The room had a mild cigarette stink, two flat screens and a big old diary on a table with old ink writings on its surface. The chairs were of different types and colours, and each looked ready to give in and drop someone any time. A dirty yellow rain jacket hung on a nail next to where Wendy sat, and below it, on the floor, was a face down black iPhone seven. She just sat back and waited.
“Sorry miss, I’m having a terrible day today, how are you?” the guard said as he walked in.
“I’m fine, and you?”
“These monkeys are making my job hard. I miss the old days when you could just shoot one and no one would make a big deal out of it,” he put the hard hat on the table, turned a chair and sat on it, facing Wendy.
Wendy hated the guard for saying what he had just said until she remembered that the plant was in the middle of a forest, and then she hated herself for thinking what she had just thought.
“Name’s Jimmy, welcome to PES Chemicals. Ready for your interview?” the guard said, giving Wendy his hand and unintentionally sending a molecule of expensive body spray to Wendy’s efficient nose.
She nodded with a fake smile and shook the surprisingly soft and warm hand of the man who looked to be in his early fifties. His boots were extremely wrinkled and leaned to the sides but were well-shined. And his dark blue uniform was browning but it was clean and ironed. His name was so badly handwritten on his name-tag that it read something like “Yimmir.”
Something made Wendy very uncomfortable. Maybe it was the big smile, now on Jimmy’s face, or being alone with him in that small room. Or it was knowing that she wasn’t really ready for the interview. She decided to use the small time she had to mentally revise her interview answers.
Tell us a little about yourself, she imagined being asked. She went over her answer in her mind as old Jimmy began to brag about how long he’d been with PES Chemicals and everything he knew about the company.
“Miss, tell me a little about yourself,” Jimmy said when he realised Wendy wasn’t listening to him.
“Uhm, do you mind if I don’t?” she said politely. She crossed her ex-high-school-model legs away from Jimmy, pulled out her phone and pretended to be doing something on it.
What are your weaknesses? she thought.
Seeing Wendy’s phone automatically made Jimmy pat his pockets and look around. When he saw what he was looking for, he leaned forward to grab it. Wendy’s eyes quickly jumped from her phone to him, so he sat back on his chair and continued talking.
“Miss Cohen, everyone who’s ever gotten a job here passed through me, you can accurately call me the gatekeeper,” Jimmy giggled.
That statement made Wendy sick. It was situations like that that made her feel like her beauty was more of a curse than a blessing. She ignored him.
Why should we give this job to you and not the other candidates? Wendy went over her answer.
“Listen, PES Chemicals is where it is today because we don’t just hire skilful personnel or people who desperately need the job. We hire good people, people with great attitudes, especially in sales,” Jimmy sounded like Wendy’s control freak stepfather with the “attitude” bit.
We? Wendy thought, who does he think he is?
“Sorry, Mr, it’s five to nine, I was told to be here at nine,” she said.
“Of course,” Jimmy shrugged and stood up. “Sorry for wasting your time, Miss.”
Wendy followed him out of the small room.
Tell us: What do you think of Wendy’s attitude?