One of my most popular short stories, Looking the Other Way, is now up at matthewkeville.com.
2008 was a bad year. Even in New York City, where the Great Recession never got quite as deep as it did in the rest of the country, that fall and winter were deep, dark, tell-your-grandkids-how-you-lived-through-the-hard-times bad. Hundred-year-old investment firms closed down like Broadway shows, and Broadway shows shut down like a community theatre production in Ogdensburg. Even the strip clubs were hurting.
I was one of the lucky ones. Well, not one of the really lucky ones. They kept their jobs. But I had a good severance package, a couple of 401(k)’s I could cash out for a couple thousand apiece (hurt me at tax time, but you do what you have to do), and an ex who insisted on rooming with me as long as I needed help with the rent. Between all that, Unemployment, and the fact that I was able to find temp work almost immediately, I was able to hold on and get through.
That last part was really key. When 2008 happened, I was a paralegal at a big Wall Street law firm. That made me a very useful fellow, but in 2008, even I was taking whatever work I could, wherever I could, whenever I could, and was grateful to get it.
Even so, I quickly discovered that I didn’t like night shifts. It puts you out of sync with the rest of the world. Sure, it’s nice to be able to go to the gym at noon when there are maybe three people in the whole place, but it’s just not New York if you can’t take a date to dinner and a play. Not that I could have afforded to do that anyway, but still.
Anyway, that was how I ended up standing on the subway platform at 59th and Lexington at 3:30 in the morning, headed back out to my apartment in Queens: a temp job. This law firm had needed someone to cover for their Proofreading Department while he took his “use ‘em or lose ‘em” vacation days before the end of the year, and his shift was from 6 PM to 2 AM…and that night had run into overtime.
Check out the rest here.