The Journal of James Oaklund

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It’s been a couple days since I spoke with Ben. I feel...Different, in some way. More at ease, I guess. Calmer. I was mulling over what he’d said about calling Burkley’s back, and I think I’ve just kind of come to terms with the fact I’m gonna have to suck it up and get it over with. I haven’t done it yet, though. Guess I’m nervous, or something. I figured writing this all out might calm my nerves some, so I could get to finally making the damned call. Gonna do it now, finally. Hope it goes well.

“Hello. This is Burkley’s Lawn-Shapers, right?”

“Yes, sir. Is there something I can help you with?”

“Yes, actually. I’m looking to apply for a position with your company, specifically as a landscaper. I’ve got several years of experience under my belt and I’ve completed just about every training course for the job that’s out there.”

“...I see. Sir, your call has come at an incredibly opportune time. We just had to fire one of our senior landscaping associates last night over improper conduct. I can put you through to Dave Senali, he handles hiring and applicants for the landscaping team.”

“That’s...That’s incredible. Thank you! I-yeah, that’d be great. Thanks so much.”

I’ll spare you the details of my talk with Dave, since it was mostly just going over paperwork kinds of stuff. I’m just...Amazed, I guess. I never imagined they’d take me seriously because of my references, but they didn’t even bat an eye or mention it once...I’m not gonna look a gift horse in the mouth, though. Phone’s ringing again. It’s Amy.

“Hey, James. Just thought I’d call to check up on you, it’s been forever since we last talked. How are you lately?”

“Hey, Amy. Better than I’ve been in a long time, honestly. I feel pretty good. Just landed an interview with one of the guys at Burkley’s, you know, that landscaping company I’ve been eyeing for years. I’m honestly pretty happy about it.”

“That’s great! I’m so glad to hear that, James! How did that come about? Didn’t they laugh you out of the building last time?”

“It’s a kinda funny story, actually. I was hanging out at Du Monde and found a business card on the bulletin board. It pretty much just had somebody’s phone number on it, so I said fuck it and called. Turns out, the guy who put it up is some kinda shrink or something, and he’s looking for people to just call him up and talk from time to time. About twenty minutes, once a week. Says it’s for a study about how people subconsciously reveal stuff, or whatever. He’s honestly a really nice guy. Very easy to talk to. He told me to call Burkley’s back, and after going back and forth on it for a couple days I finally did. And, well, that’s how I got the interview.”

Amy’s silent for a moment, though I think her phone just fucked up for a second, since when she started speaking again, it sounded like she was in the middle of saying something.

“-t’s his name, again? The shrink guy you were talking to?”

“What? His name? He just called himself Benjamin. Said I could just call him Ben, though.”

Again, Amy’s silent for a few moments. It’s kinda weirding me out, but I figure I shouldn’t make a big deal out of it. She’s probably just tired; her gig as a checkout cashier often leaves her drained.

“D--to- Be-ja--n A--------?”

Her voice was cut off by heavy static, making only a few syllables she said audible and intelligible.


“Doctor Ben?”

When her voice came through more clearly, she sounded noticeably more chipper.

“Uh, yeah. You know the guy?”

“Yes. He’s-”

“-A really kind soul.”

Amy’s voice got cut off by static once more, though it carried on in a much more cheerful tone afterwards.

“Um, yeah. That’s what I was saying earlier. Look, you should probably get some sleep, Amy, okay? You seem really, really tired. We’ll meet at the Du Monde on the 18th, about 12 noon, sound good?”


“Good night, Amy.”

“Good night, James.”

I hung up, confused and slightly off-put by the exchange. I knew her phone was screwy and her house was kind of in-between a couple deadzones, so interference over the phone wasn’t exactly new with her. I don’t think it was ever like that, but it could just be that her phone’s getting worse. She’s had the thing for about five years, it’s practically begging to be put down nowadays. I’m going to get some sleep, now. I’ve had a long night of cutting meat and getting job interviews. Funnily enough, the day of the interview is the same day that I’m due to call up doc Ben. I’ll have to tell him all about it.

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