By Alejandro Grattan-Dominguez
Setting: A prestigious employment agency in Washington, D.C. Time: Sometime late in 1858. As scene opens, a tall, solemn-looking MAN enters and walks stiffly toward a RECEPTIONIST. His gaunt features and melancholy-looking eyes immediately make her wary.
RECEPTIONIST: Our deliveries are made down the hall.
MAN: No, I’m... I’m looking for a job.
RECEPTIONIST: (with jaundiced eye) Well, I doubt that we have anything for someone of your ...type. But you may fill out our standard application form... it’s probably a waste of both your time, as well as mine.
The MAN takes a paper from his long black coat and hands it to her. She looks as if she’d half-expected him to draw forth a pistol.
MAN: I’ve brought along my resumé. Thought it might save some of that precious time.
The woman reluctantly takes the resume. An awkward silence.
RECEPTIONIST: Not much of a conversationalist, are you?
MAN: (a gentle smile) Depends on with whom I’m conversing.
RECEPTIONIST: (glancing at resume) Not much of a record, either...let’s see (reading from paper) 1831—Failed in business... 1832—Defeated for the State Legislature...1833— Failed in business. Again ...1834—Elected to State Legislature. 1835—Sweetheart died... 1836—Suffered nervous breakdown. Well! If nothing else, you’re certainly honest!
MAN: (a glint of pride) Yes, I’ve been called that.
RECEPTIONIST: (reading on) 1838—Defeated for Speaker...1843—Defeated for Land Officer...and defeated for Congress..,1846—Elected to Congress...1848—Defeated for re-election...1855—Defeated for Senate...1856—Defeated for Vice-President...1858—Defeated again for Senate...(slightly stunned) Gosh, Mister, you’ve certainly had more than your share of ups and downs!
MAN: (quietly chuckling) That’s a fair assessment, yes.
RECEPTIONIST: But I just don’t think we have anything in the office at the present time that you’d be right for...but if I may make a suggestion?
MAN: I’d be most grateful, ma’am. I obviously could use a little help.
RECEPTIONIST: Well, why don’t you try running for president? Seems like you’ve tried everything else!
The MAN smiles and backs toward the door.
MAN: Funny you should say that, ma’am. I’ve had the same thought myself.
RECEPTIONIST: Oh, better get your name, just to have it on file.
MAN: (pausing at door) Name’s there on the resume. And thank you for the kind advice.
The man quietly exits. The woman ponders for a moment, shakes her head, then drops the resume into a waste-basket and goes on with her work.
The End (or maybe the Beginning)
Column: Editor’s Page
Wrote/directed first movie about Mexican-Americans, Only Once in a Lifetime-- Recently purchased with another film of his, No Return Address, by Turner Classic Movies. Lifetime premiered at the Kennedy Center in Wash., D.C. —1979. Awarded Governor’s (California) Commendation—1980. Special Award of Appreciation from the National Association of Mexican-American Educators—1981. Wrote 23 film scripts, nine of which were either sold or optioned, some repeatedly.
Established Ajijic Writers Group in 1988. Wrote seven novels, three of which were at one time in 1400 libraries in the U.S., Canada, England and Ireland. Best Screenplay Award—Mexican International Film Festival—1999. Award of Appreciation from Ninos Incapacitados—2007. Biography appeared in Who’s Who in Mexico—2007. Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012 —Lakeside Community Awards Committee. Winner of IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award in 2014 for historical novel The Dark Side of the Dream. Editor-in-Chief of El Ojo del Lago for past 25 years.
Grattan’s seven novels, as well as his collection of articles, short stories and film/ literary/political commentaries are all in the Local Author’s Section of the LCS Library.
The last motion picture Grattan wrote and directed, Only Once in a Lifetime, is now in the LCS Video Library.