The Adventures of Ryan Takahashi: Chapter Twenty – Tales from the Unemployment Line

Fired? Holy shit.

Really? Me? Fired from my job???

This doesn’t happen to people like me. This happens to OTHER people. You know, people who are lazy, incompetent, under-qualified or rude.

Not smart, studious, polite Asian guys like ME!

Motherfucker…

It’s been nearly two hours since I was fired from my annoying but stable job at Wellford Fitness Center. Here I am, lying in bed, eyes glazed over and a million thoughts running through my mind. Did I really just get fired for doing what I just did?

I mean, I got fired because I was caught having sex with one of my fellow employees. And not just any employee, for the record. I got caught by my boss having sex with Michelle, a hot perfect blonde. Michelle is the type of girl I could NEVER get in a billion years. She’s the type of girl every guy fantasizes about. She’s the type who gets muscle jerks like Big Danny, not awkward Asian guys like Ryan Takahashi.

I wonder what Michelle is thinking right now. Is she thinking “Gee, I’m such an idiot! I got fired for screwing Ryan! WTF????”

Or is she getting drunk right now? Or did she decide to go back to Big Danny out of desperation? Gosh, I hope not…

Oh well. She’s a wonderful personal trainer and one of the most gorgeous human beings on planet Earth. I’m sure she won’t have any problem finding another job.

Me, on the other hand, will have a much tougher time. I’m not as cute as her or as skilled in the fitness industry.

If only there were jobs for history majors just flying off the shelves. That would be convenient.

So, the next day I immediately start applying for jobs. I wake up at 8 a.m. sharp (which, believe it or not, is sleeping in for me!) and search the usual online job databases for attractive openings. Twelve cover letters later, I look up at my clock and see it is 11:27 a.m.

Time for lunch!

Because I’m strapped for cash, I’m going to have to resort to a boring peanut butter and jelly sandwich, baked potato chips and whatever cheap beer I have in the refrigerator. Ah, yes. The life of being unemployed. Oh joy. I can hardly contain my excitement.

Blah.

It’s a very surreal experience. I’m still – even 24 hours later – completely in shock over how I lost my job. I lost my job at the peak of orgasm. I was fired the moment my boss saw me and Michelle nearly consummate our impromptu coupling session. Even thinking about it gives me the chills. I still wonder what Michelle is doing right now. Is she agonizing over her poor decision to let her vagina (and my penis) get in the way of maintaining a paid job? Or has she been hired right off the bat by some other gym?

God only knows.

After lunch, I decide to take a stroll down the street and inspect the local businesses. I might strike gold and discover one of them is hiring. Stranger things have happened. There are plenty of cute little boutiques, shops and restaurants around here that might be hiring this very instant. This could be my lucky day.

Enjoying a sunny but chilly early afternoon, I see no one has a “NOW HIRING” sign hung up on their door. Well, shoot. Seattle is a large city after all, so there’s no use being down in the dumps quite yet.

Of course, I always have Sam’s proposition on the table. You know…being a high class drug dealer.

Holy shit. The fact that this crossed my mind is making me shudder. I need to stop thinking about this! Because the more I think about it, the more likely I’ll end up rationalizing a reason to take him up on his offer. And thoughts have a funny way of becoming reality if you’re not careful.

Hm. Nothing is around here. Just endless businesses with all their employment needs met. No signs of desperate storeowners needing a helping hand. No damsels in distress willing to pay me a million bucks to save her from danger. Nothing of the sorts.

Damn.

Suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, I see a business called “Cascade Temporary Staffing.” Uh huh. Temporary staffing. Well, I guess a few temp jobs here and there wouldn’t hurt. I’m not hurting for money, but a little extra green in the bank certainly could help me get through the holiday season. This could also be a great way to get my foot in the door with a great company. Gee, maybe I should inquire within and see what opportunities they have available!

And that’s exactly what I do.

I walk inside the building and see a long line. A verrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrry long line. Holy cow! There must be at least 40 or 50 people here! All they’re doing is waiting, carrying their résumés and hoping for a shot at a decent job.

Wow, it’s really sad in here.

This economy definitely is not improving at the rate we’d all hope. This explains the long line. Although I didn’t bring a CV or anything, but I’m here and I have some time to kill, so I guess there’s no harm in waiting in line with the rest of these folks. Who knows? I might walk out of here with a job interview in my pocket. You never know…

(Time passes)

25 minutes later, I think I’ve moved maybe nine feet. There’s about four or five dozen people here and only two Cascade Temporary Staffing employees helping us all. Gee, how ironic is it when a staffing agency is understaffed?

Meanwhile, I have nothing to do but overhear the colorful conversations of the people both in front and behind me. I must say, random people talking about random nonsense can be the most entertaining thing you’ll ever witness. For example, here’s a sample of a conversation between two teenage girls, one dressed like a biker chick and the other looking like she bought all her clothes at a Value Village blow-out sale.

Girl 1: You’re not going to believe this. Holy fucking shit.

Girl 2: What is it?

Girl 1: You know that guy I was with for a while? Craig?

Girl 2: Yeah. What about him?

Girl 1: He got arrested yesterday. And he just texted me. Do you know who his cellmate is?

Girl 2: Who?

Girl 1: My baby’s daddy. Holy fuck! That shit is fucking messed up.

Girl 2: Fuck.

Girl 1: My ex is cellmates with my baby’s daddy. Holy shit.

Girl 2: Yeah, girl.

Seriously. This is the crap I have to listen to in this God-forsaken unemployment line. I don’t want to sound too condescending, but I’m going to guess that neither of these ladies (both of whom couldn’t be older than 16 or 17) have a college degree or any employable skills beyond gossiping, getting pregnant and texting.

SMH.

Oh my God! Am I using Internet-speak? Am I degrading two people I don’t even know for having no “employable skills” when I just got fired for doing it doggy-style with a female co-worker? I am in no position to judge.

This is what unemployment does to you. It kicks your sense of self-worth out the door.

Finally, after what seems like a whole hour (but it was only about 40 minutes), I get to the front of the line and have the chance to speak to a staffing agent. The guy is named Stephen and he looks bored to death. Hey, I don’t blame him one bit. This place is a depressing cesspool full of desperate, jobless folks who would rather be somewhere else. If I worked here, I’d jump off a bridge in no time!

“Did you bring your résumé with you, Mr. Takahashi?”

“No, I did not. I came here on a whim.”

“In that case, fill out these forms and turn them in to window #5, please. Then we’ll process it and schedule a real face-to-face interview sometime next week.”

Stephen points to window #5, which is being manned by a guy who looks even more depressed than him. Boy! This place is giving me bad vibes.

“Thank you.”

“Yeah, yeah. No problem. Next!”

I walk away and find a chair in the waiting area. I thumb through the application papers, looking for what type of information they need from me. Holy cow. There must be at least thirty pages here! They’re asking for all my employment history, school records, criminal history, opinions about workplace ethics, professional AND personal references and writing samples. It even includes a math quiz (Really? Just because I’m Asian doesn’t mean I can do math!) and a personality test.

Oh. My. God. I REALLY don’t want to fill out all this crap. Seriously. Can’t someone just give me a job already? It’s only been one day and I’m already sounding as emo as a middle school kid playing with a razor blade in my mom’s minivan. Do they really expect me to fill out all this today?

You know what? Screw this. Screw this!

I get up from my chair, dump the application on the floor, give Stephen the “evil eye” and storm out the door. I don’t need this. Seriously, I don’t. I’m not going to fill out my entire life’s history just so I can get a temp job being an accountant at some disease-ridden hellhole. I need to be doing something where I feel useful, not where I’m disposable.

Yes, I just burned a bridge, but it’s nothing major and I’m sure this will not come back to haunt me anytime soon. I’ll just keep strolling down this street and see what else comes up.

Hm….

Nothing much yet. Now I’m outside the business area and moving into a residential neighborhood. I don’t think anyone around here is hiring. God…I’m depressed right now.

Like, really depressed. I don’t know why, but this entire week has been one big blur. One moment I have a stable job, the next moment I’m having sex with a gorgeous female bodybuilder, then all of a sudden I’m unemployed and on the verge of being broke.

Whew. I need a drink. I need some whiskey.

As I sulk around this particular neighborhood, I’m instantly reminded of a time when I was a child and I was the last kid picked to play kickball during recess. As I stood in the field, waiting for the ball to ever get to me, I didn’t feel happy that I was playing with my “friends.” I was sad because they thought so low of me that they chose me last, even after all the girls! I forced a smile and did my best, which wasn’t much.

I feel a lot like that now. I feel like Life has chosen me last to play kickball. I feel like Life would rather take any of those people waiting in line in front of me back there than little old Ryan. I get the sense that Life is looking down upon me and laughing at my expense.

Life would rather help out those two girls and the incarcerated baby’s daddy than me.

My melancholy daydream breaks when I hear a dog barking at me. Furious that I’ve trespassed onto “his” sidewalk, I turn around and decide to go back home. There’s nothing for me here. My best chance of landing a decent job is finding one online, not wandering around aimlessly hoping to win the employment lottery.

And to think I wasted 40 minutes of my life waiting in that bloody unemployment line. I could have been doing something more productive like watching TV, jogging, eating, sleeping, masturbating or taking a long crap.

Speaking of taking a long crap (which is such a pleasant thought, by the way), I REALLY need to pee. It truly is time to go home.

But this time, I’m not going to wait around for anyone to pick me for kickball. I’m starting MY OWN team!

Onward! And onto bigger and better things!!!

The Adventures of Ryan Takahashi: Chapter Ten – Monday Morning Blues

Good God. Is it Monday already?

I look at my alarm clock and see it is 4:58 a.m. I turn it off before it decides to ring.

Shit. Garfield the cat is right. Mondays do suck.

My shift at Wellford Fitness Center starts at 6 a.m., which is when the gym opens to the public. That means I have to wake up at 5 a.m. to give myself enough time to eat breakfast and get some coffee in me.

I usually make my own coffee. Today is no exception. I only buy already-brewed coffee on Sunday mornings when I make my weekly trek across the street to D’Angelo’s Café. This is partly the reason why I didn’t order anything at the espresso bar when I first met Cindi. Why pay two dollars for coffee that I could make for myself at a much cheaper price?

After a hearty breakfast of Wheaties and a bagel with cream cheese, I chase down a cup of iced coffee (I’m too lazy to heat it up in the microwave) and head out the door.

Five minutes later I enter through the back door and put on my dark red Wellford Fitness Center t-shirt that’s sitting in my employee locker. Believe it or not, the company gives us four pairs of these shirts in order to prevent us from wearing the same shirt all week. I think this is a good policy. Gyms smell bad enough. We don’t want the foul stench of employees making things worse.

I usually feel a bit depressed on Monday mornings (who doesn’t?), but today I’m feeling especially down-trodden considering my week ahead. I have five whole days before I see the Goddess Cindi again. I wonder what time she gets up every morning to start her workout? Is she an early riser, or does she workout in the afternoons/evenings? I should ask her the next time I see her.

It is my turn today to man the front desk. I’m in charge of the front desk from 6 to 9 a.m. From 9 to noon I clean and do laundry (we provide workout towels for everyone).

As the clock approaches 6 a.m., I see our first customer of the day show up. And right on schedule. It’s Dale, a 40-something businessman who’s always here right when we open. Dale and his wife are both former college athletes who have raised two ridiculously athletic children. Their daughter is currently training for the Olympics as a gymnast and their older son is a high school track star. No big deal.

I unlock the front door at the stroke of 6 and let Dale in, who waits outside patiently like always.

“Good morning, sir.”

“Good morning to you, Ryan.”

I scan his membership card and he strolls toward the locker rooms. Next I see Frances, an elderly 80-something woman who does water aerobics every morning. The class doesn’t start until 7, but she likes to be here early so she can read the newspaper before her workout.

“Hi Frances. How are the grandchildren?”

“They’re rude and they don’t listen,” she sheepishly says. I scan her membership card and wisely choose not to ask any more questions. She’s always in a pissy mood. But she seems to have a positive relationship with her grandchildren, so I’m a little taken aback that she thinks they’re rude and don’t listen.

Us whippersnappers are a real pain in the butt, aren’t we?

“Have a good workout,” I tell her as she leaves.

Frances doesn’t respond.

Somehow, my feelings aren’t hurt. My heart will go on.

Minutes later more people start to come in large groups. We’re talking people ranging from the very old to people my age looking to become as buff as possible. Try as they might, but they’ll never have anything on my Cindi. She’s buffer than anyone on the planet.

“My” Cindi? Am I claiming ownership over her? She should claim ownership over ME. She deserves that much.

As it approaches 7:30, the gym finally becomes lively with the noises of chit chat, treadmills running at full blast, the clank of 45-pound metal plates rubbing against each other and the usually grunts and groans of people getting a quality workout.

My mind starts to wander. What is Cindi doing right now? She’s definitely at the gym. She has to be. If she works out early on a Sunday morning, there’s no reason why she wouldn’t be at the gym earlier on a Monday morning.

“This sucks,” I tell myself out loud. It sucks that I have to wait five days before I can see her again. God, she’s like a drug. I’ve only met her once and I’m already at the stage where I can’t get her out of my mind.

Cindi North, you Beautiful Muscular Temptress. You’ve cast a spell on me. And I like it. A lot.

I giggle when I think about our first sexual encounter together. I totally prematurely ejaculated all over her face. I was humiliated at the time, but I can laugh at it now. It’s true when they say that time heals all wounds. But everything was totally worth it when she performed oral sex on me later. That felt divine. Absolutely divine. And I got to come on her eight-pack abdominal muscles. That was ridiculously hot.

I continue to daydream until I hear a woman’s voice call out to me.

“Excuse me, sir. Uh, excuse me?”

I immediately wake up from my mini-daydream.

“Uh, sorry. What is it? How may I help you?”

I look at the woman speaking to me and I almost stop breathing when I see her.

Hot damn.

She’s a young black woman who looks to be anywhere between 25 and 30. She’s fairly tall, maybe between 5’10” and 6”. She’s wearing a bright pink sports bra and a matching pair of tight spandex shorts that leaves nothing to the imagination. She has very dark skin that looks as black as night and as smooth as silk. Her angular face looks very exotic and unbelievably beautiful. I’m not a world-renowned traveler, but there’s something in her look and in her voice that tells me she wasn’t born in this country. I don’t know. But she’s simply gorgeous.

“I’m new in town and I have a free one-week pass. Do I give this to you?” she asks politely.

Her voice does sound like it has a slight African accent to it. I struggle to look at her face once I take a peek at her large, plump, bountiful breasts. Unlike Cindi, this woman has breasts. And very enticing. I want to squeeze them right now. But that would get me fired.

“Yes, you can give that to me. Can I see it?”

She hands it to me and I see that it’s legit.

“Alright, this is good for exactly one week, so it expires next Monday. Let me scan it for you.” I scan it and give it back to her. I take a quick look at her midriff and see she has a modest four-pack of abs developing. After I scan her paper card I look at the computer and see her name is Monifa Okendu. That’s a name you don’t hear too often around here.

“Thank you,” she says.

“Alright, have you ever been here before, Monifa?”

“No. I just moved here yesterday morning.”

“Oh! Welcome into town. Where are you originally from?”

“Ethiopia. But I’ve lived in New York City for the past three years.”

“In that case, welcome to Seattle. Would you like someone to give you a tour of our facility? I can ask a staff person to show you around.”

“Thank you, but no thanks. I think I can find everything I need just fine.”

“Alright. The women’s locker room is on the opposite side of the men’s locker room to your left. You will have to provide your own locks, however. Did you bring your own today?”

“Yes.”

“Good. It’s wise to do whatever you can to prevent against theft. We’re usually pretty good around here, but you never know. So, we offer workout towels for all our clients, including guests. Just drop them off in this box after you’re finished. Any other questions?”

“I don’t think so. Thank you very much.”

“Oh, I forgot to mention. Guests are allowed to attend all the classes we offer except for the advanced ones. Here’s a brochure explaining everything we offer here.”

I hand her a brochure and she puts it in her gym bag. Her toned arms look delicious.

“Thank you very much. You’ve been very helpful. What’s your name?”

“My name is Ryan. Enjoy your workout, Monifa.”

With that, Monifa turns around and walks toward the locker rooms. I take a look at her butt as she leaves. Holy mackerel! Lush, ample, perfectly rounded and taut, she nearly competes with Cindi’s impeccable derriere, but not quite. No one can compare to Goddess Cindi.

Well, that Monifa is quite a physical specimen! I hope she chooses to work out here long-term. That would make my mornings a lot easier to bear.

Just when I thought my morning got a little better, I look outside and see it has begun to rain. Hard. I mean, pouring down rain. Cats and dogs. Sheesh. Typical Seattle weather. Whenever a Monday seems to become somewhat tolerable, Mother Nature finds a way to slap you in the face and bring you back to reality.

The rest of my morning passes without a hitch. Nothing too spectacular. Later when I return to the front desk to pick up the box of dirty towels, I catch a peek of Monifa (whose bright pink and revealing outfit is extremely hard to miss) deadlifting what looks to be about 135 pounds, which is the metal bar plus a 45-pound plate on both sides. Not bad. It’s not quite the 500 pounds that Cindi can do, but that’s pretty darn impressive for a woman.

Wow, will Cindi ever leave my mind? Not for a long time, let me tell you.

As I walk into the laundry room I bump into Michelle, the ridiculously cute receptionist/personal trainer who works here.

“Hi Michelle. How many clients do you have today?”

“Only three. But they’re real clients, not the fake ones I’m usually stuck with.”

“You mean real athletes?”

“Yeah. One girl plays high school volleyball. Another girl wants to be a competitive figure model. And the other is a lady who’s determined to lose all her baby fat before Thanksgiving.”

“Before Thanksgiving? She better get on it. That’ll be here sooner than you think.”

“Well, she seems determined enough. See you around, sugar.”

Michelle, wearing a black Wellford Fitness Center sports bra and tight black shorts (not unlike what Monifa is wearing today), takes a swig from her coffee tumbler and goes into the workout area, leaving me alone holding a box of smelly towels. Dear God, these reek. Holy shit. If I don’t load these into the machine right away, I might just barf.

Ugg!

Oh, and by the way, Michelle usually calls every guy she knows “sugar,” so don’t get too excited on my behalf.

“That Monifa looks like she could become a competitive figure model,” I say to myself.

Loading the towels into a washing machine, I (for some really odd reason) start to think about Sam’s job offer he talked about yesterday. How would I like to be a drug dealer for the rich and wealthy? It would be easy money, these are people who don’t typically get involved in random street shootings and if I ever get caught, they could use their power and influence to get me off without any trouble. I mean, they’d do that, right?

And depending on what kind of drugs I’d be dealing, I might be able to meet more FBBs like Cindi North. Steroids and other human growth hormones are considered drugs, right?

But I’d never be able to meet another woman quite like Cindi. She’s a statuesque Goddess. But if women like her exist, there should be others like her. That makes sense. And I seriously don’t want to work here for the rest of my life. These smelly towels can always be washed by someone without a college degree.

I hope I’m not sounding too elitist.

But I digress. Sam and his buddies probably aren’t the type of people I want to associate myself with on a regular basis. I’d much rather hang out with Cindi and make love to her. Hell, who wouldn’t?

The thought of making love to a celestial muscle Goddess like Cindi is enough to carry me through the rest of the day.