A late afternoon winter half-light hath descended upon the kingdom. It is four revolutions past midday on Thursday, and by tomorrow at three chimes, you must print two scrolls that will bring peace and wealth to your people. The first: an updated version of your resume that mentions two more Skills and Interests: “Spanish: Intermediate” (assuming no one asks anything more about this) and “Baking,” in anticipation of your job interview tomorrow. Scroll the second: two concert tickets for you and your date that you promised to pull from the Chrome Firefox, since you dare not trust of the Will Call ever since the Will Call Betrayal that hath stalked you like a shadow since ’09. ‘Tis your fifth date; you must not break the trust thou hath cultivated since meeting. Good luck, and remember: choose wisely. The fate of the kingdom depends on you.
1) Do you own a printer?
You are the all-mighty wide-strider who destroys entire armies with the flick of a wrist. The Olympians themselves cower in fear when you click upon “Print.” But wait, what’s this? An exclamation point over your ink levels. You recall, yes, they are nearly empty, but you have played with fire before and never suffered a burn. You decide to print the concert tickets first. They emanate from the printer splotchy and faded, the trials of a hundred pages evident in their struggle. You admit you were arrogant and wanton back when the black ink rivulets flowed forth like a mighty river hurtling down Mt. Lexmark: printing magazine articles to read on the train, letting friends print their plane and bus tickets at your place, eating ink for dinner. And now you must pay the price. This will not do. This will not do at all. Proceed to 2.
You hath not tasted of the fruit of owning a printer. You are innocent, brave; your life is one of dignity and struggle. Carry on, hero. Carry on to 2.
2) Do any of your friends own printers?
Actually, yeah, I think Greg does.
You send forth a text through the great network in the sky to Greg. “Hey man can I borrow your printer? Maybe today or tomorrow? Thanks.” Proceed to 3.
None that I know of. I mean, I think Greg does, but he’s been on my no-fly list ever since he made fun of my sweater in front of this person I had a crush on.
A pox upon Greg and the devil children he sires. Proceed to 3.
3) While waiting on or ignoring the ignoble Greg, may his family name be the mud upon the bootsoles of history, you decide you must take action. Are you a student at a University?
Woe unto you and your negative bank account. At least your mind shall be filled and cultivated until it spurts forth a garden of ideas or some shit like that. As a student, you have access to computers and printers without end, an endless cornucopia of 1’s and 0’s. You journey to the nearest computer lab and realize, aghast, that your TigerPoints! account, redeemable for printing and muffins, is running low. Alas, lower than low. It’s empty. If you overdraw your account yet again, the Dean of Making You Sad will issue forth a stern notice on University letterhead explaining that have greatly angered the University Overlord, keeper of the TigerPoints! Your transcripts will be suspended. You will be on academic probation. Your degree will be in grave danger, and you have no job prospects. The end will be nigh. You must not, cannot print. Proceed to 5.
The shadows whisper that you are generally a hopeless, degraded wretch of an excuse for a human, whose talents are being wasted in a cube inside a cube inside a cube. (You work at a cube factory.) At least that’s how it feels sometimes. Other times, it’s a beautiful, independent vision quest. Proceed to 4.
4) Are you able to print at your job?
‘Tis a gift and a curse. Beware the Ides of Printing! For if the One True Boss sees you printing a resume, he may speaketh the words most dreaded. “Hey there. How’s it going? What are you doing?” This must not happen. Cursed words! Would that he return to his corner office and just let you do you. Further, the men of the loose-fitting, bluish clothes hath, they claimed, fixed the printer for a thousand generations to come. But you know the demons that stalk in the crevices of the office printer are not to be trifled with. They commune with forces not of this world. You cannot risk angering them. Proceed to 5.
Nope. Got a crap job like everybody else.
A commoner, you must hold your head high. The Great Glorg will protect you. Proceed to 5.
5) The kingdom wraps itself in darkness. The witching hour approaches, and you curl into your haystack bed. Hulu the Great whispers sweet tidings into your ear as you drift into an anxious dreamscape. Proceed to 6.
6) The Sun rises late, poking and slithering through your shades like the snake plague your forefathers tell tales about. You checketh of your phone while still laying in the straw, and Greg Callous Flake IV hath not texted. Your job interview knocks at four chimes, and then comes dinner and the concert. Thou must attain the first and second scrolls before the fourth ding dong or a great sadness will descend upon the kingdom. You decide to journey to the public library before work.
Upon entering the cave of forgotten dreams, you encounter people who have not showered. You encounter people who are taking lessons on how to turn a computer on. You encounter people yelling at the library staff for not having enough books on medicinal marijuana and astrology. Do you continue?
Yes. I must find the computers.
You are an unstoppable force of nature, capable of razing mountains and reversing the flow of rivers. Proceed to 7.
No. For the love of God, no.
A prudent decision, you are wiser than your years. A hero knows to pick her battles, and the young sir touching himself under the corner table is not a good omen. Proceed to 8.
7) Alas, all the computers are in use. Do you wait for one to become available?
Yes. This is it. It’s so close.
You wait fifteen minutes, and finally sit next to a man 10,000 years old who is neither breathing nor moving, and yet still staring at you. The connection speed is tortoise slow, but finally you print the parchment after two stern attempts. You run to the train and from the train to work. You are 30 minutes late and run straight into your boss. He knocks free your resume and cover letter. You speaketh forth, “What the fuck?” before realizing who it is. Your boss is surprised and his brow maketh the weird shape it makes when he’s angered. Your boss realizes you are applying to other jobs and in fact hate your job, for you admit your hatred after his mind games. You pass out, and when you awake, it is night. You are lying on a park bench alone. You look upon the sky and see the full Moon. A wolf howls. His comrades join him. The sound of the pack gets louder and louder; closer and closer. The darkness. The darkness. The darkness. X
You run to work and make it before the Conference of Elders displays its battle plans on PowerPoint. Proceed to 8.
8) Catching a fleeting glimpse outside, you notice the Orb of All-Knowing Light is past its zenith. It must be at least two. Fatigue is setting in. Your magical stratagems are failing. Do you journey to FedEx Office Print & Ship Center and ask them to transcribe your scrolls?
Yes. It is my last hope.
The Great Glorg has seen what you have done and is not pleased. You have forgotten the old saying, “Heroes are born, not made at FedEx Office Print & Ship Center.” Your fields will grow fallow come spring. A terrible plague sets in among your livestock. X
No. Never surrender; never give up.
Well said, warrior. Now cease chewing that day-old bagel and go onto 9.
9) The one they call Greg—may his soul ever wander the Earth after death, finding no peace and instead only angry dragons—has still not responded. The end times approacheth. Do you send a message through the Land of 4-Gs unto your date, requesting they print the tickets instead?
Yes. I just don’t know what else to do.
You asketh for help from the one person you are ‘tempting to impress. Your date says of course, not a problem, and lo! the tickets appear without the sorceress they call Will Call. Now scrub clean the dirt of your day, put on of the nice outfit, and journey forth to your destiny.
No. I’m just too proud. If I say I’m going to do something, I do it.
Greg, may his bowels catch fire and his eyeballs explode like a million supernovas, never responds. Thou showeth up late to the interview and the date. The Will Call line doth snake around the block. Waiting in line is a kind of bored torture. The band does not even partake of an encore. Your date asks to call it an early night. You walk home through the bitterly cold streets alone and finish the night on the floor, eating macaroons and watching “Friday Night Lights,” imagining a different life. X
10) But what about the job interview?
You must forget the new resume. Harness the enthusiasm of the gods, smile, and impress them with your wit and good humor. Pray for rain.