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AT THE UNEMPLOYMENT OFFICE

"Full name?"

"August Dumont Chucklebottom, the 4th."

"Three other guys had that name? Jeeze…"

"Excuse me?"

"Sorry. Former Occupation?"

"CEO, Megabank Worldstraddle."

"Weekly salary?"

"Weekly? How quaint. Let me see… hmm… approximately three hundred and fifty thousand dollars, exclusive of bonus and stock options."

"I said weekly, not the whole time you worked there."

"My dear sir, my compensation package was over $18 million per annum."

"Per annum?"

"Per year."

"And you're applying for unemployment insurance?"

"I am currently unemployed, sir. Isn't that what one does at times like these?"

"Yes, they do. But not guys who made 350K a week, pal."

"We are not pals, sir, and why not someone in my position?"

"We don't get a lot of calls for CEO jobs here, Mr. Chuckleface."

"It's Chucklebottom, and I didn't expect you to. I'm here to claim my insurance payments to tide me over until something comes up. I understand it will be three quarters of my salary, a tight squeeze, but I'll just have to tighten the old belt buckle…"

"Three quarters of your pay? Yeah, it sure is, up to a maximum of people making $600 bucks a week."

"Nobody makes $600 dollars a week!"

"Some make less…"

"Impossible! Do you mean to tell me that I'll be allowed only 400 dollars a week?"

"No, I didn't say that. You haven't qualified yet. If you quit your job it's a no-go. You had to have been fired or laid off, and not for just cause, either. Did you leave your position voluntarily?"

"Hardly, sir. One doesn't voluntarily leave the CEO position of a company such as Mega…"

"So you were fired, then?"

"Fired is a very strong word, sir. The company was heading in a different direction, you see…"

"I'll just put down fired. These forms have only so much space per category. Hey, wait a minute… ain't you the guy that the Feds kicked out after you almost put your company into bankruptcy and they bailed you out?"

"That certainly was not my fault! I was only there for six years…"

"Six years? If I screwed up for 6 years you think I'd still have this lousy job?"

"… you have to understand, sir, there were market forces at work here, unforeseen risk factors…"

"I'll just put down 'fired' and let you explain all that to job interviewers."

"Excuse me? Job interviewers?"

"Job interviewers. In order to qualify for your 400 bucks a week you have to prove you've been interviewing. I have here a couple of prospects for managerial positions you might want to check out…"

"What's the compensation package? Length of contract? Options? How big a parachute?"

"Here's one for a Burger King manager…"

"The chair of Burger King is open? That's exciting…"

"Yeah, the chair at the Jackson Heights Branch, $17.47 an hour to start, no benefits until after 6 months, night shift, midnight to eight in the morning. Don't know how exciting it is, but it's a job…"

"Impossible!"

"Well, after that hatchet job you did on your bank, you may be right. Let's see… maybe I have something less challenging here.."

"I mean the whole idea of me interviewing for jobs that pay less than eight figures…"

"Listen, pal, the payroll of everybody in this office doesn't add up to eight figures! Besides, no interviews, no unemployment check. Also, you might want to consider a retraining program, for workers whose jobs are obsolete, or people like yourself who have no prospects of a job in their own field."

"Absurd!"

"What, retraining? I can get you into a computer tech class, and that would extend your benefits until you graduate."

"Computer tech? A man of my experience?"

"Okay, maybe you're right. You'd probably be in over your head. You any good with tools? There's some handyman classes open…."

"I don't think you know who you're dealing with, sir!"

"Can't say as I do, but with so many people losing their jobs it's kind of hard to get to know everybody personally. Maybe you want to come back another day when you decide whether or not you're going to go with the program here. There's a lot of people on line behind you, and it looks like some of them recognize you. The security guard is having a heck of a time calming them down."

"Oh, so they blame me?"

"I would if I was them. The guy who I interviewed before you worked for your bank. Lost his pension, too."

"If he'd have done his job properly maybe none of this would have happened."

"So now it's your employees' fault? That guy worked there 30 years, impeccable record. Now he's on the street, no health insurance, no job, and his pension gone. That's okay by you?"

"We were trying to save the company, you see. Those pension funds could have tided us over until…"

"Those pension funds were not your money to play with, Chucklehead."

"It's Chucklebottom, and what could you possibly know about the world of high finance?"

"Not much, pal, I only deal with the casualties. Seems like you've left a whole lot of them in your wake. Did you lose your pension?"

"No, well, that is to say, my IRA and my 401k plans are thankfully intact, and that's really none of your business."

"You're the one applying for benefits, Chuckleface, not me."

"It's Chucklebottom! How dare you speak to me this way?"

"About time somebody did. I'm just going to put you down as 'fired for just cause' and turn you down flat. You can appeal my decision if you like."

"That's not fair!"

"Welcome back to reality, sir. And good day to you"

"Have you nothing else to say?"

"Sure do. Next!"

"I'll have your job, sir!"

"What, so you can screw up the Unemployment Office too, Chucklewart?"

"It's Chucklebottom, and I'm not going anywhere until I get my benefits. What do you say to that, sir?"

" Security!Security! Please escort this man to the curb. He ought to be used to it by now. Next!"

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