Biting the skin around my nails. Gnawing at it like grizzle on a steak.
Sucking and spitting out the blood.
Sip more coffee.
Go to the bathroom, again.
Momentary moments of distration on twitter...facebook.
I've got these people fooled. They think I'm happy.
They think I'm a working professional.
Fuck what they think. Actually nobody is thinking about you. It's all you Nic.
Calm yourself. You don't know what will become of this.
Speculation is the enemy of calm.
Deep breath. Just wait.
Fuck shit. Fuck. Shit. Fuck shit. I hate this.
I HATE this. Fuck. Fuck. Fuuuuck.
We will call between the hours of 11am-2pm PST. Failure to answer the call can result in the denial of your benefits and other penalties. This interview will determine your standing with California EDD...
I've re-read this goddamned letter at least 8 times. Terrified that I've missed the phone interview date. I hate the mothafuckers at unemployment. And I hate myself more that I hate them. I hate that I've been reduced (not forced) but reduced to this....this...manipulation. Begging. Groveling. Yeah, I know...I've worked hard and paid into this, but this ain't living. Sitting around filling out stupid questionnaires every 10 fucking days asking if I looked for work. If I refused work. Did you begin training or education? (because if you check yes, they will discontinue your unemployment benefits) Did you work whether you earned wages or not? (so if I worked 4 hours shoveling shit, and I am still waiting on the check, I have to claim it or ELSE...) Yes, yes, no, yes...don't check the wrong box or else you'll face the firing squad. And don't forget to claim ANY residual checks you may have received.
I'm a college educated woman. World traveled. Some what intelligent...I listen to N.P. fucking R. I donate money to PBS. Okay so what, I buy and return shit to Whole Foods ALL the time. There's nothing wrong with dumping out the $30 bottle of Olive Oil and refilling it with 99cent Only olive oil and returning it to Whole Foods. Fuck them! My shit is bootleg...but not evil. It's how I've been surving...and now my piss poor Girl Scout survival skills have landed me right here. Embroiled in some bullshit hustle that's about to catch up with me.
I have to figure out how to manage this measly EDD check, and work on the side...getting paid under the table if possible ...to survive. That's why they're calling me, I bet. I've been caught...but my survival...wait a minute. That's not survival.
People who made it out alive of the Kmer Rouge regime survived.
Little boys who ran from the Sudan for fucking 6months non stop survived.
Women who had their limbs hacked off after being raped in Sierra Leone survived.
My underemployment cannot possibly be filed under "survival." This shit is plain dumb. I hate these mothafuckers. Hate myself more.
Great. They're not gonna call, but I'll be blamed.
This hustle--and in this case, senility. God please, don't let them have found that one day job I did. Because I think I forgot to claim it. I know that's what this interview is about--
Ring. Ring. Ring.
This is Nancy calling from the California Education Employment Development for a scheduled phone interview. Is this De Aoona Brooooks?
The only people that call me De Anna are bill collectors and my high school lab partners...and folks from college. I hate the name De Anna. And I hate this bitch talking to me in this aggressive tone already.
Meees Broooks please verify your identity.
Are you kidding me lady? YES IT'S ME. CHICKEN LITTLE. Scared of everything in this very moment. Who the fuck else would pretend to be me right now? Also, where's my FUCKING apology? Bitch you call me 3 minutes before the cut off time? I've been sitting around twirling my pubic hair bored and nervous as fuck, watching commercials for Westwood College--and worse that fake fatty Jennifer Hudson crooning "If you want it you got it!" for Weight Watchers thinking "how the fuck did I get here?" Oh Jennifer, I actually like you alot. You're strong...you're definitely a survivor. I just hate these commercials. Stop SINGING. I don't believe in myself, okay? That's why I'm on the phone with--
Mees Broooks what is your:
Social Security number? date of birth? address? mothers maiden name? Blood type? Fathers fathers name? Slave ship vessel your people were forced to sail over on? shoe size? tampon preference? allergies? deepest fears? name of the first boy you let finger you? last time your bank account was above $200 for 30 consecutive days....
Fuck you Nancy. Fuck you and your horrible voice. You're floating on a cloud of nasality. I hate the way you sound. Round your vowels you cow! Stop being so lazy with your constantants. Pppp ttttt kkkk dddd...I have a great fucking voice lady. Because I'm an ACTOR. A noble profession. I am trained. I've trained since I was 14 years old. I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting...I've even studied Chinese Opera in Shanghai. When I sing Something About You by Level 42 at Karoke, people weep with joy! I am--
...So the department is investigating your Mees Brooooks becos, we see that you worked for Spotlight Pictures, but you didn't claim this job. Why not? Why didn't you tell us you worked?
You know, when you spend 334 days of the year with your head up your ass because you HAVE NOT BEEN ABLE TO WORK when you do FUCKING WORK you get so excited, some times you simply forget. OR you have to make the awful choice of delaying the claim...just so that you can survive one more week. You see if you make money and claim it, Unemployment will deduct it from your weekly dole.
Oh my god...this is all my doing. I am in hell.
No one forced me to become an artist.
Why haven't I booked any commercials lately?
Why don't I get invited to audition more?
I should book recurring roles on all the cop shows because right now I am being a VICTIM.
Why didn't you claim...no no...answer my question directly.
Judas priest, am I having a stroke? Everything is tingly, and I can't understand a word she's saying. I can't hear her over my heart beating like a drum...I can't...I knew this would happen. I...
Days. Days go by. And I am done.
I don't want to be here anymore.
smoke. cry. shit. nibble. sleep. smoke. pray. ball. weep.
days. rob peter, to pay paul. days. daze. daze. daze. daze.
Ring. Ring. Ring.
Who's number is this? Umph umph. Voice mail.
Hey J. Nicole this is Carl White from Martian Entertainment. Will you call me at 212-555-5555 <---wait a minute. When I get calls from 212 its NEVER a bill collector. Oh god...okay don't get your hopes up. Just...call back...
"Hey Miss girl how are you? We want to offer the role of Nina Bryant to you for Paul Stovall's Immediate Family at the Goodman Theatre. Do you want me to contact your agent?
In that moment, I knew what Keanu Reeves must always feel like. Like "Whoa".
Ummm....sorry, I don't have one.
Oh honey, after this--you will, trust me. So rehearsals begin..."
Is this call happening?
"Tech, previews...we open..."
Fuck me with a Twizzler. AN OFFER OF EMPLOYMENT?? The room suddenly became quiet...peaceful. All the noise--the cacophonous sounds of doubt, fear and lies that had become apart of me started to lift. And all I could do was sit. And listen.
"We have a great creative team lead by Phylicia Rashad, your director... did you hear me girl? Phylicia Rashad is your director. Nic? You still there honey? Hello???"
Yes Carl...I'm still here.
I'm still here.
ciao for now,