FLINT - News item: Two classic ABC soap operas will soon meet their demise: "All My Children" and "One Life to Live" will air their final episodes in September 2011 and January 2012, respectively.
"Next!" hollered the clerk at the employment agency. "Hey, you, the guy with the just-right stubble and the poofy hair, c'mon let's move it, you want help finding a job or not?"
"I do," said the man. "But you see, there's a problem "
"Yes?" said the clerk impatiently.
"Hold on, I'm pausing dramatically. It's how I talk. I must also turn away from you so the camera can catch both our faces. There. I'm now ready."
"Ready to what?"
"Finish my sentence, of course. But first, with wide, frightened eyes, you're supposed to say, 'What is it, Chad'?"
"Oh for the OK, fine: 'What is it, Chad?'"
"I've never "
"Never what? "
"Sorry, I can't tell you until after the commercial break. It builds tension."
"You want tension? Here's some tension for you. Fill out this paperwork then come back. Next!"
Up walked identical twins, each wearing an evening gown.
"Going out tonight?" said the clerk.
The women looked at one another puzzled.
"But of course. Tonight, last night, tomorrow night. Doesn't everybody?"
"Not in the real world, ladies," said the clerk. "Now what kind of jobs are you looking for?"
"Well," said one of the women. "We were thinking we'd be perfect at going to nightclubs and fancy restaurants."
"Yeah, so would I," the clerk said, rolling her eyes. "Unfortunately, you don't get paid for that in the real world. In the real world you get paid for working at the grocery store, quickie-mart or gas station. Interested?"
"The what, the what and the where?" one said, looking puzzled.
"Never mind, just fill out these forms and come back. And have your evil twin there fill them out, too."
"How did you know she's my evil twin?"
"She's pick-pocketing the ridiculously handsome guy behind her who is nibbling her ear. Next!"
Up walked the ridiculously handsome man.
"Name?" said the clerk.
"My name is Edward," he said. "And I must have you."
"Don't play coy. You want me, and I want you. I could feel it the moment I entered the room. Come. Come with me back to my tastefully-appointed bachelor apartment and let me stare deeply into your eyes while I secretly yearn for another woman - my first, forbidden love, the fianc of my half-brother with the limp who mysteriously disappeared on his birthday while piloting a plane to South America to deliver disaster relief supplies to handicapped orphans."
"Another woman. You mean Miss Evil Twin there?"
"Yes," said Edward. "But how did you know?"
"I had a feeling. Fill out these papers then come back. Next! Oh, it's you again."
"Yes," said Chad. "I couldn't stay away. I simply had to tell you my awful secret."
"Only briefly during Season Six. The truth is, I'm worried that I won't be able to find a job in the real world, you know, being a soap character and all."
"Well, let's go over your history. What was your most recent job?"
"And before that?"
"Rich guy with no apparent source of income."
"That's not a job."
"It is on soaps."
"Do you have any special skills?"
"Well, I'm good at escaping from ropes and car trunks. I've been kidnapped a lot."
"Not too much call for escape artists these days. Anything else?"
"I smolder pretty well."
"Again, not much call for that. Maybe you need to stick to what you're good at. Have you ever considered trying out for one of those reality TV shows?"
"You mean the ones where the camera follows shallow young people with no discernible talent as they go about their surprisingly empty, squabble-filled lives?"
"Those are the ones."
"Please, lady," Chad sniffed indignantly, "I may be an out of work soap character with no real world talent or abilities, but even for me that's a pretty big step down."
EDITOR'S NOTE - Andy Heller, an award-winning columnist for The Flint Journal, appears weekly in the Daily Press. He graduated from Escanaba Area High School in 1979. For more of his work, visit his blog at blog.mlive.com/flintjournal/aheller.
You can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.