I Got A Social Worker

Max Sheridan

I got a social worker.

I couldn’t afford a psychiatrist, not even an online one, so I got a social worker.

The city sent her last Tuesday.

Her name was Jenna.

There was nowhere to sit in my apartment so we went to the park across the street to discuss my case.

Jenna plumped up her facemask and got her laptop out and placed it on her knees when some guy shrieked really loud. It was like a death throe, or a hoopoe bird. An agonizing screech that stunned even the bums sleeping in the grass.

It began to drizzle.
Jenna asked me if I was planning on starting a family because then maybe I could get some kind of tax break.

I said no.

She looked at her notes again and asked me how the uber driving was going.

I told her I’d been beaten up pretty bad the other day by two other uber drivers. One was named Raoul and the other was a guy they called Dangerous Slim. It was a turf war, I said. They beat me where no one could see it. On my thighs and back and knees.

Jenna said, Oh.

They’ll slit your throat for a 50-cent tip, I said.

Jenna said that was horrible.

I changed the subject to college debt.

Jenna brightened up. We’d reached a common theme. Jenna had college debt once. She knew what a psychological strain it could be. She asked me how much more I had to pay off.

All of it, I said. Plus interest on all of it. I hadn’t opened a bill since 2008. I think my passport had been revoked.

Jenna said, Oh.

The guy shrieked again. But louder. Whooping. Like an alien had just popped out of his chest.

The drizzle had stopped but a garbage truck had parked next to us and that was more noise and now stink. Three masked garbage men jumped off the back of the truck like diamond thieves. They stared at a heap of garbage by the curb they couldn’t parse. Chair backs and game boards and shoes and pizza containers and stuffing and muck. They took one look at the junk and jumped right back on the truck.

I recognized Raoul even behind his facemask. Raoul was the garbage man that told them to jump back on the truck.

I was going to tell Jenna.

Maybe she could get Raoul in trouble now that he was working for the city.

Maybe if I got Raoul fired, I could get his new job.

But then I thought, no, I didn’t want Raoul’s new job, even if it meant getting beat up for the next 42 pandemics.