Posted on: November 8th, 2009 ISO

by Derek Zumsteg

“Need missed connections posting. $2,” they offered.

I stopped pushing an origami fetish site for affiliate money. Two bucks is two bucks.

“Interested,” I replied.

“Man, short brown hair, stocky, Embarcadero Plaza. Must appear organic.”

Organic = mistakes. I wrote it:

I allmost ran you over …Sorry – w4m – 30 (Embarcadero)

Iw asn’t watching and almost walkedinto you. Id didn’t have time to think of a line. I blushed mumbled and ran off. You: short brown hair, preoccupied too?

Overjoyed customer = $20 tip. Badly-patrolled forums learned where folding and paper cuts meet sexual release. I ate. My customers returned.

“Can you do additional good MC w4m $20? Same but different, and give us the anon@ account.”

“Yes.”

“Apx 6th & Geary, yesterday 7-8pm, suit and tie, glasses, badge.”

“NP.”

I’m giving it up, I swear – w4m – 36

You: smart-looking, glasses, suit. 7:30 ? Me: long brown wool coat, hair up, smoking, embarrassed. You looked at me curious ? Great eye contact but you walked on. In a hurry or? Let’s have a drink. I won’t smoke, really, I promise it’s a funny story.

They paid forty. Forty! I’d spam my mother for forty bucks. I’ve done it for less. I’m not proud. And yet, the crawly feeling. The badge — what conventions were in town? They came back in an hour.

“Again but at coffee. Please no emo.”

No emo. Fuck you no emo.

“Age range?” I asked. “Where? Identifying details? Pics? Vid? Extra charge for emo-free lol.”

“40s. SOMA. w/similar looking friend. Can pay $20 for emo-free.”

“Done.”

Next time don’t bring your friend, doc ;) – w4m (SOMA)

You came in for coffee. Both in suits with badges. I was your barista. You gave me a great smile. I waited for a chance to talk and didn’t get it. I’m pre-med (was pre-med) and you might be immunology(?)

I looked like your standard late-30s underemployed, but it was mid-shift and I clean up nice, I promise. Let’s meet for not-coffee.

Turned over the account and got paid.

“Thought no emo?” they said.

Hahahahahafuckyou.

SOMA almost certainly meant AACR.

“Need response email,” they thought. “Short, convincing. Pay 400.”

400 was rent. 400 was things. At 400 I would fold my mom on the origami site I spammed her about for twenty.

Also: response? Someone bit?

“Convincing requires details,” I said. “48h ETA.”

“8h = 2x bonus? five ten, sharp features, decent shape, black-framed glasses, green eyes. Subj went to two: Left Hand Bay Cafe, Industrial Process Coffe Co.”

“Agreed.”

Subject? I scratched at the curious itch of conscience. I searched the UCSF internal listings and shuddered cold in my office-salvage chair at the titles:
Need F med students for soc survey

ISO F med school drop outs for grants

Commercial work for authentic grad students

Work training program filming testimonials. Barista experience a plus.

I checked Stanford, UC Irvine, UC Davis. Trawlers worked them all with similar nets.

Then, a jolt of recognition on the second page of AACR presentation speakers: square, black-rimmed glasses on a glass-cutter nose, his chin a sheer drop. Suit untailored, but not bad.

I watched his incomprehensible presentation on trial T-cell use in cancer prevention. He made a little joke early and he smiled — cute — and looked sheepishly at the audience, flashing green eyes. Aww.

He owned four early T-cell anti-PMSA patents outright, shared rights in dozens of others tied up in lawsuits.

Shit.

He’d be on to straight spammers, suspicious of family and friend business pitches. This, though… cash-only short con or part of those lawsuits, in a year he’d be broke and selling his patent rights, living off whatever they paid teaching professors. Which is like ten percent over career spammer. There’s a match for you Prof, but she’s not responding to a casting call. Maybe she’s in an apartment she shares with six people, trying to justify this and failing.

Re: Re: Next time don’t bring your friend doc ;) – w4m (SOMA)

Left Hand Bay. You had a black suit, badge had green(?) ID stripe. Pen in your shirt pocket: cute! Almost black hair and bright green eyes. I hope this is you and not your friend – you took the drinks, he sat down. I smelled of coffee, and always will.

And if I don’t take the job someone else will, and I’m sorry, so sorry. So here’s this in paired warning, as complete as I can be in only 750

Filed under: bad-ass, stories

One Response to “ISO”

  1. Marissa Says:
    November 14th, 2009 at 2:31 pm

    I feel like this is a genius work of literature…but I’m not very informed in craigslist-speak (I think that’s what this is about?) so I can’t understand it. :/ Wish I could. I appreciate it anyway.

  2. Marissa Says:
    November 14th, 2009 at 2:31 pm

    I feel like this is a genius work of literature…but I’m not very informed in craigslist-speak (I think that’s what this is about?) so I can’t understand it. :/ Wish I could. I appreciate it anyway.