Tied Up

In “Anecdotal Tales”, stories will be told. Some will be fun, some will not. Some will be great, some will be less so. Some stories are true, some are merely possible. This is one of them.

Tied Up

Sam was tired of not living the life to which he had grown accustomed.  While many were suited to lives of busy schedules, weekend trips, and going out to the latest new restaurant, Sam sorely missed his life of leisure.  It’s not that he was anti-social; in fact he was quite amiable to those around him.  However when Sam arrived home from work he was quite happy to shut the world off.  Sure, he might go out for a drink or two for someone’s birthday, but he much preferred the world of potato chips, double cheese pizzas, and downing six-packs of beer.

Sam’s diet and lack of activity gave him a presence that filled a room.  He thought he checked in around the 300-pound area, but he had stopped weighing himself long ago.  He had found a place in the world with his mass.  His pug used his protruding belly as a pillow, the girl scouts always counted on him for a big purchase, and Sam was always the first one asked to play Santa Claus.  However the jolliness was in danger of leaving him.  How could any plump person maintain their trademark attitude when food was not to be found?

Though he had been a good worker, Sam and his belly soon wound up without employment.  The office had made drastic cuts to their staffing levels.  Sam became a casualty of war; his food intake became the injuries and wounds that he tried to ignore.  He saved and he scrimped, but Sam simply could not afford to keep eating at the rate he desired.  He longed for the days when he could return to his couch-dwelling, but for now he had would have to troll downtown, interviewing endless times with nameless HR reps.  Only with the procurement of a job could he cease this vexing walking up and down streets and resume his unhealthy lifestyle.

In between his second and third interviews, Sam wandered the streets of the bustling metropolis and decided to splurge on a meatball sandwich.  The line was longer than he liked, and the prices were not surprisingly high, but his hunger won out.  He ordered his extra large sandwich with extra meatballs.  His meal in hand, he sat down at the closest table.  He shirked his suit jacket in favor of freedom of range for his arms.   He pushed the requisite stack of napkins aside and began to dive into his meal.

Just as the sandwich was about to enter his mouth, a piercing scream shot through the air.  Startled, Sam tightened his grip on the bun and looked about with alarm.  He soon saw that it was only a five year old child, upset that the toy that had come with her food was not to her liking.  Sam glanced down and realized that the same could be said for his situation.  The surprise had caused him to squeeze the innards of his sandwich and his white shirt, neatly pressed khakis, and his go-to tie were all acting as a landing spot for the avalanche of meatballs which had cascaded into their waiting arms.

Sam sighed and tried to collect as much of the meat as he could.  He swallowed this bit, discarded that one.  Piece by piece he attempted to eat all the ingredients possible until finally he set about tidying himself up.  He looked around the restaurant, locating the restaurant at the rear.  He gathered up his jacket then made his way to its swinging door.

Sam hung his jacket on the hook which adorned the back of the bathroom door.  He leaned over the sink, grabbing a fistful of paper towels.  Wetting the towels with soap and water, Sam set to work.  He didn’t hold much help that the meatball stains would come out of his white shirt, but he hoped that the interviewer wouldn’t be able to notice if his jacket was buttoned.  His biggest concern was his tie.  The pants, like the shirt, might be covered by the jacket.  If nothing else there would probably be a table between himself and the person asking the questions.  But the tie was essential.  He had never heard of any of his friends landing a good job without a tie.  It almost seemed like an unwritten rule; one must have no criminal record, a social security card, and a tie. 

The polyester tie was not one to give up any struggle easily.  Sam would dab and scrub, dab and scrub, but repeat attempts to vanquish the stain made for slow progress.  Sam thought he had the stains mostly cleaned up, and what was left could be explained as artistic quirks from the fashion world.  He didn’t think anyone would notice the former catastrophe, but it had all left his tie dripping wet.  The paper towels did something to alleviate the moistness.  Still, Sam saw the electric drier and decided to take things up a notch.  He hunched over the hot exhaust by the door and tried to finish the last of his cleaning.  Time was running out; the interview down the block was in fifteen minutes.

Sam had his tie under the machine when a man bustled through the swinging door and pushed Sam up against the drier.  The man tried to apologize, but Sam waved him off with only polite words.  A man of Sam’s size was used to being bumped into.  The stranger went to the back stall and shut the door.  Sam went back to his task and heard the drier click on as hot air began to blow from the exhaust.  Had Sam not been overly distracted, he would have noticed that the collision resulted in the tie being stuck between the exhaust and the casing of the drier.  Now Sam found the hot air warming up his polyester tie and realized he was in trouble.  The hot air wouldn’t shut off and the tie would not come free.  Sam frantically tried to pull away from the heat, but the tie would not come loose.  He struggled to get the tie off of his neck, but it was secured too well.  The smell of burning polyester began to fill Sam’s nostrils.

Sam couldn’t believe that this was how it was all going to end, burned alive by a hand drier in a family restaurant.  The tie continued to burn, and as Sam cried out for help he hoped that the tie would burn enough that he could break free before it got too close to him. 

The stranger emerged from the stall and looked to Sam.  He froze for a minute, not quite sure whether to extract Sam from this life-threatening situation or ask how in the world Sam had gotten in such a state.  The man had no container to hold water in.  He was naturally afraid to burn his hands, so he did what any sensible person would do.  He ran towards the door, pulled Sam’s jacket off the door hook, and swatted it at the flames.  Sam tried to protest, but the man kept beating at the tie.  The flames subdued, the material seemed to be less flame-riddled, and the man cheered that it was working.  With an energetic kick, the man broke the drier.  The large dent signaled the drier’s defeat as it sputtered and clanked to a stop. 

The man, grinning broadly, handed Sam his jacket, patted him on the back, and went back outside.  Sam looked closer at his tie, found that the label had gotten stuck on an edge, and then managed to free himself.  Sam looked at the melted tie.  He inspected the numerous burns on his jacket, noting a few rips had joined them for good measure.  He finally confirmed that, yes; the pants still had their stain on them.  Sam looked at his clothes with worry and wondered if it was possible that the hiring staff would really, really like his shoes.

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About anecdotaltales
He's a simple enough fellow. He likes movies, comics, radio shows from the 40's, and books. He likes to write and wishes his cat wouldn't shed on his laptop.

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