Overtime 51:
How the System Works

Here's how the system works. First, you know you're going to get turned down for your unemployment check, but you go ahead and apply anyway. It takes a month or two before they get ahold of your former employer and then you get a letter back from the Employment Division saying that you were terminated for cause and you're ineligible for benefits. You ignore the instructions on how to appeal because it's a known fact that appealing never gets you anywhere. Later on, you get another letter that says you are eligible for "special services." This means you don't get your check, but they'll train you for something specific and not just send you out on jobs that mysteriously disappear when you show up dark-skinned and nappy-haired.

Laura Wyckoff is a Portland, Oregon, writer whose fiction has been most recently published in The Lowestoft Chronicle, The Gateway Review, The First Line, and Sky Island Journal. Currently, she is developing a group of stories about low-wage workers and another collection set in a community garden rife with odd characters.

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