Daily Flash Fiction Challenge 51: Bait and Switch

This is the 51st a series of 365 Flash Fiction stories I’m writing. You can find out more about the challenge here.

The Bleeding Heart, by Jonathan L. Lawrence, 21st January 2012

Word count: 950

Theme: lost cause, grief, road less travelled, determination, love, serendipity

The story:

I was hoping, almost beyond hope, that my luck would change.

I was having the most crap of weeks, and it was hard to see how it could get worse, which is a silly thing to think. I should also point out that I had no idea how it could improve either. I’m not sure if I was an optimist, or a pessimist, I guess it’s academic now.

I guess I should give you the rundown, here goes, in one week:

  • I got made redundant, (and told the company was folding so no redundancy payments)
  • Broke up with my girlfriend of three years, (she didn’t want to be tied to someone she needed to financially support, I kid you not, her genuine words)
  • My car died, (and it’s going to cost a grand to fix)
  • My favourite television show was cancelled, (okay by orders of magnitude this is minor, but it all adds to the pain)

The list goes on and on, every little thing seemed against me. Let me tell you, it sucked the proverbial donkey nut, and then some.

But hey, for once in my life, I didn’t take it lying down, I decided, actually made a decision, to pick myself and get out there. After two days wasting away in my flat of course.

My indulgence of repeats of my show, served as grieving for the show itself, but for the way my life had suddenly gone as well.

So first on the to do list, I love lists there’s something innately comforting about a well thought out list, was to get start looking for a job. This wasn’t something that I found easy to deal with, I’d worked for the same company for fifteen years. So I decided to go to an agency, I could have gone to the job centre, and I figured I might have to sign on if I didn’t find something quick, but I didn’t really want to.

This was probably one of the better decisions of my life. Actually, I lie, I think it might have been the best.

The first agency I went to was to Stella Recruitment, where I was met on reception by a sour middle aged looking woman, she was terrifying. However, I have since learnt she is a very lovely caring woman, she’s just naturally that friendly out on reception.

I filled out a form, which asked for personal details, job history etc… then I was asked to wait as she perused the application, and pursing her lips, before wandering over to the photocopier. I was all kinds of anxious at this point, if her reaction were that of an employer I might be in trouble. That determination, that feel good factor, the comfort of a list vanished.

After fifteen torturous minutes, a face popped round the office door, and asked for me. I got up uncertainly, and the woman stepped out from the door, her hand held out. I shook it, but without my usual grip, I felt disarmed by this stunningly attractive creature before me, dressed sharply in a business suit. I don’t think I even acknowledged who I was, when she told me to follow her, I just did.

She took me to a meeting room that was a little bigger than a cubicle, with springy chairs, and a low table.

Her name was Sandra, and she was a recruitment consultant, (which you may have guessed), and she went through each part of my application. She said I needed more, I told that’s all I’d done, unless you counted nicking cars, she looked at me dumb founded,  my joke had fallen flat. When I explained the joke, she laughed, I think it was that moment I felt a real stirring for her.

Sandra called  a few days later, and apologised for waiting to get in touch. Apparently they thought they’d found a role, but when they finally got through to the company it had been filled. She explained that she didn’t want to send me for just any job with my skill set, so in the meantime, how would I feel about temping. I said yes, of course. I was back in again the following day to provide more proof of my identity, and to sign disclaimers and such.

The work wasn’t glamorous, but it would be enough to pay the bills while they found me something better.

That’s when she did it, at that appointment. It caught me completely off guard. She asked me out, I don’t think I would have had the nerve to ask her out. I’m a reasonably good looking chap, but I lack that killer confidence that allows a guy to ask anything in a skirt out.

I learned in later years, that she did it on a whim, she liked me, so she asked. Luckiest man alive, because not only did she get me the temp work, in less than a month she’d found me a permanent job. Not only that but our date went well, really well, if you know what I mean. So well in fact, there was another, and another. Now we’re about to be parents, and loving every minute of life together.

In fact the only thing she didn’t manage to fix was getting my favourite show back on the air, but she did buy me the bluray boxset that Christmas, so I think we’ll call that one even, don’t you?

So there you go, in the space of one week, (and a lifetime), I went from feeling the unluckiest man alive to the luckiest. Times are tough occasionally, but I never look back, my life is too good in the here and now.

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