Oh, look! He kept his word! Part two!
Right, so… What happened? First I was here – writing like crazy and then suddenly it went quiet… …I had reasons.
It was not too long ago that I was receiving “some” (not much) government support because, like approx. 8+% of the nation, I could not find a job. I was either overqualified (usually) or didn’t have enough specific job experience. So no matter what way I turned they weren’t giving me a job! So I had to apply for support and I was given just enough to make it through each month.
So far so good, because lets face it – I could be in a cardboard box out on the street!
My job councilor was a pretty okay guy, he had a tendency of repeating himself a little often, but he was generally mild mannered and considerate to arguments and questions I had. But not everyone was…
…Scared yet? Excellent. One day a letter dropped into the mail slide of the door – I thought it was one of the regular letters that informs you of whatever subject it is that social services feels necessary or perhaps it would be a request for a regular specification of my bills. In this case it was a hand-signed, personally delivered note from a “fraud team” demanding I would show face the next day, bring all personal documents and bills and be interviewed. Now, I had done nothing wrong – this much I knew – but apparently they were not convinced. So, slightly weak in the knees, I faced my impending doom and went over to their office the next morning.
I was met by a stern looking and acting gentleman, after we shook hands he took me to what can only be described as an interrogation room – complete with protective glass wall – and sat me down on one side. He explained to me that “technically” this was just a regular check for fraud but he did have some questions for me. Gulp.
I was asked over forty questions – Did I play any sports? No. Did I club, party, smoke or do drugs? Nope. Was I in a committed relationship with anyone? Neither.
Then came the bills – I had to clarify each and every expense that surpassed about fifty Euros. Properly.
Next I had to explain myself why I had “multiple” internet identities – why did I use the name Bobby if my birth name was Marnix? I politely explained that my second name is (occasionally) shortened to Bobby and that my mom – and a number of others – have called me Bobby since I was just a few years old. Last but not least, since I was trying to build a career as a writer, it was pretty smart to use a different name so not everybody could find me instantly and always. Aha! So I was making money! …No… I was “trying” to build a career – with some success – but not making any money out of it. At least certainly not while receiving support.
As such I also showed my website and explained how I had delayed my self-publishing efforts to avoid any suspicions of fraud or otherwise.
As the interview continued the inspector, who even identified himself with a special badge and pass, gradually warmed up. I had plausible, valid explanations for everything, I was cooperative and polite. As we neared the end of our interview/investigation he suddenly said: “Oh… So I guess you just live really carefully then?” To which I simply replied: “Of course!”.
I was then asked to sign the document, under oath I may add, which I politely did. To my surprise the investigator smiled at me, seemingly more relieved than I was, and said he was pleasantly surprised that I was not involved with fraud. He had thought otherwise. Oh and then he wished me good luck with my writing career and finishing my third book! I thought that was kind of sympathetic.
Needless to say I was very relieved – a few days later I met with my regular job councilor who was understanding to my stress-level of the interview but informed me that, unfortunately, I was going to have “speed things up” or I would be put to work instead of being allowed to find a job of my choosing. I may add that I had been working hard, very hard, to find a job. In the six or so months I was given support I must have gathered over a hundred job applications – all turned down.
If I was going to be put to work I would be forced to take whatever job would come my way – usually heavy cleaning (medical waste) or something like being a “street guard”; the latter being usually young men on bicycles doing policing work without being police and often ending up being battered, stabbed or otherwise victimized by the local, colored characters. Not exactly what I was hoping for, certainly not just after being interrogated on fraud-suspicions. So I set to work and, with the help of a contact person at a job agency, managed to find a job after weeks of looking. Frantically.
So… …Here we are, weeks later, I’ve got a job now and I’m going through intense training. It’s been pretty tough the past period of time but I’m back now. I have forgotten none of you and missed all of you. I’ll still be pretty busy for a little over a week or so, after that I’ll (if everything goes according to plan) have enough time for a complete comeback. I look forward to that. I’ve missed this.
I hope this story didn’t bore your brains out and that you understand where I’ve been. I was busy trying to get my life back on track, it’s been tough but I think I’m getting there. Now just for that one dream to come true completely. Hopefully I’ll make it there with the help of you, my author friends and readers, as well as my creative, disturbing mind. I’ve already started off with The Zombie Project (#TheZombieProject) and I hope you’ve read it and enjoyed it, I certainly did writing it. I’m back. I’m home.
Thank you for reading.