The outcast

He was tired of it all. As he dragged his weary feet up the 5th flight of steps to his apartment, wrinkling his nose in disgust at the fetid smell of urine permeating the air, his mind was saying, you’re a loser, you’re a loser. He sighed, then jumped in fright as a huge rat, as big as cat, scuttled past the landing in front of him. He paused for a while, to catch his breath. His suit was wrinkled, a cheap polyester thing he bought at a thrift store. How could he afford a decent one? He scarcely had enough to feed himself. He had thought that he would’ve been able to handle this job as an insurance salesman. He did everything right. Three months ago, he had been confident, ecstatic, that they gave him the job. He had a jump in his steps, he walked like a man with little care, his smile was genuine, bright and sincere. An insurance salesman. These guys could make heaps of money! It helped that he was good-looking, with a pleasant disposition- he knew the people would warm to him. He had a pitch all planned out. Why do people get term life insurance, he would begin in an earnest, I-understand- you, kind of voice. And they would watch him, eyes widened, as a hush spread across the room. Because you know how to love. Because you’re a true person, he would say, and he would watch as the smile began in their faces. Then he would zero in on them. What happened to all his dreams? As he finally reached his apartment and pulled out his key, he could only begin to wonder what went wrong.