the boil

I was making good with the girls on the assembly line at
Nabisco, I had recently beaten up the company
bully
on my lunch hour,
things were going well, I was from out of
town, the stranger who seldom spoke to
anybody, I was the mystery, I was the
cool number,
almost all those fillies had an interest
in me
and the guys didn’t know
what the hell.

then one morning I awakened in my
room
with a huge boil on the side of
my head, (right cheek)
and
it was damn near the size of a
golf ball.

I should have phoned in sick
but
I didn’t have the sense and
went   on in
anyhow.

it made a difference: the women’s eyes
fell away from mine, and the guys
no longer acted fearful
and I felt defeated by
fate.

the boil remained
for
2 days
3 days
4 days.

on the 5th day the foreman handed me
my papers:   “we’re cutting back, you’re
finished.”

this was one hour before
lunch.

I walked to my locker, opened it,
took off my apron and cap
threw them in there
along with the
key
and walked
out

a truly horrible walk
to the street
where I turned around
and looked back at the building
feeling as if they had
discovered
something
hideously indecent
about me.

Author
Charles Bukowski
Written
1985
Source
Original manuscript