by Jon Bennett
I was broke and desperate
so I went to Fisherman’s Wharf
and took the first job I found.
It was at a store called Magnetron,
a steel shack with walls
covered in refrigerator magnets
they sold to tourists.
There was no chair to sit on, just a pole
in the middle of the room.
On my first day my boss said,
“Please don’t lean
against the pole.”
She was an Irish woman
who pronounced “forty” as “farty”.
“I’ll try not to,” I said.
One day she caught me leaning against it.
“Try harder,” she said.
“I promise not to lean on it,” I said,
“if you get me a chair.”
She didn’t fire me.
It was hard finding people to work there.
When I was finally able to quit
she said I was a good guy
but a terrible employee.
Now when I see refrigerator magnets
I think of all the days
sucked from my hands
to make a dollar.