The Job, Part One: The Interview

A serialized story in seven parts

Ken Preston

25 January 2024

A painterly illustration style view of 42nd Street in New York city

Today I have the first part of a serialized story for you, with a new part every day.

I hope you enjoy it. Remember, if you are on a paid subscription you can log in and leave a comment. I'd love to know what you think.

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1. The Interview

The job interview took place in a diner on 42nd Street. The place was squashed between a strip club, and a two-screen cinema showing The Texas Chain Saw Massacre on one screen, and a Linda Lovelace double bill on the second.

Susan sat at a greasy, Formica-covered table while the man assaulted her with interview questions. In between every question, he winked at her.

‘Are you a team player?’

Wink.

‘What’s your biggest strength?’

Wink.

‘Do you read The New York Times?’

Wink. Wink.

‘Are you in a relationship?’

Wink.

Susan tried to keep up, but as soon as she started answering one question, he was on to the next.

‘What’s your timekeeping like?’

Wink.

‘Do you floss?’

Wink.

‘Where do you see yourself in five years?’

Wink.

‘Do you shower or bathe?’

Wink.

‘Are you a vegetarian?’

Wink.

Was he flirting with her? Or were the winks some sort of secret message? A tip-off? Answer this question, stall for time with this one.

And then, ‘The job’s yours, you start Monday at nine am.’

And Susan realised, the winks were a tic.

He stood up and held out his hand. ‘Welcome aboard.’

Wink. Wink.

‘Thank you.’ Susan shook his hand.

Only after he had left did Susan realize he hadn’t told her where to report for work on Monday, or even what her role would be.

She looked at her cold, black coffee, and thought about the long, lonely weekend ahead.

Had this interview just been a stupid prank?

Did she even have a job to go to on Monday?

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