Colin Dunbar

"With passion, patience, and persistence, anything is possible."

Lose Some, Win Some (short story)

By Colin Dunbar

Mrs Brennan arrived home and Dougie helped with the dinner. Over supper they spoke of the day's events. Dougie made up a story of his afternoon's activities; his mom just COULDN'T find out, not now.

Dougie Brennan was up at five, showered and put on the only suit he had. Before he left the house he set the table for breakfast, for his mom and younger brother. He slipped quietly out of the house, so as not to disturb his mom and brother.

It felt strange leaving the house at that time of the morning, and not for school. Dougie was energetic, both at school and home. Things were tough. And now Dougie was on his way to town, he just had to find work. His mom was struggling to make ends meet, and things weren't getting any easier. The boy rode through town, going from one business to the next.

Dougie knew what his mom's reaction would be if she found out, and therefore he always made excuses as to his day's activities.

"I'll do anything," he said, "Whatever work you have. I just need a job please." He repeated those lines at every business he called on in the small town.

After two weeks of daily job-hunting, Dougie was exhausted. But he was determined to find SOMETHING.

He would rise at five in the morning, arrange the table for breakfast, dress in his only suit, and leave for his search. Today was no different. There weren't many places left to try. After four hours of cycling all over town, he stopped at the service station of a friend of his father's.

"Dougie, nice to see you," Mr Roscoe said, with a broad smile. He liked the boy.

"Hi Mr Roscoe."

Mr Roscoe could hear the exhaustion in the boy's voice.

"How's the family?"

"Oh everybody's okay," came the dry reply.

The man and the boy sat and talked; Dougie telling him of his plans.

"I can't pay you much, but I could use some help around here," Mr Roscoe was sincere. "You mean it Mr Roscoe?" Dougie was overwhelmed.

Job details and wages were discussed and agreed upon with a handshake. Dougie left for home, more than just a little excited. He had found a job!

"How could you do that Douglas?" Mrs Brennan was annoyed.

She felt guilty, and hopeless. Why did her son have to drop out of school and find work? Mother and son had a long discussion, heated at times.

"I can see you're struggling mom."

"It is still not necessary for you to go and work. And for such a measly amount of money. Your education is more important."

"I can finish my schooling later," Dougie was adamant that he was going to keep the job.

Mrs Brennan had no choice but to surrender to her son. His mind was made up.

Dougie was not earning much helping out at Mr Roscoe's garage, but he was at work promptly every day, and never left early. Every Wednesday evening though, he studied the local paper, hoping to find something that paid better.

Frustrated, yet determined, one night he sat down and started writing his own CV; not anything like a formal CV, but nevertheless Dougie put down everything he thought should be in a CV.

He spent a week writing it, revising it and perfecting each sentence to the best of his ability. He borrowed Mr Roscoe's typewriter, typed and bound it as best he could. Dougie mailed four copies a week, not being able to spend more money for photostats, envelopes and postage.

"Dougie, phone call," Mr Roscoe called out. Dougie wiped his hands and ran to the small office. "Douglas Brennan?" the voice on the other telephone asked. "Yes sir."

"It's Robert Pierson here, from The Reporter."

"Yes Mr Pierson," Dougie's heart was pounding.

"Could you come in and see me tomorrow, Douglas? I'd like to talk to you about your CV."

Dougie couldn't believe his ears. He was quiet for a moment.

"Yes, sir. Mr Pierson."

"About two?" "Yes."

Dougie replaced the receiver gently, standing quite still. He never sent his CV to the paper; what could this be about?

How was he going to get off work?

"Something wrong, Dougie?" Mr Roscoe asked.

He would have to tell Mr Roscoe. And if nothing came from seeing Mr Pierson? What the heck, now wasn't the time to be negative.

"It was Mr Pierson, from The Reporter. He wants to see tomorrow at two."

"Well, now that's great. I'm glad for you son," Mr Roscoe was sincere.

"I don't know, he only said he wants to see me about my CV."

"Oh... that's as good as in the bag. Tell you what Dougie, you take tomorrow off, get yourself ready, be here at one, and I'll drive you over."

Dougie didn't even consider how he was going to get there. It was a blessing having Mr Roscoe offer to drive him over.

Dougie reported promptly at one; smartly dressed in his dry cleaned suit. He felt nervous, and excited. What did Mr Pierson want to see him about?

"Boy, you look great," Mr Roscoe said, as Dougie walked into his office. "One word of advice, my boy, just be yourself." The man and the boy sat talking for awhile, and then Mr Roscoe stood up, "Well, let's be off."

Dougie was quiet as the drove to the neighboring town. Questions flashed through his mind. His palms were moist. This was a REAL interview!

"Why do you think he wants to see me, Mr Roscoe? Dougie's voice was shaky.

"For a job of course," Mr Roscoe's reply was positive.

They stopped outside the building, and Dougie looked up at the painted sign: THE REPORTER.

"Go knock 'em dead kid," Mr Roscoe said, winking at Dougie.

"Good afternoon, I have an appointment with Mr Pierson."

"Mr Brennan?" the secretary asked friendly.

"Yes." That was the first time in his life that Dougie was addressed as Mr Brennan, it sounded strange.

"Take a seat please, Mr Pierson will see in a minute."

Dougie sat down and paged through a magazine. He didn't really take in anything from the magazine.

What could he do at a newspaper?

Maybe he should never have written that CV? Or he shouldn't have said he was prepared to do ANYTHING.

"Mr Pierson will see you now. You can go right in." Oh well, this was it; no use in having cold feet now "Good afternoon Douglas. Take a seat please."

Dougie sat down in front of the large wooden desk and gazed around the office. It was the first time he had ever been in an editor's office.

"Well, young man, I must compliment you on your CV. You certainly seem to have a flair with words."

"Thank you Mr Pierson," Dougie didn't quite know what to say.

Dougie walked out of the office an hour later, a broad smile on his face. As he came out of the building, he stopped and looked up at the sign: THE REPORTER; this was a wonderful day!

On the way home Dougie hardly said anything - he just smiled.

Dougie couldn't wait for his mom to get home; he just had to give her the good news.

As Mrs Brennan came in the front door Dougie pounced on her: "Mom. Sit down, I've got fantastic news."

Dougie led his mother by the arm to the lounge and practically sat her down in the chair. He knelt down in front of her.

"I've done it. Mom, I've done it" Dougie was elated.

Mrs Brennan smiled at her overjoyed son: "What have you done, Douglas?"

"I have a career."

"What do you mean?" A hint of a frown formed on Mrs Brennan's forehead.

"Well I had an interview with Mr Pierson at The Reporter today," Dougie was overwhelmed, "And he says I have a flair with words. I'm going to be a journalist."

Mrs Brennan took her son's hands in hers: she wanted to hear everything.

Dougie knelt in front of his mother and told her exactly what Mr Pierson had said.

"And he's arranged an interview for me with his friend. Mom, he said its only a formality," the words gushed from Dougie's mouth.

"I'll be enrolled in at college for a diploma course in journalism, and I'll be working at the paper. Mom, I'm going to be earning money and I'll get an education."

Mrs Brennan was overjoyed.

Mother and son stood hugging each other, tears in their eyes; tears of happiness.

~ ~ ~

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