Dont Call me Ugly

Dont Call me Ugly

Status: In Progress

Genre: Humor

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Status: In Progress

Genre: Humor

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Chapter1 (v.1) - Chapter 1

Author Chapter Note

Andrew is ugly, and he knows it.With a face that makes babies cry,he is refused job offers, isolated in the neighbourhood and treated as an outcast.But he is determined to succeed.By a stroke of luck,he gets hired in a zoo to scare away animals with his face.Things soon got worse and he returns to his roots to find out where his horrible face comes from.But a surprise story lies in wait for him.

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: April 09, 2017

Reads: 111

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Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: April 09, 2017

A A A

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“Can you be here tomorrow at ten in the morning?”

“Yes, boss. I’ll be there.”

“See you tomorrow then.”

“Okay, boss.”

Such calls don’t come regularly. I’ve been a regular applicant for three years now, but landing a job in Pretoria has been tough. It can be frustrating seeing that others around me are getting busy while I remain jobless. I don’t know if it has to do with the part of town when I live. But hardly can it be so because, every day, the dailies report news of people getting hired.

Being idle during the day is not a situation I’m happy to find myself in. In a city like ours, one can hardly survive without having a regular job. I’ve submitted my CV to all the reputable recruitment agencies on the internet. I’ve also handed printed copies over to people around me. Despite these efforts, I’m hardly invited for interviews.

The last time I’ve had to crash into the interview session of a retail store, but I wasn’t initially allowed to partake. I had to beg to be given a chance.  Even then, they told me that my kind of face didn’t suit the job. It was a familiar response from many interviews that I attended, so, I wasn’t surprised. I considered it less insulting than those that told me that merely seeing me in their stores, customers would be persuaded not to buy their products.

I can’t continue to talk about the many disappointments that I’ve encountered in the city since I started job hunting. I just have to be courageous hoping that something good would come my way one day.

So when I received that call this afternoon, it was music to my ears. It was a call from the owner of a duplex house in Menlyn. He wants to hire a gatekeeper to complement the services of the security company that watches over his house.

I’d heard about the job opening from John, the guy with whom I share a room. He works in Menlyn as a security guard in a private residence. Despite my lack of training in safety matters, I jumped at the opportunity and put in my application. “If my friend could do a similar job in the area, I’m qualified too.”

At this point, considering the stress I’ve been through trying to get busy with something, it doesn’t matter what job comes my way. I just have to be occupied somehow. I’m that desperate.

What I’m hopeful about is that the gatekeeper job doesn’t require much skill, I think. I just have to be by the entrance to the house to open and close the gate for expected visitors. And then I’ll have to report unwanted guests to the house owner. Who needs a formal training to do such? I’m more than capable of doing that without any hassle. I’ll go for it.

It’s going to be my first job interview in three years, and I’m eagerly looking forward to it. As I think of the sort of questions they will ask me tomorrow, fear grips me.

“I hope they won’t complain about something again,” I think aloud.

I begin to think about what I will do to give them a better impression of me. I don’t want to give them a reason to turn me down. Since the previous interviewers have complained of my appearance, it will be nice if I look smart and ready for the job.

 I take a walk to the internet café on Kerk Street. My aim is to do a brief study on how to answer interview questions relating to gatekeeping jobs. After browsing the internet for a while, I select questions and answers that are considered relevant and ask the operator to print them out for me. I’ll review them later at night before going to bed.

 Not wanting to overlook things, I take my time to study the dress modes of security men and how they look, talk and act; how they must interact with the employer and their family members; and how they must react to an attack.

I mark out the pictures of well-dressed security personnel from the internet. I’m going to dress as one the next day. If the interviewer sees that I’m well dressed and ready for the job, he’ll be impressed. He may even consider hiring me right away.

Before leaving the internet café, I double check that I have all the information needed for the interview. I pay the operator and walk away.

Before returning home, I branch off to the market on Queen Street where second-hand clothes are sold. I grab a set of security attire with a suitable cap, and them on right there at the seller’s stall to forestall any wrong size issues.

“How do I look?”  

“Sweet! The cloth was designed for you.”

“Not that. Tell me, with the way I’m dressed, what job do you think suits me?”

“Well, you look like someone who works for a security company.”

“Fine. That’s all I want to hear.”

The clothes are old, hence the low price tag. After a bit of haggling, I pay the seller and take my leave. I’m more hopeful that my preparations are going on well.

Later that night, John and I sit down to talk about what is required to work as a security guard. Before now, I’d avoided asking him about the details of his job. He has a certificate from a school that specialises in training people to be security officers. He is qualified for the job he currently does, but my case is a bit different: I want to take up the job because of lack of something better to do. I’ll have a lot to learn from him.

“Andrew, you don’t need a certificate from a school to do the job. They only demand such documents from us that are not citizens,” he informs me.

“What kind of questions do you think they will ask me?”

“You have to convince them that you have the experience to do the job. They will also want to know if you have a guarantor. They hardly employ people without references.”

“My sister is there for me. She’ll be my guarantor.”

“Then they will want to know if you can keep records well.”

“That should not be a problem. The attendance book will be there for people to fill.”

“That’s about you need to know. The main thing is about trust. If they believe that they can trust you, they will hire you.”

“Alright.”

I bring out the security attire that I bought earlier to show him. John burst out laughing about the idea.

“You think this is funny, eh?” I said a bit upset. I’m trying to get this interview thing right, and this fellow is laughing at my efforts. I don’t blame him; he is employed and doesn’t know what the jobless go through every day.

“I don’t think it’s necessary to put on a uniform for your interview. If your employer wants you to wear one, they will let you know. Besides, they will provide them for you.”

“I decided to wear this because I don’t have any experience. Don’t you think it would be good to give them the impression that I’ve worked somewhere before?”

Biting his lips, John replied,

“That’s true. You have a point there. That may help you look like you’ve been working. Good luck in that regard.”

We discuss at length on the details of his job. John doesn’t hold back anything as he breaks it all down. After three hours of discourse, I’m fagged out. I doze off on the chair.

At exactly 5:05 AM on my interview day, I jump off the bed. I quickly go through the interview questions that I printed the day before. I’m familiar with them anyways since it’s not the first time I’ll be reading them.

I live in Arcadia; and from here, Menlyn is not far. I have just one taxi to catch, and I’ll be there at the interview venue. At 8:00 AM I put on my ‘new’ security attire, ready to leave the house. John had left for work earlier.

I don’t have to wait for long at the bus stop since many taxis are heading to Pretoria East. I jump into one going to Menlyn Mall. The 16-seater minibus is almost full as I’m the last person to board. The only seat left is at the back, and I make my way there.

To my right is a lady who is breastfeeding her baby. I nod my head in greeting, and she did the same. I’m careful this morning not to offend anyone with my actions. Who knows what I’ll do wrong and my first job opportunity in three years will go away. So, I’m going to have to be polite to everyone.

The lady is in her late twenties, I guess. Being flanked by men on both sides, she is shy and therefore makes efforts to cover her breast. She cuddles her baby carefully, placing his head on her left arm as she feeds him.  

“How old is your beautiful baby?” I asked because I can’t see his face. He is facing the other guy on her right.

“Six months only,” she said, smiling.

“Oh, new kid.”

“Yes.”

I love babies and enjoy playing with them. I just can’t play with this one since he’s feeding. Soon, feeding is over, and she cleans his mouth, adjusts her busts, turns the head over, and starts to play with him.

As he now faces me, I lean forward to see the cute baby. I touch the cheeks, and the kid looks at me with a frown. As soon as I flash a smile, he begins to cry.

The mother hisses, thinking that he wanted to be fed some more. She turns him over again to the former position to continue feeding, but the kid doesn’t seem to want more milk. She covers her breast and places his head on her shoulder. The baby stops crying as she plays with him.

Anytime she turns the baby towards me; he cries. The voice is loud, and passengers are getting worried as to why she would not take care of her kid. They ask her to attend to her son, but the lady doesn’t know what else to do. She has fed him enough and the weather condition this morning is not harsh.

I alone know why the baby is restless. Babies cry anytime they look into my face. When they are older, they run away as soon as I come close to them. It’s not the first time it would happen like that. I’m used to it, anyway. My face scares kids.

I knew that while I was babysitting my sister’s kids in Limpopo. It had taken a while before they got used to seeing me around the house.

Even some adults get edgy when talking with me. I know that I’m ugly, but the grown-ups do it out of hate. Theirs don’t bother me; it’s the fact that babies cry by looking at me that make me cringe. I like to carry and play with them, but they get uncomfortable, and I’m forced to stay away. When I smile, I expect them to stop crying, but, no, they up the tempo.

As this kid continues to scream, I have to look out of the window, and he stops crying immediately. I have to be in this uncomfortable position till I drop off the bus. There is no way I will turn my face to look at the kid without him yelling again. I have to bear the pain.

Luckily for me, the young mother reaches her destination before me. She drops off the bus, and I’m free to sit properly. I stretch my neck for relief even if there is a slight strain.

I soon jump off the bus as I check the time. It’s 9:47 AM. It doesn’t take long for me to locate the residence where the interview will hold. It’s the same house where I’m to work.

At the entrance, I knock on the gate, and a man peeps through and then opens up slightly.

“Are you Andrew?”

“Yes, boss.”

He assesses me carefully from head to toe. He then looks away, narrows his eyes and tightens his lips.

“Are you here for the security job that we advertised?”

“Yes, please” I smile courteously to make my face look pleasant. My heart jumps into my mouth as I wait for him to invite me in.

“I’m sorry. The job is not for you.”

“Please sir, give me a chance to prove myself. I’m prepared to do whatever you ask me. As you can see, I have the experience needed. Please don’t disqualify me based on looks only. My heart is different. I’m qualified to take up the job. I have —”

“Sorry, the job is taken already,” He says more frantically.

“I even have a diploma in…”

He bangs the door, leaving me there to stare at the “Jesus is Lord” poster on the gate.

I stand there confused for some minutes wondering what went wrong. He invited me for an interview, and I’m here before time. Why would he change his mind? I knew he was lying when he said the job had been taken, but there is nothing I can do to. I tarry a bit, hoping that he might return.  When there seems to be no sign of that happening, I walk away.

As I trek slowly to the taxi rank in Menlyn Mall, I’m yet again confronted with the thoughts that usually come to mind whenever I’m turned down for an interview. Getting a job in the city can be tough. Life is hard without having a regular source of income. I move around the streets, jumping from one to the other, dropping my CV at every business premises, and hoping to be invited. But I’ve not been lucky.

It’s not as if I seek an office job; far from that. My preferences are the simple gardening or security jobs. I wonder why such modest household jobs should be a problem in a big city like Pretoria.

When I wanted an office job with my diploma certificate, the challenges were different. They complained that my face is not customer-friendly, this and that.

Now that I’ve changed my mind to go for the menial jobs — those that wouldn’t require me to come in contact with customers — the situation has not improved; I’m still rejected.

In spite of the difficulty of getting the scarce jobs, I have to deal with the painful fact that I’m not good-looking. I’m sure this Menlyn fellow changed his mind to interview me because he doesn’t like my face.

For how long will people continue to judge others based on their looks? When will they give us opportunity to prove ourselves? But, they can hold on to their jobs, they can’t kill my drive. I know there is a suitable job for me out there. It’s a matter of time. I’ll be patient, and surely, I’ll overcome.


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