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Funny Fiction Contemporary

‘Good morning, please take a seat and we can discuss your enquiry--- ’

‘I know you’re busy, so thank you for seeing me at such short notice.’

‘You’ve come to the right place and having read your CV, I’m sure I can help you.’

‘The thing is, I’ve outgrown my position and I need a new challenge.’

‘So you’ve got bored at work and you’re considering a new career?’

‘Yes, and given my wealth of experience, I’m certain I can succeed in any new role.’

‘You’re in a competitive market at the moment, however I can assure you there are plenty of candidates who are far less qualified, who’ve found a rewarding change of direction at a similar age.’

‘Like whom, for instance?’

‘Well, what does an unemployed Prime Minister do following a lucrative year of after-dinner speeches and endless book signings?’

‘I’d never really thought about it.’ 

‘Making a comeback in politics is fraught with pitfalls.’

‘I suppose he’d approach an employment consultant and--- ’

‘And tell the agent he’s a former world leader looking for a job?’

‘Point taken.’

‘No, we’d ask him to take a personality test because--- ’

‘That would match the candidate to a suitable vocation?’

‘Of course, and then he’d have a better idea--- ’

‘Do you have an example of the test?’

‘I can run through a typical questionnaire now if--- ’

‘Are you suggesting I answer as if I’m an unemployed Prime Minister?’

‘You’re both of a certain age, to be frank, and you might find it helpful.’

‘Given we have a similar background and mutual interests?’

‘Exactly. So whenever you’re ready?’ 

‘Let’s begin.’

‘What word would people close to you use to describe you?’

‘Well, it depends how close--- ’

‘Sorry, I should have explained this is multiple choice.’

‘Oh, well, that’s even better.’

‘So, let’s start again. What word would people close to you use to describe you?

A.  Friendly.

B.  Charming.

C.  Determined.

D.  Ruthless.’

‘I know that one, it’s--- ’

‘No, don’t say straight away.’ 

‘Oh, I thought--- ’

‘Please make a note and we can discuss your answers afterwards.’

‘This shouldn’t take long at all.’

‘The second question relates to how people see you.’

‘How people see me, you say?’

‘What question do people ask you often? 

A.   Where did you get that hat?

B.   Are you happily married or in a steady relationship?

C.   Do you always get what you want?

D.   Are you always as rude as this?’

‘I get asked that all the time.’

‘Question three relates to your aspirations. Whom do you admire?

A.   Your father.

B.   A current world leader.

C.   The head of the Catholic Church.

D.   A celebrated British wartime politician who stood up to the Nazis.’

‘Oh, I know that one.’

‘Question four is about priorities. What do consider your greatest accomplishment?

A.   Being a dutiful son.

B.   Being a loyal husband.

C.   Setting a good example.

D.   Earning lots of money by whatever means.’

‘Difficult one that, although I’d have to say--- ’

‘Just make a note and we can discuss your choices at the end.’ 

‘Yes, yes, I understand – next!’

‘Question five is about dealing with failure.

A.   Do you admit when you’ve failed at something?

B.   Do you discuss your mistakes with colleagues?

C.   Do you try to blame someone for your failure?

D.   Do you deny any misdoing and change the subject?’

‘That’s a tricky one, as I haven’t much experience in that field.’

‘Never mind, just imagine how you’d respond under pressure.’

‘You mean make up an answer?’

‘Question six is about forming relationships. Who in your life is closest to you?

A.   Your parents or a family member.

B.   A colleague or friend.

C.   Your wife, husband or partner.

D.   Yourself.’

‘Is that a trick question or are you checking if I’m still awake?’

‘Question seven relates to your life experiences and what you value.’ 

‘I hope you’re not trying to find out my bank details?’

‘What are you most proud of?

A.   A prize or trophy you won at school?

B.   Your family?

C.   Your children?

D.   Your reputation?’

‘I was never much good at sport and my kids never answer their damn phones, so--- ’

‘So, moving on to the next question.’

‘Yes, yes, all right.’ 

‘Question eight considers your personal interests.’

‘Are there many more questions?’ 

‘What do you do with you’re your free time when you have no plans?’

‘I haven’t got all day, you know?’

‘You’re making great progress, so let’s continue.

A.   Do you watch television?

B.   Do you read an improving book?

C.   Do you never have free time because you have endless schemes?

D.   Do you enjoy the company of friends, drink to excess and worry about it later?’

‘One’s too many most of the time, right? But I’m not here to discuss the program.’

‘Question nine is all about difficulties in your life. What is your greatest personal challenge?

A.   Do you have a congenital disorder that limits your activity?

B.   Do you have problems in your marriage that need addressing?

C.   Do you have financial issues that restrict your expenditure?

D.   Do you not recognise any problems and blunder onwards?’

‘I’ve never had time for displays of weakness, so hmm… ’

‘Moving on to question ten. This is about your childhood memories.

A.   Did your parents use physical punishment to enforce discipline? 

B.   Were you popular amongst your peers at school?

C.   Do you recall showing affection towards a family pet?

D.   Did you ever cheat to win a birthday party competition?’

‘Does pinning an extra tail on the donkey count as deceit?’ 

‘Question eleven is about your self-awareness.’ 

‘You’re not going all touchy-feely on me, are you?’

‘If you could alter one thing about your personality, would it be?

A.   Are you generous to a fault?

B.   Are you painfully shy?

C.   Are you too trusting?

D.   Are you perfect and have nothing to change?’

‘I’ve always considered myself far too secure to be modest?’

‘Question twelve is about your outlook on life.’

‘Is that the time already?’

‘I appreciate you’re busy, however, let’s do a couple more.

A.   Do you believe others generally have good intentions?

B.   Do you see the worst in others?

C.   When you see a glass of water, do say it’s half full?

D.   Are you over optimistic and sway opinion by being economical with the truth?’

‘How much am I paying you for this session?’

‘Question thirteen is about patience, seeing through a job, and waiting for the results.

A.   Do you make sure a task is completed to everyone’s satisfaction?

B.   Are you happy to sign it off when the majority is content? 

C.   Do you consider who will tidy up the loose ends after you’ve moved on?

D.   Can you wait to get the job done or proceed with the next one, regardless?’

‘Is there much more of this?’

‘I think we can gauge a response now depending on your answers--- ’

‘I got D for the first four and then a C and D’s for the next bunch and, err--- ’

‘The software will consider your responses and make suggestions immediately.’

‘Actually, all of my answers were D.’

‘Well, if that’s the case, I’m pleased to reveal the computer’s recommendation.’ 

‘Splendid, let’s hear it then.’

‘Your ideal job match is either an estate agent or a traffic warden.’

‘Can we try again?’


The End



February 23, 2023 21:44

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48 comments

Roger Scypion
12:23 Feb 27, 2023

Witty, clever and funny! Great dialogue! You did outstanding following the prompt!

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Howard Halsall
12:58 Feb 27, 2023

Hey Roger, Thank you for reading my story and sharing your thoughts. I’m glad you enjoyed the humour and relieved it all made sense…. :) Take care HH

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Viga Boland
23:46 Feb 26, 2023

This is one of the best humour pieces I’ve ever read. So very funny. What a creative mind you have. Bravo!

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Howard Halsall
00:08 Feb 27, 2023

Hey Viga, Thank you for your positive words and taking the time to read my latest story. I’m glad you enjoyed it and pleased it all made sense. Humour is tricky to write as it can be dependent on cultural norms and so many other variables. However, currently there seems to be a political class that has risen to international prominence and the associated behaviour is instantly recognisable…. Take care HH

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Viga Boland
00:12 Feb 27, 2023

😂😂😂

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Kelly Sibley
01:22 Feb 26, 2023

Oh, that was funny, and I giggled all the way through it, but I'm more impressed because it's a very clever political piece. Very, very well done!

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Howard Halsall
08:18 Feb 26, 2023

Hey Kelly, Thank you for taking the time to read and comment on my latest story. I’m relieved that the humour works because It’s such a tricky element to gauge and I find political satire often fails to hit the mark. I trust you’re well and look forward to reading your next submission. Take care HH

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Wally Schmidt
17:20 Feb 25, 2023

So difficult to write humor and you really nailed it. I had flashbacks to high school when I took a 'career orientation' multiple choice test where they asked you all sorts of inane questions. One question I specifically remember was "would you rather have a job where you washed dished your whole life or live on a deserted island'. I took the test twice and both times the career recommendation was the same. The career most suited to me was: rabbi. Trouble was, I'm not Jewish.

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Howard Halsall
17:27 Feb 25, 2023

Hey Wally, Thanks for checking out my story and leaving your positive feedback. I chuckled as I read your high school recollection and loved the punchline. Take care HH

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Jack Kimball
16:45 Feb 25, 2023

I went back to read what the 'D' questions were and recognized the answers matched Tony Blair. Of course in the US it would be Donald Trump and require a whole new set with an 'E' question. Great response on the prompt Howard!

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Howard Halsall
17:14 Feb 25, 2023

Hey Jack, Thank you for reading my story and sharing your thoughts. Yes, I agree with you about the additional E question in relation to the former POTUS. I imagine that would take the idea to an entirely different level. BTW - I had a slightly more recent Prime Minister in mind, so it’s interesting that the D questions readily apply to other members of the political class….. Take care HH

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Graham Kinross
02:56 Mar 27, 2023

This reminds me of taking one of those “which character from —- are you?” Quizzes and never liking the answer. Also feels like filling out legal forms that ask questions that seem completely pointless.

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Howard Halsall
08:07 Mar 29, 2023

Hi Graham, I suppose those questionnaires are a reflection of modern life and a health and safety culture within the workplace that is dominated by a need to counter any form of opportunistic litigation. Their invention, construction and development keep people employed and justify middle managers’ existences within an increasingly competitive job market…. Who knows where it’ll end? HH

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Graham Kinross
10:19 Mar 29, 2023

The necessary evil of corporate responsibility…

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Howard Halsall
10:21 Mar 29, 2023

It appears to be so :)

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Graham Kinross
12:45 Mar 29, 2023

A red tape horror at its zenith in Japanese systems.

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Howard Halsall
14:45 Mar 29, 2023

Hmm…. You sound as if you’ve experience of that system.

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Martin Ross
23:44 Mar 02, 2023

Love to hear this questionnaire administered here in the States!🤣🤣 Our guys would be suited to hand-stamper at a concert or festival. Very shrewd, sly, and well done re the prompt!

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Howard Halsall
08:11 Mar 03, 2023

Hey thanks, Martin! I’m glad you enjoyed my story and made time to share your thoughts. BTW - yes, I think you’re correct; the test has multiple applications and if used as an obligatory precaution, it might help prevent abuse of power in public office. Oh well, somewhere in another universe…. Take care HH :)

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John Lindquist
18:33 Mar 02, 2023

Nice story. Great dialogue, I had no problem knowing who was talking. Sadly, I'd vote for this character of yours over Trump.

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Howard Halsall
18:44 Mar 02, 2023

Hey John, Thanks for reading my story and sharing your thoughts. I’m glad you enjoyed and good luck if my character ever rises to the position of POTUS :) Take care HH

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Amanda Fox
21:24 Mar 01, 2023

Welp, I can definitely see some political figures in those answer choices! My career assessment in high school said I should be a cabinet maker. It was very specific.

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Howard Halsall
21:35 Mar 01, 2023

Hey Amanda, Did you follow the advice? HH :)

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Amanda Fox
15:30 Mar 02, 2023

Ha, nope! Not even close - I'm a disaster specialist.

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Howard Halsall
16:07 Mar 02, 2023

It sounds like you’ve had a fascinating life experience so far…. Are you glad you ignored the advice or is it time for some woodwork?

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Amanda Fox
19:09 Mar 02, 2023

Super glad I ignored it - my job is fascinating! Though, to be fair, I *did* just refinish a dresser...

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Howard Halsall
19:29 Mar 02, 2023

A woman of hidden talents, no less… :)

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Penelope Conlon
11:09 Mar 01, 2023

Hilarious, Howard! Really enjoyed this, every line. Well paced, and belly-laugh funny.

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Howard Halsall
11:32 Mar 01, 2023

Hey Penelope, Thank you for taking the time to read my latest submission and share your thoughts. I’m glad you enjoyed my latest story as I had a lot of fun writing it, however it’s great to get your positive feedback. Take care HH

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09:40 Mar 01, 2023

The questions were quite entertaining and witty. Gradually, it became clear this was politician material, and I wish the computer's recommendation were definitive 'Traffic warden - and you start now!'. Well done, humor and subtle satire!

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Howard Halsall
10:34 Mar 01, 2023

Hey Alina, Thank you for reading my story and sharing your thoughts. I’m glad you enjoyed the humour and relieved it all made sense. Take care HH

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MJ Simons
23:23 Feb 28, 2023

Clever and entertaining.

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Howard Halsall
23:36 Feb 28, 2023

Thanks Mj, Your positive feedback is much appreciated. Take care HH

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Shane Murray
22:26 Feb 28, 2023

Really enjoyed the end and wrap up, chuckled as I went back through all the “D” answers.

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Howard Halsall
22:44 Feb 28, 2023

Hey Shane, I’m glad you enjoyed my story and appreciate you taking the time to read and share your thoughts…. Take care HH

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L J
00:23 Feb 28, 2023

Laughed all the way through ! HIs answers were hysterical and I Could picture the employment specialist with a bun, horn-rimmed glasses and completely clueless! Very funny! Well done with the dialogue! Thank you for taking the time to read mine as well!

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Howard Halsall
08:16 Feb 28, 2023

Hey L J, I’m glad my story raised a smile and made sense. I had lots of fun writing it, however one never knows what people will find amusing, although I find reading it out loud helps my judgement. Heaven only knows what my immediate neighbours must think when they hear me. I suspect their stifled laughter is for other reasons… Take care HH :)

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Wendy Kaminski
02:08 Feb 25, 2023

haha! I liked the spirit of this prompt response, Howard! Really well-done and unique, with the Q&A (which were hilarious! :). Question: if I got all Ds are those the ONLY options? :D

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Howard Halsall
08:39 Feb 25, 2023

Hey Wendy, Thank you for taking the time to read my story and leave your positive feedback. I’m glad you enjoyed the humour and I’ll consult the report to see if the computer recommends any alternative careers for your selection of all “D” responses. :) Take care HH

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Wendy Kaminski
00:46 Feb 27, 2023

Congrats on the Recommended Reading list, Howard! :)

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Howard Halsall
05:19 Feb 27, 2023

:)

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