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Contemporary Drama Speculative

I wasn’t sure what to expect but knew it wouldn’t be good. Not only did I find myself sitting on a folding chair in the middle of a hallway, but there were also another person waiting to be interviewed as well. She was young and attractive, and her low-neck blouse and midthigh skirt left little to be imagined. “Crap!” I said to myself. “All she had to do was cross her legs and smile, then the job was hers.”

“What luck,” I tightened my tie and pulled down my all too short sleeves of my jacket. It was no use. I was going to look like a slob, no matter what.

Needing to pass the time, I opened my briefcase and reread my notes I prepared for the interview and without realizing it, I found myself glancing back at my adversary. She was the opposite of my ex-girlfriend. "Linda dressed half as good and took better care of herself, we might still be together.

“I can't believe how calm and collected she looks. And why shouldn’t she be? She has nothing to worry about.” I stuffed my noted back in my briefcase and snapped it shut. “Why even bother?”

The temptation of walking out nearly got to me, when I heard the receptionist call out my name. “Mr. Hadley will see you now, Paul.”

There was no sense in leaving now. If nothing else, I’d get some experience doing interviews, and with competition that looks like what sat across from me, I was going to need it. Dejectedly, I entered the next room.


***

“I can’t believe I didn’t even bring a briefcase,” Mary said to herself. “Look at him. If there’s a more professional look, I haven’t seen it. He could be on the cover of “GQ”.

She looked at her knees protruding from her skirt. “I can’t believe I let my sister talk me into this outfit. I look more like a prostitute than a businesswoman.”

Again, she looked at the gentleman sitting across from her. “I bet this girlfriend dressed him.” A twinge of guilt pressed on her conscious as she thought about her own singularity. “If Joe took care of himself or dressed half as good as that man, we might still be together.”

The unsnapping of the hinges from the man’s suitcase drew her attention back to him. “What’s he looking for? When he pulled out sheets of paper, she strained her eyes trying to decipher what was written on them. “Is that a cheat sheet he’s looking at?” The more she thought about it, the more certain she was of it. “This whole interview is a setup. He already has the answers and I’m just here to say they interviewed more than one person. Well, I’ll show them!”

She was about to leave when she heard the reception call out, “Mr. Hadley will see you now, Paul.”

“So, Paul is your name.” And with that, she settled back in her chair. “Well, I’m here now, so let’s see how arrogant you look when you’re finished with the interview.”

When the office door closed behind Paul, she was left with only her thoughts for company. “I wonder, is he a son of the CEO or the spouse to his only daughter? A slew of other possibilities crossed her mind and for the next ten minutes, her mind simmered. Then Paul walked back in the waiting room. “That’s it? Only ten minutes? They could have at least talked about sports or something for another twenty minutes to make this farce, look good.”

The moment Paul left the room, the receptionist reappeared. “Mr. Hadley will see you now, Mary.”


***

Holding my head up high and my back straight, I walked out of the interview room. But by the time I entered the waiting room, the echoes of my high heels tapping were drowned out by the slam of the door. “Ten minutes? Lucky Paul. I was excused after eight.” One left turn and one flight of stairs, I exit the building to find myself in downtown Hamilton. “Two minutes in the interview and he’d already lost interest in me. Why bother to even try? I lost before I began.”

I thought about driving home, but I was too worked up. Eying a bar in front of me, I decided to cool my nerves with alcohol.

The bartender warmly greeted me as I walked in. “Welcome to Lucky Lucy’s,” he called out. “What can I get you?”

“Whiskey sour.”

“Coming right up.”

I proceeded to sit at the bar and wait for my drink. As I waited, I looked to see if any Neanderthals were scoping me out, thinking about hitting on me. It pleased me to see no one was paying me much attention, but then I saw a familiar face. Paul was sitting at the other end of the bar, nursing a beer. “Huh, probably celebrating his coronation. Hope he chokes on his drink.”

The bartender handed her the whiskey sour, and she began to sip it.


***

“I can’t believe I let the bartender talk me into trying this Utica Club beer.” If I had to choose between drinking dishwater and this, I’m not sure I’d pass on the dishwater.” Bracing myself for the horror ahead, I took another taste and though it seemed impossible, the second sip was worse than the first. Sadly, even though the beer was trying to put me out of my misery, I couldn’t stop thinking about the interview. “Before I saw that girl in the waiting room, I was pumped up and ready to fly through the interview. But after I laid eyes on her, it knew my fate was sealed. I walked in there, self-defeated and Mr. Hadley saw it. It was over before it began.”

I took another sip of my poison. “Then, when I stepped back in the waiting room, there she was, all prim and pretty, ready to play, Oh pitiful me. Please hire me. I’ll do anything for you. Anything. I had no chance, so why even bother trying?”

I was about to take another dreaded sip, when I heard a woman order a whiskey sour. Looking to see where the voice came from, I found my nemesis walking to the bar. “So, you come to celebrate your victory? I hope you choke on your drink.” After that, I gulped down the rest of the beer and walked out of the bar.


***

I kept my eyes towards the TV in the corner but was watching that creep from the corner of my eye. “He’s just sitting there gloating. I bet he spotted me here and is laughing to himself, about how pitiful I looked, thinking I had a chance at that position. Well, I’ll show him. I’ll go right over there and tell him what I think.”

As I was about to get off the barstool, Paul walked out the door. “Huh! Good riddance to bad people.” Leaving a ten spot under the half-empty glass, I walked out as well. 

January 30, 2022 05:00

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5 comments

Jane Linwood
00:46 Feb 09, 2022

I love how the title fits this story so well! Two innocent people hoping to get the same job, both judging the other based on how well they looked. You captured the emotions really well, and I was entertained all the way through. Great job!

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Howard Seeley
01:09 Feb 09, 2022

Thanks, Jane. I'm glad you enjoyed it. It was fun writing about two different characters with so much in common, but worlds apart. Hope you become an avid reader of mine.

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Heather Z
14:46 Feb 08, 2022

This story expertly showcased the narrative technique of “stream of consciousness.” I really enjoyed hearing the inner most thoughts of these two characters and their parallel thinking. Excellent writing.

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Howard Seeley
16:55 Feb 08, 2022

Thanks, Heather. I'm still fairly new at the writing game and experimenting with several techniques. Hope I can keep on entertaining you.

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Howard Seeley
22:07 Jan 31, 2022

******************************************************************* * Write a comment, and I'll gladly write one for a story of yours. * *******************************************************************

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