Having proven to be a parasite in Michael Bloomberg’s new Jerusalem, the city of New York has offered me redemption from blood-sucking Goodwill Industry’s ‘Back-to-Work Program’ and assigned me to work for eleven hours every week at the Department of Housing Preservation and Development. If I do not work, the city will cut off my food stamp benefits.
Two-hundred dollars a month is not enough to fill my hunger or justify what is in reality government induced slavery—no different than what Jews suffered in ancient Egypt and Blacks, the dirty South. Do the math—forty-four hours a month for $200—that’s less than the minimum wage.
As thousands if not millions flock to welfare rolls, unmarried people without children are persecuted by our government. If one has children to take care of, he or she does not have to work food. I imagine what those who create rules relating to working for welfare benefits must say when they enforce such guidelines—
“They must not need the food stamps if they are not willing to work for it!”
If I had a vagina, I would get pregnant right away just to avoid having to work as a slave for the Department of Housing and Development any longer!
There is a possibility, however, that the Department of Housing Preservation and Development will hire me as a full or part time, government paid employee—that is according to my supervisor at DHP— Oscar Sharpton. He said that even tough there is currently a hiring freeze at all city agencies I should work hard anyway—one never knows.
Oscar is a jolly, highly professional city employee—African American, or Black as he probably prefers to be color coded– who wears enough aftershave lotion to set-off anti-shoplifting alarms inside of the many drug stores in town.
“Here are the time sheets you must sign if you wish to be credited for your welfare hours, and this is a bulletin board over here lists individuals in Housing Preservation and Development’s work-experience program who have actually found work. That is your intention, is it not, Mr. Taylor?” Oscar asked.
“Oh yes, that is my intention,” I replied, holding my hands in the small of my back as if I were trying to be polite and a good, well behaved employee.
The Department of Housing Preservation and Development is under the Brooklyn Bridge. The large complex rests on the same plot of claimed land from the East River that Pace University is housed. The building must cover the same land area as a city block and is at least twenty stories tall. There are layers of metal detectors and security personnel to pass through. I was issued my own electronic identification card for the third floor—for Oscar’s Department—“Customer Service”.
Such a large building, I realized as I made my way down highly-polished floors, on my way to locate room. 3YZ…must remember not to wear my new dressy Timberland boots to work—I would disrupt the unbearable silence inside this monstrosity of city government buildings—hardly anyone in all those cubicals in the middle of the building—those work stations separate from the offices with windows to which I, with my rapid typing skills have been assigned to serve. I walk on by down the mirror-like floor wondering if anyone had ever worked behind those desks or if perhaps they have always been for show. I pass many bullet proof, glass doors with big names and degrees written in black letters—to keep dumb city employees from bumping into, I imagine. Those powerful people behind these electronically controlled glass doors spy at me from the corner of their eyes over their computer screens—they probably think I’m one of the new welfare people assigned to work up here.
“Do some fucking work for a change and preserve housing you lazy fuckers,” I think loudly, wishing they could read minds— they probably can—who knows what really goes on inside these government offices?
I smile at Oscar, my boss, as he continues to give me instructions for my new position. I had been pretending to be listening intently to him—not even blinking as he discussed equal opportunity. I snap out of my thoughts and daydreaming as he closely describes what is expected of me here as it relates to the city’s goal of finding more affordable housing for the millions who flock here:-
“Ours is a department that must always smile. We deal directly with the public as a go-between and buffer that cushions the blows of big egos on both sides,” Oscar explained, sipping coffee from a plastic travel mug stained worse than his teeth. “Do you have experience in dealing with lawyers, Mr. Taylor?” He asked, as if this were a real interview for a job that really pays. ‘Funny’, I thought as I started to tune out Oscar again, “Funny how it is that government offices are so expansive in such a crowded city, yet so very few people work inside them—not enough to justify the millions in real estate value they consume. They are like churches that no one attends anymore.
“Yes, I do have experience in dealing with New York City attorneys,” I replied, snapping not only myself from a trance, but also shaking Oscar awake with my assured baritone voice—“My first job in New York City, just after my discharge from the Army was with a legal service publisher—Prentice Hall—I’m sure you’ve heard of it…”
Oscar smiled at me and cut me off by explaining, “Mr. Taylor, I need you to inventory a large file full of unclaimed tax rebate checks for me. These checks were issued to housing developers and home owners who applied for the city’s ten year, tax-free, land development ownership clause under sections 421a and 421b of the new tax code. These people, for some reason not came in to pick up these checks. Can you enter them into an Excel spreadsheet for me?”
“Why sure, and if you’d like, I’ll call them and remind them that they have checks waiting for them here.”
“Oh, that will not be necessary—just a list of them— I’m mostly concerned… I should say, people high-up in government are more interested in knowing… the total amounts of all the checks?”
“It would be an hour,” I replied, “I’m a really fast typists and hopefully there is another Charles Taylor in New York who has a tax rebate that they are not aware of.”
Sharpton looked at me and smiled again before taking another sip from his plastic coffee cup—“Damn that shit’s cold, but it tastes good. I’ll see you this afternoon, Mr. Taylor…”