Grant popped off the chair, falling down to the floor in front of the granite counter, confirming he was, like, only a foot shorter than me, and I wondered if he had to have that suit custom made or bought it, like, in the boys section. He seemed to completely not care that he had to stare up at me and simply said, "I need your driver's license."
It wasn't a question. I set the resume between us on the desk and dug into my back pocket. I pulled out my wallet and handed over the West Virginia ID and waited for a smart ass comment. He picked it carefully from my finger tips and glanced at it without a word, and then pulled my resume from the desktop. Handing me back my license, he waved his hand over to a small waiting area that had a couple of chairs and a side table with a few magazines scattered over the top. Dude totally didn't say another word but simply left. The remote control device went with him along with my resume. I watched him leave and went to the chair closest to the desk and sat down with my mouth shut, not like there was anyone in the lobby but little old me. I wondered if there were any more companies in the building, as it wasn't even five and Grant was the only person I'd seen so far, and nobody went to fill in on the front desk once he'd left. Then I looked around and saw a few more lenses around the ceilings focused on the area -- again the thoughts of the interview being some 'reality show' bullshit ran through my mind. But it was air-conditioned pretty damn cold and I didn't really have anything else planned, so I waited instead of heading back to the Lincoln and the heat wave outside waiting to further cook my ass.
I didn't pull out my cell phone and start playing any stupid games or even check my emails, because I knew that they probably were watching me from some other room, and I didn't want to fail to get a job before even talking to the boss, or look like a tool on television if this was an ambush show. It didn't matter because my grandma would kill me totally if I fucked up a basic interview. Besides, I knew she'd have a ton of questions when I got home and she could always tell when I was lying. It so wasn't worth the hassle. Besides, I could bomb on an interview without having to act like I was stupid with no social graces because I wasn't from Florida, and West Virginia was pretty much a strike against me from the start. Grandma had drummed courtesy and manners into me from a very early age.
Okay, here's where I reveal something not shocking in the least: my mom never gave a damn what I wanted to do or what I did do. She and I aren't exactly what you'd call close. From her own mouth I was told that I ruined her life. Yeah, I'm the one that yanked her panties off and forced her to have sex with some deadbeat I'd never met or ever wanted to meet. I made that remark once when I was feeling cocky around age eleven. We were living with grandma in West Virginia at the time, and that was the only reason I lived to see twelve. My mom put a hurtin' on me with both of her fists and some assorted kitchen tools. She proceeded to pummel me and kick the shit out of me when thankfully, my grandma came home from church. Only needed a dozen stitches and my left arm was in a cast for a couple of months. But other than a few small scars, there wasn't much to see after a few weeks. I never said nothing about her being fast and loose to her face again, but she took every chance she got to tell me how I fucked up her body and her life.
I snuck a quick peek at the clock and saw it was long past four-thirty and closing in on five. A bunch of clouds rolled in and blocked the sunlight beaming in from the front door. The room suddenly felt ice cold and I saw Grant standing by the desk staring at me. I never heard him arrive.
"Can you come this way now?" Grant pointed behind him further into the building, and spun on his heels and quickly walked away from me. Keeping my thoughts to myself, I just followed Grant into the cold building.
Once we got out of the main lobby I noticed the hallways were narrow and lined with shut doors every few feet. I was used to the open office cube farms most places had now and this was weird to me. I probably could have asked Grant, but he didn't seem the type to much like questions. He wasn't much of a talker either. I wondered what the job was. I didn't remember much from the short help wanted ad other than no college degree and night work. Mentally I shrugged, figuring I'd be told by that Melissa lady. There was a doorway open at the end of the hallway. I was pretty sure that's where we were going when Grant abruptly stopped dead.
Turning to me he hissed, "Don't get cocky. She must be treated with respect. Do you understand?"
I think I took a step back away from his snarling demeanor. I could've sworn I saw something with teeth larger than human flash in his mouth. The pit of my stomach dropped and I wondered what the hell was he? I knew that I'd seen some strange shit back in West Virginia, but hell's half acres, this was Florida! No fucking way that those nasties made it down here without YouTube and Facebook having massive photo bombs of them. Shuddering from more than the a/c, I nodded and said, "Yes, sir."
He smiled and swept into the room without a trace of embarrassment. More than a bit worried, I followed the small man into the dark room. Yeah, there was only a little desk lamp illuminating the large room. My eyes took a minute to adjust while I felt a strum of energy run over me -- I felt like I was being put in a MRI machine. I had one of those done after that weird shit up in the hills. Literally had my head examined, along with a half dozen of us that survived. My mom took every opportunity to remind me that even if I had my head examined by important medical doctors didn't mean that they found my brain. Ha -- yeah not funny after what I'd seen. Not wanting another beat down from my mom I kept my thoughts to myself when she spouted off that crap.
My body felt like it was being thumped and electronically poked from a distance. The focus of energy was coming from the lady standing directly behind the large wood desk. My eyes glanced down as I slowly approached and saw that only my resume was in the middle of the glossy finish with an ink pen next to it. No other papers, pens, cups or even a paperclip. I've never seen a person's office so clean. It was like I was in her freshly cleaned living room. A few plants with some art pieces that looked pricy and odd were scattered around with chairs and small end tables. There was a nice chair in front of the desk and Grant indicated that was where I was going to be after I shook her outstretched hand.
Without a thought I reached my palm to meet hers, and received an unexpected something extra. By that I mean that when her ice cold hand, with scarlet painted fingernails damn near half an inch long, slid into mine there was a jolt that ran through my whole body. And a 'jolt' is my polite way of saying I felt like I'd stuck my finger wet into an empty light socket and tried to fry my body from the inside out. It wasn't me doing it but her. I watched something flicker in her eyes and knew that she'd felt my reaction and was mentally licking the bowl of my body clean with pleasure. Her pleasure -- totally nothing happy on my end until she let my hand free -- where I promptly fell into the nearby chair and dropped my hand onto my lap fearing I was going to pass out. I couldn't say if I even knew my full name at that point. She sat down without a flicker of concern. I sucked in a breath softly and checked my hand for burned skin. Nothing looked fried or charred but my nerve endings were waiting to argue with me on that point.
"So Sammy, I see you've been here approaching a year. Have you found any job in that time?" Right, I am named Samuel. Everyone calls me Sammy but that wasn't on my resume. I cautiously met her eyes and remembered Grant's words about giving her respect. Hell, she nearly killed me I didn't think she'd react well to anything short of groveling on my knees. Not that I could drop to my knees yet and expect to move. I felt a flutter in my chest and wondered if it was 'angina' all my grandma's friends nattered on about or if I was actually having a heart attack. Do twenty-somethings have heart attacks?
"No, Ma'am." I kept my words brief since I wasn't even sure I could say much more without my teeth chattering, or puking. I wasn't feeling much like interviewing, but I was pretty damn sure I wouldn't be able to stand just yet.
"Why do you think that is?" Her eyes drilled into mine and I felt like she was amused by me. I never had an interview like this one and wasn't even sure what the hell I was supposed to say.
Remembering I'd have to tell my grandma what happened, I shook off the buzzing in my body and gave her a truthful answer. "Because I haven't applied to any." I answered quickly, without really thinking.
She laughed outright and said, "Very true. How refreshing to meet such an honest young man."
I wasn't sure about that, but didn't see anything good happening if I gave her a smart ass answer. She scared me more than anyone I'd met in Florida. I wasn't sure why the hell I even wanted a job at the moment. My grandma's face floated into my thoughts and I waited.
"So can you start this evening after nine?"
I blinked, wondering if I had blacked out and missed the rest of the interview. "Ah sure."
"Don't you want to know what we do?"
"Yes, Ma'am." I was thinking I must be nuts to accept without asking any questions, but she didn't seem like she'd welcome any.
"And how much you'll be making?"
I resisted slapping my forehead and saying, 'Duh.' I knew that would totally be dissing her and I wasn't willing to have her get angry at me. I could see she was laughing in her head at my dull responses.
"Grant will fill you in and get you settled. Thank you for your time. You really must tell me about what you saw in West Virginia when we have a moment. You are quite fascinating." With that she stood up, lifted my resume from her desk, leaving the pen, and left the room through a dark door that was directly behind her desk. Up until then I hadn't even seen the exit. I cautiously stood up to see Grant standing next to the door I'd entered what seemed like days ago, although it was not more than ten minutes, tops.
"Good job, Sammy. Melissa really took a shine to you. That's good for you." I checked his face and saw that he wasn't mocking me, but was sincere in his comments. I didn't bother to correct his calling me Sammy -- I'd been trying to kick that nickname for over ten years and it still stuck. Even my grandma called me Sammy in front of her company.
My legs were shaky but I was able to make it to the threshold without falling in embarrassment.
He led me back to the front without checking to see if I was following. I was, but my strides weren't very long, and I kept with him easily without running his ass over. Hell, he could've tripped me and I'd been toast. There wasn't a muscle in my body that had escaped Melissa's handshake. I wondered what the fuck I was setting myself up for taking the job.
The Piker Press moderates all comments.
Click here for the commenting policy.