The Job Interview--Part One

Friday, January 22, 2010

A door creaked open and then slammed shut.  JP walked in, dress shoes echoing on the concrete floor.  "Hello?"
Jon Paul was sitting behind a desk.  "Yes?  May I help you?"
"I'm here for the interview."
"The interview?"
"The job interview.  I'm here for the job interview."
"Ah yes.  Mr....?"
"JP.  I'm JP."
"Ah yes, Mr. P."
"You can call me JP." 
"Very well.  Pleased to make your acquaintance Mr. P.  I'm Jon Paul.  I'll be interviewing you today."
"Great!"
"Please take a seat."
"Thank you."
The two men sat, then Jon looked at his watch.  "You're late."
"What?"
"It appears that you are late, Mr. P."
JP looked at his watch.  "But it's three 'til."
"Didn't anyone ever tell you to be fifteen minutes early?"
"Well yes, but I--"
"Then you're late."
"I don't know about that.  I mean the interview was scheduled for--"
"It doesn't matter anyway.  Tardiness doesn't bother me."
"It doesn't?"
"No."
"Good."
"It's only a very poor way to start an interview."
"I thought you said you didn't care?"
"I don't."
"Then why did you point it out?"
"I don't care, Mr. P., but others might.  You can't be too careful."
"No, I guess you can't."
"So you're here because you want to be a writer."
"Yes."
"You've come to the right place then."  Jon pulled a file from a desk drawer and flipped it open.  "Now.  Let me see here.  Hm hmm.  Hm hmm.  Uh-oh.  Hmm.  So what are your qualifications?"
"For the job?"
"Yes.  For the job."
"Well, I like to write."
"You like to write."
"Yes, I mean I really like to write.  I've been doing it off and on since I was a kid, matter of fact.  I haven't always been writing, mind you, but it is something I keep coming back to."
"I see."
"The way I feel about writing is so different--you know?  It's this urge to tell stories that really move people.  This feeling just won't leave me alone.  It keeps me up late at night sometimes.  You know what I mean?"
"No, uh, no I don't."
"Well it's been pretty strange, especially lately.  I thought about giving it up.  In fact, I had given it up.  Recently.  This summer, in fact."
"How does one go about giving up writing?"
"I don't know.  I guess....I guess you just stop.  Writing, that is."
"And you were writing before that?"
"No.  Not really."
"You weren't writing."
"No."
"So let me get this straight.  Even though you weren't writing, you decided to stop."
"Yes, that's it.  I decided to quit because I wasn't writing."
Jon stared blankly at JP.  "And this makes sense to you?"
"Yes.  You see, I couldn't go on like that anymore."
"Like what?"
"Not writing.  I couldn't go on not writing anymore."
"I don't understand."
"It was just something I had to do."
"Quit?"
"Yes, I had to quit."
And that makes sense to you?"
"Yes."
"Well it doesn't make any damn sense to me."
"What?  What do you mean?"
"Well if you aren't doing something already, how can you quit?  Don't you see?  If you're not doing it, you have, in a sense, already quit.  Not doing something is the same as quitting."
"But it's not."
"It is."
"Let me explain."
"Please do."
"It was this dream I had, from when I was a kid.  I wanted to write stories.  I started my first novel when I was eight years old."
"How far did you get?"
"I wrote...ten pages."
"Ten pages?  Typed or handwritten?"
"Handwritten.  On Big Chief paper with one of those giant pencils with the fat erasers."
"And the giant pencils helped with your writing process."
"Not really.  I always got lead all over the heals of my hands."
"Did you ever finish it?"
"What, the novel? No."
"What was it about, this ten-page 'start' of a novel?"
"It was about a boy who sets out to sail around the world on an old iron ship."
"Let me guess, he did all the sailing and navigating and exploring himself."
"Yes."
"Not very realistic, was it?"
"Well, no.  But realism wasn't really my strong point back then."
"What was your strong point?"
"I don't know if I had a strong point."
"Everyone has a strong point."
"They do?"
"Well, yes of course.  Think for a minute.  What was your strong point?"
"I don't know."
"Hmmm."  Jon looked at J. P.'s file for a long moment.  "So, why are you here?"
JP fiddled uncomfortably.  "I told you.  I'm here for the job."
"You want to be a writer."
"Yes, very much so."
"Although I can at least admit that your first, shall we say, novella, sounds very intriguing, why do you think you have what it takes?"
"To tell the truth, I'm not sure I have what it takes."
"You're not?"
"No.  Truthfully, no."
"I see.  That's very intriguing."
"It is?"
"Actually, no.  I was only trying to be kind Mr. P.  It's not intriguing at all."
"Oh."
"Do you have a job now?"
"Yes."
"What do you do?"
"I'm a pilot."
"Really!  A pilot?"
"Yes."
"You're 'dangerous'?"
"What?"
"Everytime you go flying, you're 'dangerous'?"
"What are you talking about?"
"You're 'writing checks your body can't cash'!"
"Oh, I see."
"Like in Top Gun!"
"No.  Actually it's not like that at all."
"Maybe I'll call you Iceman!"
"Please.  No.  Please stop."
"But why?"
"It's...embarrassing."
"It is?  Why is that?"
"Those are the same jokes everybody makes, and frankly, I'm really tired of it."
"OK."
"Thanks."
"So you fly jets?"
"No.  Helicopters."
"Oh."
"What?"
"Nothing."
"Hey, helicopters are cool too!"
"Perhaps."
"Perhaps?  Have you ever flown in a helicopter?"
"Well no, but--"
"You see there.  You're just making assumptions."
"Am not."
"Are too."
"Am not!"
"Are too!"
"Mr. P., may I point out that if you were applying for a job as a helicopter pilot, you would be in a very favorable position at this moment.  Get my point?"
"Uh, yes.  I see what you mean."
"So perhaps you should stow that flyboy bravado and come back down to planet earth for a moment."
"I'll see what I can do."
"And while you're at it--uh, hold on a second.  We have to change tapes."
"We have to do what?"
"Just a moment.  We have to change tapes."
"Change tapes?"
"Yes."
"You're recording this?"
"Yes, Mr. P.  It's standard--"
"Aren't you supposed to tell me first?"
"We find it makes the applicants nervous."
"I wonder why!"
"Now no need to worry, Mr. P.  Not another soul will hear this tape.  I promise."
"Are you sure?"
"Yes.  I promise.  This is simple record keeping.  I forgot to change the tape after the last applicant left."
"I don't know about this."
"Hold that thought, Mr. P., while I put in a new tape."
Jon pushed the eject button on the tape recorder and the casette tape popped out.

***Part Two here.***

4 bolts from the blue:

Liza said...

You had me laughing at about line five, and for the rest of the way though this. You see, in my old life, I sat at that desk doing the interviewing and now I'm JP, minus the helicopter, of course.
For a little more insight, check out http://middlepassages-lcs.blogspot.com/2009/02/i-can-do-this.html. For what it's worth, based on this blog post, I'd give you the job! Thank you for following my blog!

Natalie Murphy said...

Hehehe, that was great!

Catherine Denton said...

Hilarious. The quitting writing when you're not writing was brilliant. I think we're all guilty of that.
Winged Writer

Jon Paul said...

Thanks guys!

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