Exemption – Part Two

We sat for about an hour that day. That was about as much as I could handle. He had the curtains drawn in the flat. The smoke sat thick, hovering above our heads. The light in the corner of the room gave a warm little glow.

“So this job. You selling stuff?” he asked after a long period of silence. He didn’t look away from the TV as he asked me. There was something dire on. It was that lull before the kids TV started.

“Nah, customer service. Fixing people’s problems.” I kept looking at the Bob Marley poster above his head.

“Right. Sounds shit man.”

“Yup, but I’m skint. So I need to work more.”

“Can’t you get something doing…eh…” he squinted at the crack in the curtains, at the light seeping through, “in….what did you study again?”

“Chemical Engineering” I said.

“Yeah, that’s it. Can’t you do something involving chemicals?”

“There’s nothing out there brother. Just call centers and debt collectors.”

He pulled his knees up to his chest and shook his head.

“Fuck that.”

“Yeah man, fuck bein’ a debt collector. Knowing my luck I’d get sent round to my own house!”

He smiled and laughed a little. He shook his head.

“Education, education, education eh?” he said, giving me a wink.


“Fucking Blair mate. The country’s fucked. You go to high school. You go to uni. You get the degree. And now what? A Chemical Engineer working in a fucking call center. They fucked you mate” He passed the joint back to me.

I looked at him. He was still wearing his pajamas. It was 2.40 in the afternoon. The Bob Marley poster over his head read ‘Don’t worry, be happy’ . I wondered if they fucked him too. It didn’t seem like it. I didn’t have an Xbox. I didn’t have ketchup.

“Nah I’m alright man.”

He shrugged and sat back with the rest of the joint. I saw a little smile come over his face as he put the joint back up to his lips. We sat in silence for a minute or so, the TV buzzing in the background.

“So how much are you after?” he asked me, dropping the last of the joint into the cup of moldy tea.

“Just a half ounce this time” I said, wishing I had just made this a social call. Aye right. A social call to the Mood Hoover. That would be right.

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13 thoughts on “Exemption – Part Two

  1. VG says:

    I’m hooked on Exemption! Love the picture, love everything but you do have one tiny typo! It’s here: “It didn’t seem like it. I didn’t and Xbox. I didn’t have ketchup.” haha, but this is great, please continue!!

  2. Allie says:

    This is great… I’m beginning to read your blog religiously… I just love your stories and poems. And of course you’re the reason I am currenty without a Facebook. Thanks again man, this stuff is brilliant

  3. Engineers are never unemployed. Music Technology graduates, yes.

    • I have a friend who studied Electronic Engineering, unemployed for nine months after getting his masters. It’s a different world back home these days.

      • VG says:

        have you guys ever considered the middle east? im an expat living in Qatar and they’re desperate for people like you guys, and the pay is pretty good for most of the work, especially teachers.

      • I thought about it but they’re normally looking for teachers with some level of qualification. I’m sort of making moves to get out of this teaching business now. It’s not for me. Plus I don’t think my pasty white skin could handle that much sun!

      • I stand corrected. I’d always bracketed engineers with lawyers and doctors in the ‘studied something employable’ category. My Dad’s an engineer; he despairs of me.

      • I’m told it’s a complete fucking mess back home. I know a few lawyers out here as well who can’t find work back home. Old Blighty’s in the hospice having her arse wiped for her as she wheezes through her iron lung.

      • VG says:

        Haha well we actually have a winter now so the sun isn’t a problem, but during the summer everyone hurries to leave the country.
        Well I wish you luck with whatever you want to do, but if you need any help with the Middle Eastern region I can always help 🙂 It seems to be the only place with good employment a least.

  4. Ross says:

    Like what I’m reading so far, keep up the good work.

  5. Ria says:

    Your short stories are wonderful.
    I feel motivated to begin writing again 🙂

    you’re awesome *thumbs up*

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