Jonesy stood in the unemployment line waiting to see if there was anything available for him. He was about 25 people back from the front and the line didn’t seem to be moving. He’d been in the office three times a week for the last six weeks hoping to meet with one of the, “Vocational Engineers”, but had yet to speak to one.
Things were getting a little desperate for Jonesy. He had missed his last car payment and was now hiding his car in a friend’s garage, hoping the repo men wouldn’t find it. He had to buy groceries instead of making his car payment. His son also needed some new school supplies and that was more important that the stupid old car. His son, Joshua, was eight and awesome. Jonesy didn’t remember being so responsible or smart when he was eight years old so it must have come from his mother. Mary has passed several years ago and Jonesy didn’t want to think about it.
The unemployment line inched forward at a steady, mercilessly slow pace until after three hours Jonesy was finally at the front of the line. The young man at the counter called him forward and Jonesy gave him all his pertinent information. The young clerk wrote it all into a file and paused while reading the other documents enclosed therein. Jonesy tried to quiet the hungry monster gurgling in his stomach. All he’d had for breakfast was a piece of dry white toast and some orange rind. He had given the actual orange to his son for lunch.
“Mr. Jonesmith Kerrigan”, said the unemployment clerk.
“It says here you were employed as a cabinet maker for 15 years and since last summer you’ve been unemployed.”
“I see, it’s pretty tough out there for tradesmen such as yourself”, said the young man.
Jonesy nodded. He’d heard it all before, almost every time he made it to the window. Some young clerk with a government job commented on how tough the job market was for all the trade folks. Jonesy smiled and tried to keep a positive attitude.
“So you’re good with wood working and working with your hands”, asked the clerk.
“It also says here you had some management experience in your shop too.”
“Yes, I ran the employees and the shop for six years.”
“I think I might have something for you. Have you ever heard of this thing called, “Christmas”, said the clerk.
“Christmas, no, I can’t say that I’m all that familiar”, said Jonesy.
“Follow me”, motioned the clerk.
Jonesy followed the clerk around the counter and toward a back room in the farthest edge of the unemployment office. Jonesy never even noticed before how big the whole office really was. He’d only been to the counter and through the door for the most part.
The clerk stopped at the door and knocked twice. A voice from inside the room gave an affirmative and the clerk opened the door and motioned Jonesy inside. Once he stepped over the threshold the clerk closed the door behind him. In the room was a simple wooden table and chair. Jonesy sat at down and held his hat in his hand. He was suddenly very nervous. He’d heard stories about unemployed guys disappearing in back rooms because they ended up working for the mob or something. It was all rumors though and Jonesy didn’t really care too much for rumors, but he was still nervous.
A door at the other end of the room opened and shut but Jonesy didn’t see anyone come in. He was about to stand up when he heard a small voice. Jonesy looked about the room and at the opposite side of the table was the smallest man he had ever seen.
“Mr. Kerrigan, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Christian Cheer and I’m interviewing people for a new position with my toy making company. Do you think you’d be qualified for that?”