Dead Dogs Don't Roll Over
Written by: Alex Sandell

Chapter 38
Scrolling Neon and Flu Shots for Free

Break is both my favorite, and least favorite, time of the working day. Break is the place where I become a bundle of insecure contradictions. I love it most when I'm alone, but am embarrassed to appear lonely. There’s a little neon sign in the break room that has messages scrolling across its face. "BROKEN ARROW JETS DEFEAT THE TREASURE LAND EAGLES IN BOTTOM OF THE NINTH." "FREE FLU SHOTS GIVEN IN EMPLOYEE LOBBY THROUGHOUT THE EIGHTH."

The sign runs no more than twelve messages at a time, and it takes about two minutes for me to read all of them. When I'm alone, I end up reading the same messages fifteen or twenty times. I just stare at the red, flashing message, eagerly waiting to find out when those free flu shots are, although I've had the date memorized for the past two weeks. It’s what I think of as the "infomercial effect." There’s not one good thing about it, but there’s nothing else on, and you can’t pull yourself away. Not to mention, reading the sign gives off the appearance, to fellow workers, that I have something to do, and I'm not just some friendless geek.

Occasionally, when I feel particularly daring, I'll quickly look around the cafeteria. The majority of people are surrounded by friends, but there's always at least five people, sitting alone, and reading the neon sign, over and over again, just like me. If all of us lonely people, pretending to get lost in these scrolling messages, got together at one table and talked, we wouldn't be so lonely anymore. If we couldn't think of anything interesting to say to one another, at least we could keep reminding ourselves that the free flu shots are given in the employee lobby throughout the 8th.

Sadly, but at the same time, happily, my quiet loneliness is about to be broken, once "Corvette" catches a glimpse of me.

Go to: Chapter 39

1997 Alex Sandell but, if you're a book publisher and, you wanna get this puppy out, please get in touch with me, hand me a nice, big contract and, of course, a 12 pack of Grape Soda and maybe we can do lunch.

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