The Perfection of Being a Failure


I walked into the recruiter’s office.
The air smelled of Pine-sol
And the recruiter had a smile
That appeared molded from plastic.
“You must be my 12 O’ clock.” He said.
I sneezed. Moisture drizzled from my mouth
Onto my bare arm. I un-raveled my shirt sleeve
To conceal the snot, adorned on my arm hairs. “That’s me.” I replied,
In a nasally tone.
“So, what brings you in to-day?”
“I want to enlist in the Navy.”
He took off his glasses, rubbed his eyes.
“Oh yeah,” he questioned “how come?”
“Well, sir, I feel it’s my duty to serve my country.”
“That’s a good reason.” He replied, placing his glasses back
Over his red eyes,
Atop his red nose.
“You a college student?”
“No sir.”
“Any criminal charges.”
I smiled.
“None that I have been convicted of.”
His plastic smile melted into a frown.
“What happened?”
I cleared my throat.
“Heroin overdose. It was dumb.
Only tried it once…ya know…teenagers.”
He raised his right eyebrow, perplexed.
“So, this happened in your teens?”
“Well…no…I was 23.”
Down the hall a door slammed.
For a second the questions ceased.
I was grateful for the distraction.
“And you only did it the one time?”
“One time that has been documented.”
He laughed and leaned back in his chair.
“I’ll be honest with you
It’ll be a cold shot in hell
Before any military branch
Takes you.”
I mimicked the way he leaned back
And scratched my nose.
“Ya don’t say?” I asked.

We sat there
Staring at each other.
Drunk in the honesty of the situation.

I got up.
Sobered myself of the rejection,
Walked down the street
And applied for a job
At Subway.

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