Life in a Thrashing Machine

Walter D. Petrovic

(c) Copyright October 1981 + May 2004
Approximately 54,245 words
513 - 25 Country Hills Dr. Kitchener, Ontario N2E 3L1 Canada
(519) 570-4774
[email protected]

The world appeared inhospitable during this time of year. In poetry,
songs and art, autumn is said to be the time when all things living
prepared themselves to either sleep, or die. The biting wind tossed the
leaves into a fury, scattering them into the faces of the people walking
along King Street.
There was a certain young man pacing the street along with the rest of
the people. He appeared poor and destitute in his half slumped-over
jaunt. His shoulders had the appearance of dragging behind him and his
hands were shoved deep into the torn pockets of his blue denim bomber
jacket, trying to keep them warm.
Vlad was pounding the pavement looking for a job and this wasn't the
first day that he's spent on this task. This chore, that Vlad was

undertaking was in its third month, now.
He had finished school some six months ago, studying music at one of
Canada's leading national music conservatories, and subsequently
This was to be his life and he knew it ever since he was a child but as
with all dreams, most end up coming short of the desired fulfilment.
The hordes of people were quickly strutting down the windy sidewalks,
clutching at the collars of their overcoats and staring downwards, as if
afraid to watch where they were going.
Kitchener was in the middle of an October cold spell, as it was also, in
the middle of an invasion of tourists, here to enjoy the annual
Oktoberfest celebrations. This has been the most frustrating day Vlad
remembered enduring. The teasing cold was setting itself right into the
marrow of his bones and his hands ached. He refused to wear his
gloves since he didn't want them dirtied or destroyed, having been
given them as a gift the previous Christmas, and they were still like
new. Vlad believed that he could endure the cold, which he
passionately detested, until he could land a job. He would then buy
himself the necessities which would be able to sustain him, until he
could afford to return to the pursuit of his career; composing music and
conducting an orchestra.
Occasionally, Vlad ducked into a flatulent-smelling store to warm
himself and while there, he forced himself to fill-out another job
application. He had the procedure memorised: Walk in, as if you are
important. Nicely request to be given a form and fill out the
intimidating boxes. Name: Vlad Peploh, Experience: some, Education:
yes, Desired Wage: more than you're willing to pay. At least, he filled
out his name. He wanted to write down some funny or flippant answers.
Maybe it would give him notoriety, but he quickly remembered where
he was living: Kitchener-no sense of humour and little patience for
those who try a light-hearted approach.
He kept staring at the space on the form asking him his choice of

employment duration. "Stupid!" he thought when he read it. A day, a
week; maybe a year-or a lifetime? The real concern was immediate
work for immediate money. Vlad liked to eat and he preferred warmer
conditions. Vlad shuddered at the thought of spending one more year,
let-alone twenty or thirty, in some store or factory. All that he really
cared about was to have a life as a composer, and maybe some day to
conduct his own material.
It was Vlad's misfortune however, that he never was able to get the
upper hand on anything that he had attempted in his life. He felt like a
failure and he prayed, with all his heart, to Divine God, to grant him the
blessings of good luck and prosperity. But, if God were indeed helping
him, Vlad hadn't noticed. All that Vlad could see was the
urine-coloured application form set before him with all those countless
boxes that had to be filled. This was the worst part of looking for a job,
he thought. These forms were really the degrading part of work, and
not the labour that later came with being accepted through them.
Vlad filled out this application form and handed it back to the paunchy,
half-bald man, standing behind the counter. To make matters worse for
Vlad, the man interviewed him right away, since this store was
supposed to have an opening. Vlad was both uncomfortable and
pleased for this because he thought that finally he may have a job.
"Vladimir X. Peploh?" the man repeated the applicant's name as he
looked at him with questioning eyes.
Vlad just smiled and nodded.
"Have you ever worked in a clothing store, Mr. Peploh?" the man asked
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