Tom drove to his appointment with an employment agency that afternoon and was hopeful they'd give him a lead on something. He thought he was still in good shape, reasonably intelligent, he did pretty well answering questions on Jeopardy. He kicked ass against the eggheads on that show quite frequently. Usually while leaning against his kitchen counter drinking a beer. If only he had a way to buzz in from his apartment, he’d be in the money. So surely the employment agency could find something for him. Help an old surfer out in his time in need... before he ended up desperate, like Hemingway's old Cuban fisherman in that book he was assigned read back in high school.
“So your name is S-u-g-e-r-l-a-n-d… Thomas S-u-g-e-r-l-a-n-d? What kinda name is that?” said Mrs. Dollo, the heavyset black woman at the employment office. “A sweet one,” Tom said.. Mrs. Dollo looked at him smiled. “It reminds me of some sort of children’s game,” she said. Tom tried hard not to roll his eyes too much, “you’re thinking about C-a-n-d-y-l-a-n-d.”"Yes," Mrs. Dollo flapped her meaty little hands up and down like a penguin might do.“Yes, that’s it! So Mister S-u-g-a-r-l-a-n-d, how are you with computers? Do you know Photoshop by any chance?” Tom looked at Mrs. Dollo, as if she was from the planet Jupiter.“I have an email address… every once in a while I’ll check out some surfing videos on You Tube… that’s the extent of my computer skills I’m afraid.”“Hmm.” Mrs. Dollo looked at Tom and then back at her computer screen.“What about retail experience?”Tom scratched his scruffy white beard, “Nope… afraid not. I’m a tow-truck driver who used to surf.”“Okay,” Mrs. Dollo said “Hold on, let me take another go around here.”Mrs. Dollo turned back again to the computer and started to gracefully tap away on her key board, “You got some real pretty hair Mister S-u-g-e-r-l-a-n-d.”Tom thought that was a rather odd question, but thanked her anyway. Mrs. Dollo turned back his way.“Well the reason I asked is, I do have something… it’s temporary… only for the holidays. But it might be something to get you started until we find you something you’re more suited for? "Tom shrugged, “What’s it pay? "Seventeen – fifty an hour… not bad. It starts this Friday. Six weeks, all the way up until Christmas Eve. Could you stand up for a minute Mister S-u-g-e-r-l-a-n-d?” Tom complies with the odd request.“Huh, you are kinda skinny though,” Mrs. Dollo said.As someone who was I was heavily influenced by the adventures of Tarzan as a youth, Tom couldn’t help but take umbrage with her remark. “I kinda like it like that…not too many fat surf --- “ Tom caught himself. “Sorry, I used to surf and I believe in trying staying in good… shape.” Tom can’t help but notice the big bag of nacho flavored Doritos and the 7-11 Big Gulp on her desk. Mrs. Dollo pursed her lips together and said “Uh huh.”Tom figured he’s stepped in it now with this woman, so he’d better just cut to the chase. “Now what exactly would I be doing in this job?”
“Mister S-u-g-e-r-l-a-n-d, how would you like to be Santa Claus at The Westside Wonder Mall?” Tom just looked at her and thought to himself; “Are you fucking nuts lady?”