Hard Day’s Work
I haven’t done a hard day’s work in over five years. Not since I walked out of my last shift at Subway Indooroopilly into the pub, asking my coworker to tell the boss in the morning that I had called the store and quit. As I drank that night I promised myself that I wouldn’t be a cog in someone else’s machine again. I owned myself and if I fucked up then it was all on me. I ended up fucking up a lot.
My friend was asked to do a set at an open mic comedy night at a bar on a Monday. He freaked out all day about it at my house. He spent the time alternately napping and recycling his old Facebook statuses that had gotten the most likes. I spent the day smoking the last of my tobacco that I had bought with the last of my cash and telling him that he would be fine.
We parked in a shopping centre car-park and walked to the bar. I bee-lined for the toilets and thought about a tough thing to say if someone smart-mouthed me for pissing in a cubicle. I would say “I don’t need some not-very-smart-lift-heavy-things asshole telling me where he thinks I should piss” and then hopefully we would get in a fistfight. The toilets were empty.
We sat around drinking and smoking in the beer garden after my friend’s act with a bunch of uni students I didn’t know. There was one girl in the group and both my friend and my brother were hitting on her. I drank my second and last beer too quickly and asked my brother if he could drive home now. He told me that he wanted to stay for a few more beers so I ordered a glass of water. The bartender gave me a sympathetic smile.
A tall guy in his late twenties leaned over to the group and asked for a cigarette. I asked him if he could roll and he said yes. He came over and sat with us and I handed him my pack. He asked me what I did and I told him that I was a writer.
“How’s that going?”
“Alright, I have had some short stories published and some readings.”
“Does it pay well?”
He got up and asked me what I drink. I told him “I just drink.” He came back with a round man in his forties and a jug of beer. The old man shook my hand as hard as he could and introduced himself. He asked me what I did and I said that I was a writer.
“How’s that going?”
“I haven’t done a hard day’s work in over five years.”
His friend laughed but he gave me a serious look.
“Do you want to? Do a hard day’s work?”
I took a long time to answer so he spoke again.
“I need a shitkicker for a job down the road. Ten hours, cash in hand.”
I finished my beer and said yes I was interested. He asked me how much I would work for. I said between fifteen and twenty. He said twenty. He told me to meet him at six in the morning. He took fifteen minutes trying to give me the address.
We sat and drank and the old guy started insulting the girl in the group. I said that I had to go dance with the devil and stood up. The toilet with the cubicles was locked so I used the one with the urinal. I pissed in the corner that was the furthest away from the door.
I came back and my brother said the old guy could give me a run for my money in a drinking competition. I smiled and picked up a fresh beer. We both finished our beers in one short go. I slammed mine down on the table.
“We’ll call that a draw.” I said.
“Don’t be an asshole, you won that.” He slurred back. He leaned over to me and whispered with beer breath loud enough to make me uncomfortable.
“What are you doing? You could easily get that girl.”
He waved in her direction. She raised her eyebrows at me and I shrugged. He stood up and leaned down to whisper in her ear. I mouthed to my brother “Can we leave now?” He shook his head.
Later on the group stood out the front of the bar smoking and waiting for my friend. The girl spoke.
“What was that guy’s deal? He came over to me and asked if I could ‘show you a good time’ tonight.”
“He was an asshole,” I said, “but he was offering paid work and I could really use two hundred bucks.”
The shopping centre car-park was locked up. The girl said that we could stay at her place. I pissed on a wall out in the open and said I would walk home. My friend called out to me as I walked away.
“Don’t take that job man. That guy was an asshole and I make more money than he was offering dealing drugs.”
Halfway home I sat on a bridge and looked out over the water. I checked the time and it was 4:30am; I would have had to turn back then if I was going to make it to the job. I rolled my last cigarette and wrote myself some advice because I could really use some and no-one else seems to have any that applies to me. I wrote “Adulthood is bullshit. Adults are a bunch of people who do not know what the hell is going on, so they get someone else to tell them what to do. I do not want to be an adult. I will be something else.”
I smoked the last of my cigarette and walked home, trying to figure out what I would be doing the next afternoon.