just couldn’t get out of Kings Cross. I was well and truly stuck. Then I had an idea. Two jobs. That was it, a double income. Then I would be able to get the fuck out of [. … […]

  2. Hi Joe, nice one. I had a friend who got stuck in King’s Cross in the same situation. He ended up as a barker standing outside of a strip joint. I think Negative Gearing would be a good name for a band.

  3. Secretariat190 said

    So great to know exactly who’s talking here: “…and involved cold calling members of the public via the dog and bone” and “…had to convince punters to re-mortgage.”

  4. Joy Leftow said

    Love it! Flash fiction again.

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