The Right Career (by Zorica Petkoska)


“Six years for a bloody bachelor’s degree! Two times in the hospital because of a ruptured eye capillary! All those damn all-nighters! And for what!!!” Bobbie was swearing at full speed in his dressing-room. Swearing violently, yet barely audibly.

“All that chemistry, all that physics…for what?”

“The universe is laughing behind your back.” That’s the saying he got with his coffee this morning. The café is offering “daily sarcasm” now instead of the good old perfectly boring fortune cookie.

“We’re going live in five minutes, Bobbie!” A voice reminded him.

“I’m coming!” He yelled out.

Lights. Camera. Action. He got used to this.

“Hello, my dear viewers. For today’s experiment you will need the following ingredients…”

He graduated in chemistry as his major and physics as his minor, yet he couldn’t find a job in this in this topsy-turvy society, where trained musicians moonlighted as taxi drivers and uneducated people owned large businesses. Instead he was on television, hating it all, while some kid somewhere gets drunk to death for not fulfilling his dream to work in the media. It’s a twisted little world and a twisted little story.

“…then, you add some sodium chloride, you decide the quantity according to your taste…”

He hated this circus. He should have accepted that job in the supermarket, it wouldn’t be as embarrassing as this one.

“…. One litre of H2O is poured in the mixture and you let it simmer for fifteen minutes…”

Yet, his knowledge of chemistry is a precious possession that no one can take away from him.

Just you wait, and you will all see.

The whole twisted world is wrong.

“…the state of aggregation should neither be solid, nor gas. You should get a liquid mixture through a process of hydrating some solid elements and letting some gasses expire in the liquidizing process…”

I am so sick of this.

“…you decorate with some parsley at the end and the special Easter stew is ready!”

He hated that an educated scientist like him should end up in a ridiculous cooking show. He must rely on his knowledge once again. He pulled out a syringe.

“And, at the end, ladies and gentlemen, this is one of the most beautiful chemicals – THALLIUM. Its magical properties are spreading throughout one’s body and….well, you’ll see,” he added casually.

The next moment he injected the main dish with it.

“This is an excellent poison,” he continued, “as it cannot be seen with a naked eye, and when tasted, one dies a slow, lingering death.”

The whole TV studio fell silent.

“And, of course, I am joking, ladies and gentlemen,” he said. “You know how I like to add a bit of a chemistry in life, because where’s chemistry, there’s love.”

“This syringe contains hot salty water. It is an excellent trick in order to make the meat equally salty in the inside as on the outside,” he explained.

The crew could be heard breathing again. Anything was possible with Bobbie.

“Please, fetch today’s meal to the director of our station. I promised him a decent holiday meal,” said Bobbie to an assistant, a young man.

“Of course, sir.”

And Bobbie went home pleased, singing all the way: “Thallium, I love you, you are real, you are true.”

And the accompaniment to it were the sirens from the ambulance rushing towards Channel 6 Studios.

Bobbie knew they were rushing in vain. He knew for certain that the director would suffer a slow and agonizing death. Chemistry confirmed that.

And where’s chemistry, there’s magic.


Zorica Petkoska (also known as Zoria) is a graduate student of English language, specialising in translation at the Department of English language and literature, Faculty of Philology at the Ss. Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje, Macedonia. She is also teaching translation there as an assistant to a junior professor. She has been writing poetry since a very early age and published one poetry book in 1999 (The Dream’s Stars and Sparks). She has been writing poetry, prose and drama up to this day, and also engaged herself in amateur drama writing, staging, directing and acting. She writes both in English and in Macedonian.


“The Right Career” is copyright 2010, by Zorica Petkoska. All rights are reserved. This story may not be reprinted or reposted without permission from the author.

The images and artwork are copyright 2010, by Jennifer Semple Siegel and may not be reprinted or reposted without permission.


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