The prompt over at Sunday Scribblings is “interview.” I blame the three hours I had in the car, crossing the Midwest, for this.
After 20 years with the same firm, I’m let go from my job as a CPA – a “downsizing of staff due to these tough economic times.”
More likely, it’s a cost savings for greedy partners; they immediately promote my underling, for a lot less. The senior partner doesn’t have the balls to look me in the eye, as I make my way to the elevators with a copy paper box full of my shit.
Six months into unemployment, and I’m forced to take whatever jobs I can find. Food service nightmares, temp jobs filing and answering telephones, even a short-lived stint as a night desk person at a motel that’s begun to sink into seediness. Anything to pay the bills. Anything to get by.
I’m at the pub, watching a stack of crinkled dollar bills dwindle into a booze-fueled stupor. A client from the firm notices me across the bar, waves and slides up beside me, and signals the bartender for a round on him.
Looks like the recession is treating him well. Tailored summer wool suit, buttery leather shoes that looked like they saw a shine man once a week.
We make small talk, I tell him the unpleasantness of my firing. He shakes his head, truly concerned.
“Looks like you could use a break.”
And slides a cream-colored business card with block Gothic lettering toward my fist, the one wrapped tightly around the highball glass.
“Good firm, plenty of work for a numbers pro like you,” he says as he stands to leave. “Just keep an open mind, huh? I’ll let them know you’re sending a resume.”
A week later and I’m called in for an interview. The offices are in Chelsea, in what looks like an abandoned warehouse. The entrance is down a flight of trash-strewn concrete steps, the old iron handrails a thick coating of glossy black paint that I'm almost afraid to touch.
The reception area, however, is well-appointed. A little dark for my taste, and everything seems to be covered in black leather, with chrome accents.
“Mr. Jenkins will see you now,” the receptionist tells me through pouty lips painted purple, like a bruise, and leads me to a conference room that’s filled with various hard points and pulley systems on the walls and ceiling. The table is modern, made of industrial-grade stainless steel.
As I take a seat in a high-backed black leather chair, in walks who I assume is Mr. Jenkins. The dude’s dressed head-to-toe in leathers, including a full head mask with chrome zippers across the eyes, mouth, ears. He shakes my hand and as he passes, I notice that his pants are actually assless chaps, which frames the white flesh of Jenkins’ flabby butt.
As he sits, he unzips the heavy zipper across his mouth, releasing a monstrous pink tongue that greedily wets thin lips.
“Thank you for coming down on such short notice,” he says, as he offers me a selection of pastries on a silver platter. “Care for an espresso?”
I decline the pastries, but accept a coffee, which the receptionist brings to me and winks as she sets it before me. I notice she’s got a tear tattooed in the corner of her right eye. Her fingernails, also painted purple, are filed to talon-like points.
Non-pulsed, I sip my espresso as Jenkins goes over my resume, talks about their client roster, needs and such.
I nod, smile confidently as I answer his line of questioning. We reach that awkward moment in the talks when everything has been covered and he coughs lightly into a closed fist.
“Well, so barring a mandatory drug test, there’s just one more thing we have to know before I can make an offer,” he says. “We simply must know your thoughts on spanking.”
I adjust my tie for effect, crack my neck bones.
“If there’s a steady paycheck in it,” I say, downing the last bit of cooled coffee, “I’d slap your grandmother’s weathered cheeks to a rosy red glow.”
“Outstanding,” he says, and offers me a studded-leather clad hand.