Catch a bolt of lightning
They say that lightning only strikes once. Tonight, I stood on the sidewalk waiting to prove that old saying wrong. The trick was catching it at the just the right moment.
After I quit my job at the English Resource, I was back on the street. Right away I got a part-time job at a local English school near my apartment teaching children and adults. I worked that job for a few months while I looked for more opportunities in the classifieds. I don't remember much from my time there. I only remember 4 people. Two students with large hearts in their eyes and two colorful co-workers. Coworker number one was an Indian boy named Abrah. He seemed to be the senior staff at Tom’s English school. He was a character to say the least. His dream was to become a rapper. That may be why he had so many stories of his life in the hood. Most of them were so violent, they made me wonder if Abrah was mentally ok. He seemed obsessed with gory gangland horror. According to him, every tale was a bona fide true story. Every word of those stories was dripping in blood. I am sure Abrah embellished a lot. Maybe it was to enhance his image as a rapper, which he actually did for a number of years before moving to India to become the owner of a sports gym.
The next character from Tom’s English school was Jake. He was blonde through and through. His surfer vibe and granola hippy ways made him popular among the students. Jake was saying "hey bruh" before it became a thing. The more I hung around him the more I began to notice that he would say the most racist shit and never even notice he was doing it. I'd say something like, "I think I'll have chicken for dinner tonight." He'd reply, "Oh yeah? You look like someone who really loves chicken.“ It would be stuff on that level. I always had to stop and tilt my head to one side like a German Shepard that can't understand what a human is talking about.
Then there were the two ladies whose names I can't remember. They’d always stick around after class to flirt. At some point it looked like they were in competition to see who would be the first to hook up with me. One of the girls knocked herself out of the race without even realizing it. "I have a live in boyfriend.” She said. Maybe it was her husband. It was the sentence after that killed it. “He’s a gun collector.” She said it like I should be all ooos and ahs. The only folks who have guns in Japan are cops, yakuza, hunters, and collectors. The last thing I needed was a hole in my head from an angry boyfriend whose girl was spending too much time at Tom's. After my class she would hang outside the door and smile at me while I did my work. She had a beautiful smile too, so I didn't mind as long as it didn't go beyond that. Little did she know, she was in danger too of my girl making a sneak attack on her with one of her fancy kitchen knives.
Anyway, a few month after I started the job, I found an ad. It read "MS Artists Products, Inc. Looking for someone to assist with various projects." That was it. It didn't say what kind of company it was. I assumed by the name that it had something to do with art. I submitted my resume and crossed my fingers. "English teaching" was wearing me down and I wanted a job that I could really get into. I made a portfolio of graphic designs because I assumed the company had something to do with art and design. It took a long time but eventually they called me in for an interview.
As soon as I arrived, I was met at the door by a man named Kubo. He was wearing a grey suit jacket that looked so plain, if he had run onto the crowded streets of Shinjuku, it would have been a game of Where's Kubo. On the walls of their office where posters of very famous musicians of the day. I was awe struck because I thought they were designing artwork for these artists. Eventually, Mr. Kubo, who was a bit stiff and Mr. Spock like, said "Welcome to Ms. Artists. We manage many famous people. You will be interviewing for an assistant manager position for Dreams Come True." On the inside I was shocked. I had no idea what the company did before I got there. It was just before the internet took off so I didn't have the luxury of doing a Google search. I took a hard swallow of air and replied, "Yes, that's right." As if I had known the whole time.
I had three interviews. The first was with Mr. Kubo and Toni, who turned out to be a big deal in the office. Everyone loved her. She deserved it. On many occasions she really went to bat for me or tried to help me through the experience. The second interview was in front of a panel of serious looking faces. I had written on my resume that I performed poetry on stage. I thought it was a good idea to write anything creative in order to show that I had the mentality for it. "Poetry! Hmmm very interesting. Tell us a poem right now." I was already nervous as hell at that point. I didn't come prepared for a poetry recital. Thank goodness my time in Paris taught me to always be ready. Even now, I keep a few poems in my head that I could recite at a moment's notice. I closed my eyes and pulled power from the universe to set my vision and stop my nerves. I was like a giant bellows drawing in air. I held it in for a second, then released it.
I am sure they didn't understand a word I said. I am also sure they could feel every ounce of emotion. I had fine-tuned my ability to bring emotion through my performances. It was my thing. I believed that poetry spoken should be alive and full of images the listener could see and feel. Even if an audience couldn’t understand, they could feel. As I was delivering my poem, it was as if my whole life had been leading up to that moment.
It took months for them to contact me after the interview. I thought I had failed because of my quirky performance. Giving a full blown poetry reading at a job interview must have been too weird. David Harrington warned me. When I told him once that I couldn't work on sudden notice because I had already been booked for a poetry performance he said, "You have to get your priorties straight. Poetry will not pay the bills." Oh man was he ever wrong. Eventually they called and I was offered the job. It seemed the deciding factor was, in fact, my poetry performance.
They had received thousands of resumes for that one job. Somehow, lightning struck for me. Just like that! Flash! I was an assistant manager (gopher) for one of the greatest Japanese pop bands in history, DREAMS COME TRUE.