Mike Dutkewych works at an alternative t-shirt store in a suburban Detroit mall. WORK FOREVER is based on excerpts from his work diary.


Elderly man in a baseball cap and winter coat comes in holding a belt buckle. He asks if we have other belt buckles that size. I explain that we don’t carry any to begin with, to which he responds dryly, “Well, how do you close the belts then?”
“We don’t carry belts either.”
“Well, how do you keep the pants up?” He asks with a wry, but sheepish grin. I decide to play along.
“Suspenders, maybe?”
“OK. Where is your suspenders section?”
“In the back, next to our bow ties.”
Apparently satisfied by our back-and-forth, he flashes me a weathered smile and ambles slowly from my store, belt buckle in hand. I watch him turn the corner and reflect on this all-too-brief encounter with my future self.