Chess’s throat felt tight and he struggled to keep the tears from his eyes. Blinded by the still-bright sunlight, Chess plodded in the general direction of home, but he did not want to go there.
He told himself that he had never had a chance, no matter how well he had done in the interview: there were just too many candidates for the job. But having the appointment had at least given him some kind of stupid hope.
Deep in his brain, a voice was telling him that he truly was a failure: it didn’t matter that the odds had been against him -- he could have gotten the job if only he was not so laughably pathetic. Taking shallow, shaky breaths, Chess halted his steps and leaned back against the rough concrete wall. People passed by as if he was invisible – yes, there was an invisible wall between him and the world.
“Everything okay, there, son?”
Blinking, Chess focused on the face of the man standing in front of him. The government uniform identified him as one of the local security detail who were always around, day or night. With a gasp, Chess looked around wildly, instinctively thinking to run.
“Whoa!” The man put a steadying hand on his shoulder. “Just look at me, now.”
Trying desperately to control the rising panic, Chess did as he was told, wide-eyed and breathing hard. The sun, just behind the man’s head, seemed abnormally bright. A few passers-by shot them curious glances.
After a moment, the security guard seemed satisfied and stepped back. “You’re okay, there," he concluded. “Just having a bad day, I guess?”
Chess nodded shakily, feeling the beginnings of nausea.
“Well, careful, you’re gonna wreck your suit leaning against that wall like that.” Curtly, the man nodded to him and turned to go.
Chess remained where he was for a few minutes, willing his heartbeat to calm down. It was not after curfew, he told himself. He was not in trouble. His breathing started to slow. No, he just might as well be dead, he thought miserably. Finally, he continued on his way.
On the next street he passed one of the city’s ubiquitous military recruiting stations. They always looked so ominous to him: the door he never dared enter. He paused before it cautiously, as if it might suck him in against his will. Squinting against the sun, he could see nothing of the inside.
With the chronic state of war, he knew the military was always looking for new recruits. “They take anybody,” he muttered aloud, causing a lady walking by him to look at him briefly and then pointedly look away. He added, more softly, “Yeah, but I wouldn’t make it through the first week.”
But every family he knew seemed to have someone in the army, he mused to himself. Because someone in the family had to earn a steady paycheck. And if someone died while fighting, the family received a stipend... He sighed and shook his head. No, not this. He couldn’t do it. He walked on.
His panic had not dissipated. The white noise still filled his brain… and the derisive, laughing voice was still proclaiming his failure. For the first time, he really wondered what he was going to do.
He had kind of started to assume that it would be his sister who would be the successful one in the family. She was so smart and self-confident – she definitely scored above average on team-building, and influence, and everything else. Yeah, but she was only in her second year of college – she needed time. And the insurance money from their father was just about gone.
Well, maybe he should actually try being a thief. Even in his present state of mind, the thought made him chuckle. Yeah, and maybe he should have given a larger offering to the indigo priestess.
Chess wondered at the people walking by him: they all seemed to know exactly what they were doing, whereas he never did. He shrugged. Maybe he should talk to his sister.
Continued next page...
GC: I want to know what’s going on! I think you’re deliberately trying to humiliate people, and I’m going straight out of here and I’m going to tell the police exactly what you do to people… What do you think of that?
The judges give him very high marks
JC: (Interviewer): Very good marks.
GC: Oh, oh well, do I get the job?
JC: (Interviewer): Er, well, I’m afraid not. I’m afraid all the vacancies were filled several weeks ago.
Monty Python, Silly Job Interview, show 5, aired 16 November 1969
So, mythology… When I was in sixth grade, I enjoyed reading D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths. This and certainly Bullfinch’s Mythology are a great introduction. A preface to Bullfinch’s book states that “his chief pleasure in life lay in writing out the results of his (classical studies) reading in simple, condensed form for young or busy readers,” and, having been both types of reader at one time or another, I am very grateful to aggregators like him. However, what these writers have done is take the most well-known myths and fix them together in one package, sort of making it seem as if the faithful in these ancient times believed entirely and exactly this. And the pantheon of Greek gods was fixed, the same for all worshipers, and the same as the Roman gods, just with different names. And, until I started reading Joseph Campbell, my chief concern with mythology was trying to keep straight exactly what each god was the god of… and which ones were actually Egyptian or Babylonian or Norse?
But even though I am not terribly knowledgeable on the subject of mythology (or history or science or… sigh) there is one thing that all further study has taught me: nothing fits into a neat definition!
…upon his favorite filly. “I’m Thor!” he cried.
The horse replied, “You forgot your thaddle thilly!”
- (undeserving of citation)
Note to readers: We at SeeDarkly will be out and about at TempleCon in Warwick RI this weekend, but Monday's installment should be up on time. We're hoping to join in some board and card games (Munchkin Quest?), meet some new friends, and let anyone interested know about The Myth Prosaic. Hopefully we might get a game or two with some of you there!
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