Jobs for Dreamers


A-hunting we will go

Daniel is growing pungent. No matter. The essential bits and bobs are taken care of each day. He will shower later with Amy in lukewarm water. Hot water positively impacts costs. As does residual power usage. Around the apartment all unused appliances are unplugged. His glowing laptop hums quietly amidst the very nearly exhaustive silence. Daniel pierces open another can-mouth. Psshht. He sips the yeasty beer. Aaahhh. Not so bad. Consider the cost: a dozen for a dozen dollars. Certain comforts have been afforded. Daniel surveys the digital hinterland. He sallies forth and sets his traps with due care. The core mechanism of each trap is the same. The configuration and baiting of each trap is tailored. Each category of prey determines the precise configuration and baiting of each trap.

Category: Trades
Keywords: Labour, casual, sole charge
Salary: 40,000+ per annum
Employment type: Full-time/Part-time/Casual
Location: Wellington
Notification frequency: Immediately

Category: Hospitality
Keywords: Kitchen, dishes, sole charge
Salary: 40,000+ per annum
Employment type: Full-time/Part-time/Casual
Location: Wellington
Notification frequency: Immediately

Category: Administration
Keywords: Filing, mailing, backroom, sole charge
Salary: 40,000+ per annum
Employment type: Full-time/Part-time/Casual
Location: Wellington
Notification frequency: Immediately

Daniel the hunter awaits disturbance of his inbox. Ping of prized specimen wandering into precisely configured trap.

At the movies

Which movie do you want to see?’

‘There are only disaster movies and operas.’

‘Do you want to see an opera?’

‘I want to wait for a refreshed schedule.’

‘We will come back next week.’

‘We cannot afford to see movies anyhow.’

‘Life must nonetheless be enjoyed.’

‘Life must nonetheless be endured.’

‘We will come back next week.’

Brute force

Each specimen is somehow unsuitable. Too lean to satisfy Daniel’s debts. Or else too bold, too brutish. Would not be worth the goring he foresees in wrestling them to the ground. This despite the impressively serrated knife with handle stamped SKILLSET clasped firmly in his hand. One kick of a hind hoof and the specimen would bolt free. Leaving Daniel with darkly mottled hoof-shaped bruising, a nasty cut, something badly broken, something essential severed. Fortunately, the café. Part-time work for Amy. Half a block away, no associated transportation costs. Even on her rostered mornings, beautiful Amy sleeps beautifully.

Psshht. Aaahhh. 

Daniel the hunter tampers with the bait. Tinkers with the configurations.


I am turning the hot water on. I must at least wash for the sake of the customers, says Amy. You should take advantage of some hot water yourself. The sheets cling to you. They will soon be the only thing that clings to you—meaning I shall not, says Amy. I will not cling to you. Wash with soap. No more beer, you are drunk too often. You are drunk all the time, says Amy. You are rotting away like a vegetable. I know that you are doing your best. Stop crying. Why are you crying? Daniel, Daniel. Have you been to see the recruiter?

Certain limitations and practicalities

The recruitment agent sets aside her pen. She inspects Daniel’s arms doubtfully.

‘I could dig a hole as big as you like,’ asserts Daniel.

The agent responds, ‘It’s not only a matter of physical aptitude.’

‘Physical aptitude must be very transferable.’

‘In certain industries it is certainly important. Your experience lies within industries that do not emphasise physical ability or strength. These might be industries for which you are more appropriately qualified?’

‘Office work is not possible.’

‘Your experience pertains,’ the agent says, fanning her large and fantastically ring-knobbed fingers on the table, ‘to certain kinds of office-based employment.’

‘Low-level administration duties would be all right. As a gap-fill, to get by.’

‘How do you like to spend your time?’




‘And digging holes sounds pleasant?’

‘If one may be permitted in the digging of a hole to dream.’

‘A professional hole is typically dug through teamwork. Therefore the digging of a professional hole requires interpersonal savvy and active communication. And not a small degree of focus and attention. Such as to avoid severing cables or pipes or other buried infrastructure.’

‘I could operate within those parameters.’

‘Do you enjoy reading books, watching movies, playing sports, completing crosswords, making art, solving differential equations, dining out? In regards to my earlier question.’

‘I like to engage in entertainments, in order that I may dream larger dreams.’

‘At some point questions of utility and social good must be considered. Have you seen a counsellor?’

‘They said to follow my dreams.’

‘They might have assumed certain limitations and practicalities?’

‘They might have said so if they did. Are you checking your watch?’

‘I’m afraid we’re out of time.’


Walking toward the elevator Daniel bumps a table. A glass of dusty water shatters on the terracotta tiles of the narrow reception area. ‘I’m very sorry,’ he says. An elderly woman dressed in a beekeeping suit smiles behind her sealed veil. ‘No bother,’ she says. The receptionist appears with a stack of paper towels and a brush and pan. ‘Are you looking for work?’ Daniel asks the beekeeper. ‘I’m very, very sorry,’ he says to the receptionist. ‘No bother,’ the receptionist says, extracting a thin glass splinter from an index finger. ‘I’m not here for work,’ the beekeeper says. ‘I’m looking to hire. I’ve been a beekeeper all my life. It’s all I know. There’s nothing else that I feel I could do at this point.’ ‘Could you dig a hole?’ Daniel says. ‘Not with these old arms. And I’ve got arthritis in my hands. I’m only keeping bees in my state because there’s no one else to do the job.’ The receptionist delicately transports the pan full of sopping paper towels and broken glass to a back room. ‘Are you looking for work?’ the beekeeper asks. ‘I’m looking for money. Some kind of work must be involved.’ ‘Do you mind swarms of bees?’ ‘Don’t you blow smoke to make them drowsy?’ ‘It doesn’t always go as planned.’ ‘Might I dream from time to time while on the job?’ ‘Yikes! Well, you’d be too clumsy anyway.’ From a pocket of her suit the beekeeper removes a small package wrapped with a strip of newspaper. She peels away the paper, revealing a stub of glistening honeycomb. The beekeeper unzips the bottom of her veil and pops the dripping honeycomb into her mouth. ‘Helps with several ailments, including arthritis,’ she says. Her teeth and tongue twist around the sticky, waxy honeycomb. ‘Only, I haven’t eaten enough yet.’ She offers Daniel a second stub, wrapped likewise in a strip of newspaper—a column from the death notices. The topmost notice begins: RECLUSIVE BEEKEEPER DORRIS MORTIMER, 85, FOUND DEAD AMONGST HER HIVES. At last, his elevator arrives. He enters the mirror-lined metal box and waves farewell, chewing the honeycomb so generously bequeathed to him. As he descends, Daniel wonders, Is it for the love of money or honey that the beekeeper works unceasingly? How sweet must the fruits of labour be for even death to be defied in their attainment? With the ambrosial honey dissolved, a ball of wax rests in Daniel’s mouth.

In the labyrinth

The permutations across categories and sub-categories are endless. None suggest any real possibilities. What had Daniel hoped to find—was there something he was owed? A good life, a bad life, a moderate life, no life at all. He has stumbled into a labyrinth which reconfigures itself with every step he takes, is full of dead-ends, laced with snares, teeming with monstrous things moving in the inky shadows. Daniel the hunter, turned scavenging animal, stumbles through narrow passageways, brickwork scraping his hide, analytic eyes upon him, chilled voices muttering. The bull-headed minotaur says: This one, eh? Well, let’s have a look. Might be something we can use him for. Hold on a minute. No, no, no! Send him back. Well, he seemed okay till you put him next to the others.

Neither awake nor asleep Daniel stumbles onwards.

Dream jobs

How about collecting rubbish!’ Daniel cries, wonderstruck.

‘Refuse management?’ Amy says.

‘A job for dreamers.’

‘I once dreamed I was a rectangle, hoping to become a triangle. I woke up absolutely certain that was the case, and who could have said it wasn’t? My body felt rigid and geometric and I didn’t move for hours.’

‘What do you mean?’

‘I mean you only have to believe in something hard enough.’

‘Being is doing, not only believing.’

‘You’re right, I suppose.’

‘And in the doing, the attainment of something.’

‘Show me the money, honey.’

‘It’s a good idea. Refuse management. I’ll see about any openings with the council in the morning.’

‘If you believe in it enough, I know you can do it.’

Position subject to review

Your position is subject to review.

The subject of your position is under review.

The position of you, the subject, is under review.

The review is subject to a position.

Position the subject: your review.

Review the subject: your position.

Our position on the subject is you’re under review.

Our position is subject to review.

Review our position? Position your subject!

The position of the subject is subject to the subject under review.

Review your position, subject!

Your subject is the position of our review.

Our subject is the review of your position.


Amy in bed. Amy in bed with scones. Daniel unplugs the microwave, unplugs the stereo, turns down the thermostat. Amy and Daniel in bed. Daniel rises, unplugs the television. Amy and Daniel in bed. A plate of quartered scones between them. Scones without butter. Two each of: cheese scones, bacon and zucchini scones, date scones spiced with cinnamon. A meal coup from the café. A meal-time trifecta: entrée, dinner, and dessert. Don’t be discouraged, says Amy. Our rent is covered, the bills are nearly paid. Daniel unplugs a lamp. They nibble unbuttered scones in the moonlight. Our savings are nil, says Daniel. Amy squints at a scone. She pinches it tenderly. The lattice of crusted cheese cracks. The scone’s unbuttered body crumbles. I’m afraid the scones are old, says Amy. The old scones fill Daniel’s belly almost wonderfully. He licks crumbs from his fingers, crumbs from her fingers. He leans to kiss Amy, upsetting the plate. Quartered scones spill across the bedcovers. I zapped them briefly in the microwave. I hoped they’d seem fresh, says Amy. I could eat scones forever, says Daniel. We have been, or we will be, if we’re lucky, says Amy, as together they gather the scattered scones in the moonlight.


Anthony Lapwood lives in Wellington. This piece is from his collection of short fiction called Home Theatre, which he wrote for his MA in Creative Writing at the International Institute of Modern Letters in 2017.