The morning started off in what was now a predictable way. Vera said nothing to him as he found himself some breakfast, a few bits of toast on which he spread some candied honey.
The night before they had had an argument about his financial dealings.
Vera was furious over what he had done, such that she said he was to get himself out first thing in the morning to find a job. She didn’t care what it was so long as it earned money they might survive on.
So feeling he didn’t have a leg to stand on and that Vera was now calling the shots, he planned to take himself off to find work.
The car he drove off in was a humbling experience in itself. A second hand Hyundai was all they could afford, and it was a well-used car. The seats were torn, the air-conditioner no longer worked and it had wind up windows, something Ernest felt more embarrassed about than anything else.
He decided to try the local Gonners Store, a huge rambling hardware store three blocks from where he was living. He had made up a small CV the night before and hoped the recruitment officer wasn’t a former client or for that matter read the papers.
He was shown into the office of the RH representative and given an application for employment form. It was the standard employment questionnaire, and he had to admit to being previously employed, and he decided his former job wasn’t something he could avoid what with internet searches so easy to conduct.
Eventually, he was ushered into the office of a young man who looked like he had just finished school.
The interview went well with the young man telling him he was recently married and he and his new wife were looking for some financial advice. Ernest reddened at the suggestion and quickly advised the young man he was no longer in that business and so might not be the right person to ask.
The conversation turned to the skills Ernest had, his past experience in sales and his ability to communicate. It was obvious to the young man that Ernest had excellent communication skills and experience and he made it known that the store was looking for an experienced man to work in their paint section.
At this suggestion, Ernest bent the truth slightly by implying he had renovated several houses in his time and knew a lot about paint, painting and colour selection.
In a matter of moments, Ernest had been employed and the necessary forms filled in.
There was one thing though the young man said, would Ernest be okay with his nametag calling him Ernie.
Ernest had been Ernest all his life, and he had bitten savagely at anyone who lessened his name to Ernie. But in this circumstance where he was now desperate, he agreed to the change.
The young man outlined to him that Ernie was a more colloquial name and people would feel more relaxed around a man called Ernie than Ernest. Added to that there was the fact that customers felt an older man offered them life experience, which was important when it came to matters of painting.
And so Ernie was brought into existence and went home buoyed by the fact he had found employment.
Vera was not there when he arrived home so he stowed his new Gonners uniform away thinking she’d be pleased he now had a job, he’d be out of her hair, and he wouldn’t have to face the humiliation of his name tag, at least until tomorrow.