Inventory. Queen Anne house. Job. 

Had I more resources at hand, my horizon might not have looked so limited. I took inventory: 2 pairs of jeans; 2 shirts; 2 pairs of socks; 1 pair of good walking shoes; a small shaving kit with toothbrush; 2 towels; 1 notebook, 1 pen, 1 pencil; cell phone and charger; $300 cash and some change; 1 piece of identification, an expired driver’s license; 1 bank card. Also in my duffle, a space blanket, a wool lifeguard blanket, both part of an emergency kit: electric torch, matches in waterproof box, first aid kit, iodine pills, scissors, a fat pocket knife, a green glow stick, a bright orange whistle. A small box with fishing line and hooks, a plastic jar of pink salmon eggs. A plastic folding cup. I pictured my wardrobe in the house on Queen Anne – the suits, the ties, the shoes for every occasion, belts, hats, gloves, stacks of laundered shirts, drawers full of socks, a closet full of jackets, coats, vests, pullovers, sweaters, shorts, jeans, bathing suits, wetsuit. In the garage, surfboards, the Vespa, my pickup truck, the station wagon, bicycles, baseball equipment, golf clubs, fishing gear, camping tents and sleeping bags. I walked through the house: books in every room; kitchen stuffed with dishes, pantry stuffed with canned goods, boxes of pasta, bags of coffee; breadbox in the nook; fruit basket. Shelves stuffed with herbs, condiments, cookbooks, oatmeal, rice, sugar, oils, red wine vinegar, chocolates, salts and peppers. In the basement, a freezer stuffed with salmon from our recent float plane trip to Alaska, frozen jams and bags of tomatoes, sides of bacon, rib eye steaks, a couple of roasts, a turkey, chicken breasts and chicken legs, butter, cheeses, breads, bags of frozen vegetables. All around the house, chairs, couches, tables, more chairs. Beds. Closets stuffed with stuff. Bathrooms smelling of lavender and honey. Medicine chests stuffed with pills, toothpaste, blades, creams, ointments, oils. Attic smelling of musk and dust, stuffed with old furniture, mirrors, costumes, chests stuffed with knicknacks, ornaments, toys, stuffed animals, dolls, vinyl record albums warped from heat. In the entry, parlor, living room – bouquets of flowers, houseplants, cats sleeping on warm window sills. Walls covered with paintings, photographs, lithographs, wreaths of dried flowers. A grand piano, its lid closed. I came back to my room in the Hotel Julian and thought again of the possibility of finding some part time work. Time for a bit of mindfulness. Nothing like living in the moment. But I had no resume, no references, no degrees or certificates of training of any kind, no background, no past. The only information I might put on a job application was my name and temporary address. If you’ve no past, you’ve no future. What would I say in an interview? I was a god? I was Risk Manager to the gods. I spent a few minutes role playing with myself an interview scenario. A god of what? A retired god. Oh, I see. I looked through the help wanted ads. Employers were looking for specialists. I had no specialty. And I was only part human. That part of me had not existed once before, a time I did not remember, then a life – family, school, military, work, family again, then retirement, an early retirement – then again that part I cannot remember would presumably return. Then a transubstantiation back to bread and wine, only the appearance of a god remaining. Who would hire such a creature?

is episode 24 of
Ball Lightning
a Novel in Progress
in Serial Format at The Coming of the Toads.
(Click link for continuous, one page view of all episodes.)


  1. An Inventory specialist then
    Interesting, the term Inventory started its uphill journey around 1900 and peaked around 2000

    1. Joe Linker says:

      “A list of what is found.” But not looking for anything in particular. From Wiki: “Since June 19, 2000, Amazon’s logotype has featured a curved arrow leading from A to Z, representing that the company carries every product from A to Z, with the arrow-shaped like a smile.” I suppose if one has everything, one need not perform an inventory. On the other hand, if one inventories only what one needs, might want to at least make a list. An inventory of the dictionary knows no end: List, for example = “Old English lystan (verb), of Germanic origin, from a base meaning ‘pleasure’.”

      1. Amazon is a Schlaraffenland for consumers :)

        1. Joe Linker says:

          Missed this earlier. Then had to look it up. A Cockaigne. But not for their workers.

  2. How to live if one’s avocation offers no viable means of financial support?

    1. Joe Linker says:

      I guess that’s what vocations are for, which hopefully come with a vacation during which one might pursue one’s avocation.

      1. Sufficient to a demi God?

        1. Joe Linker says:

          “I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be;
          Am an attendant lord, one that will do
          To swell a progress, start a scene or two,
          Advise the prince; no doubt, an easy tool,
          Deferential, glad to be of use,
          Politic, cautious, and meticulous;
          Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse;
          At times, indeed, almost ridiculous—
          Almost, at times, the Fool.”

          1. Fools and gods perhaps share in blindness of their limitations?

            1. Joe Linker says:

              From Blake’s The Marriage of Heaven and Hell:

              A fool sees not the same tree that a wise man sees.

              If the fool would persist in his folly he would become wise.

              The selfish smiling fool and the sullen frowning fool shall be both
              thought wise that they may be a rod.

              Listen to the fool’s reproach; it is a kingly title.

              If others had not been foolish we should have been so.

              An Angel came to me and said: “O pitiable foolish young man! O
              horrible, O dreadful state! Consider the hot burning dungeon thou art
              preparing for thyself to all Eternity, to which thou art going in such

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