A relatively young man in a cheap suit, bearing a clip on tie, gets up from a uncomfortable office lobby chair, as he is called upon by a twenty-something graduate student intern who smiles a completely insincere smile and then subsequently leads him to the door which he opens, following her pointing finger. He sits down in a chair (slightly more comfortable than the lobby chair) across a desk from a middle aged woman who is sifting through a manila folder. When he has rested himself down into the chair, she looks up. Simultaneous, the intern leaves the room, closing the door behind her, after the woman behind the desk nods an equally fake motion of sincerity at her. She replied non-verbally with her smile, as if this is what she spent six years in college gaining.
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Woman Behind the Desk: “Mister, um, mister Ras…ras…Raskolnikoff. Is that right?”
Anthony Raskolnikov: “It’s actually a “V” at the end---more that sound than a double “F,” but not a problem. It’s a Russian name. You can just call me Tony if you like.”
Woman Behind the Desk: “I apologize. So many resumes pass my eyes before five, it can become blurry. Anyway, Tony, my name is Christina Angela, and I am the head of HR here at Obunkles Organics. I do all the hiring and admittedly, all the firing as well, though as you can imagine, the former is always more pleasant than the latter.”
Ms. Angela: “So, let’s get right down to it. Tell me a little about yourself, Tony. Tell me why it is that you want to come and work for us at Obunkles.”
Tony is nervous. That would be the nicest way of putting it. He sits with his hands together in his lap, as if he was told by a friend or family member prior to this interview to do so, so that the interviewer doesn’t think that he is a shifty neurotic who has no business working in an organic food store. His hair has already fallen a bit in his face, and all the while that he is pondering what to say to Ms. Angela, he is also wondering what to do about this hair situation. As it is, the hair will continue to fall, and continue to itch just a little bit. It will be enough of an itch to drive him completely bonkers, distracting him from the overall ambiance of the interview. Knowing this beforehand, he feels that he must make this a priority---he must deal with the hair situation sooner than later, and already this has preoccupied him, taking his mind away from the task at hand.
Tony: “Well, Ms. Angela, I guess that I want to work at Obunkles because when I was younger I worked in a grocery store for four years as a cashier, and I am a vegetarian, so I figured the two would go together working for you guys.
Ms. Angela: “Ok, Tony, here at Obunkles we run twenty-four hours and that means a fully functioning store for a whole day. This means that we may need you to work nights a bit, is that alright with you?
Tony: (smiling, feeling eager) “Sure, Ms. Angela, I can be here whenever you need me.”
Ms. Angela: “Good. Good. Tony, why Obunkles? Obunkles is a nationally renowned organic foods store, so can you tell me a little about organic foods? Say I was a customer and I came up to you to ask you about the products we sell, could you give me any information on them?”
Tony: “On organic foods?”
Ms. Angela: “Yes, that is what we sell here.”
Tony: “I guess that I would say that they are better for you than processed foods, and that being a vegetarian is a better way to go, seeing as how in the 21st century we don’t really need to be slaughtering animals for our protein needs.”
Ms. Angela: “Right, but do you know anything about any specific kinds of organic foods?”
Tony: “Um, I know what I eat. But I have a pretty crap diet, that is, on the account that I don’t have much money to begin with.”
Ms. Angela: “I see.”
Tony’s hands together in his lap now are like two small shower heads squirting warm sweat in each other’s direction. His legs, which Ms. Angela cannot see at all, twitch together, almost in unison. If he could just get up to use the restroom, that would fix all of it, he thinks. He could fix that stupid dangling hair that is itching slightly against his head. He could pat the sweat on his brow. He could wash all the sweat off his hands and get himself back together. But he feels that this isn’t the professional way to go. He knows that he has to force himself to stay seated for a few minutes longer.
Ms. Angela: “Tony, can you tell me why it is that you left your last job?”
Tony: “I hated it. It was a prison.”
Ms. Angela: “Prison? You were in prison? (flipping over the application) You didn’t mark down here that you had committed a felony?”
Tony: (chuckling) “No, No...I wasn’t in actual prison, but I might as well have been. They treated us horrible there.”
Ms. Angela: “Yes, um, you know, you should never really characterize your last place of employment as a prison in an interview, even if you felt like it was.”
Tony has forgotten the hair that itches. His mind has gone back to focusing on what this woman sitting in front of him is actually saying. The way that she looks at him (those rare moments) and tone in her voice make him feel uncomfortable. It is as if she has something against him. Clearly, he is not getting this position, for with her last comment, this woman has taken it upon herself to show him the door without actually getting up to do it. He wonders to himself how it is that she has become so heartless. He thinks about the job that she is doing, one that she has no doubt performed a hundred times just in this week. Why would anyone in their right mind take such a position? What kind of thrill does she get out of sizing up people that she has never even met in a few quick minutes, only to spit them out on the street? Tony gets a bit of satisfaction in knowing that when technology increases, there will be a robot that most certainly will take her place and put this very woman out on the street.
Tony: (looking around the office) “You haven’t ever worked at a place that you would characterize as a prison, have you Ms. Angela?”
Ms. Angela: “Nonsense. I have worked at a lot of places that I haven’t liked, but I have never let that stop me. I just polished up my resume and got out there to change things. I would never...”
Tony’s eyes have stopped tracing the room when he finds a printer that is hooked to her laptop. The cord though a bit long, stops at the side and is probably one of those that you insert as opposed to those that come already attached to the machine itself. Tony sizes up the weight of the printer. It is of course the stealthiest one he has ever seen. The corporation probably bought it for Ms. Angela when she did a good job downsizing the place before they started the re-hire process of new individuals who would be much more desperate given the state of the economy and the unemployment rate, therefore ready to work for less money than those that had been canned before them. Yes, Tony figured that in one quick gesture he could pull that printer from its place and put it where it really needed to be---Ms. Angela’s temple. Tony was impressed that he was still paying attention to what this vampire was saying, while he was assessing the situation, finding a solution that would properly conclude this interview.
Tony: (cutting her off and finishing her sentence) “call my former place of work a prison. Yes, Ms. Angela, I’m sure that you have seen some horrible places of employment, and you know, while I would love to sit here and listen to you go on about how I personally need to work on my interviewing skills so that one day I might be able to sit where you now sit, hiring and firing people, willy nilly, without much of a thought as to what happens to any of these people---I’m sorry, but I just can’t.”
The look on Ms. Angela’s face is one of confusion and fear. Probably she has heard much worse while sitting in that chair, and probably during the firing process more than when she is hiring, but in Tony she sees something that she hasn’t seen before. She spends moments trying to grasp what exactly that is, but the whole time that she is looking at him without saying a word, he thrusts his whole body up from the chair and with both of his hands quickly grabs the printer that he had located prior to this action, turning at lightening speed without another thought---slamming the whole of the machine into the side of Ms. Angela’s head.
Ms. Angela’s whole personality drops out like a light switch being turned off, and the weight of the blow sends her flying off her chair and onto the cushy carpet below. Tony walks around behind her desk and without a moment’s pause, continues to slam the printer down upon her head until there is nothing left to distinguish who exactly had been interviewing him.
Tony leaves the printer beside the mess, and stands up straight. He was able to do the whole thing without getting a bit of blood on him, and inside himself he congratulates himself on a job well done. He leaves the office, closing the door behind him and walks to the restroom to do the things that he really should have just done during the interview in the first place. He washes his sweaty hands clean, urinates a bit, and finally pushes that pesky hair that was driving him nuts, right back into place with water. He takes a deep breath and smiles back at himself in the mirror, then leaves the restroom.
He walks at a regular pace to the elevator and gets in it. The doors close and he goes back out into the world.