I decided to something a little different this week. Instead of a typical blog post, I’m like to share a short exercise in imagination. The topic: what would a job interview be like if it went like a fantasy story?
The heavy wooden door creaked as I pushed it open.
“Hi. I’m Jack. Jack Green. I’m here for the interview?”
“Of course.” The man behind the polished oak desk raised a hand and gestured to the chair in front of him. “Please. Have a seat.”
I did, taking a moment to survey the office. It had the kind of eccentric furnishings you usually only see in the homes of reclusive billionaires. Bookshelves, crammed with dusty tomes, lined the walls; a gleaming steel sword leaned against the fireplace, stained faintly with what I told myself was rust. A suit of dented armor hung on a stand. A fake skull—at least, I really hoped it was fake—sat atop the interviewer’s desk.
The interviewer—a hulking, muscular man who looked more like a wrestler than a manager—leaned forward, the light gleaming off his bald head. “My name is J’orh’aren’mor’an Re’qur’ist’tor, son of Jo’r’yenon son of Bob. I have been called guardian; reaper; basher; pulverizer. I am the manager of the first floor and the voice on the phone.” As he spoke, his voice rose, echoing with emotion. “I am the bull that dozes, the table that creaks; I am the ball that bounces thrice and the wine curdling in the crates. I have fought on snow-capped mountains and faced death in the face of a whirlwind. The bards have sung songs that make men weep about me; the poets have told more tales of my exploits than there are apples in a market.” He gripped the sides of his table with both hands and roared his next words, face red and neck straining. “I. Am. The Brusier!” He leaned back, held out a hand. “I assume you’ve heard of me.”
I blinked, then leaned forward, grasped his hand--wow, what a grip--and shook it. “Um . . . definitely, Mr. Joh . . . Mr. Jora . . . Mr. Joran . . . uh, Sir. Yeah, just last week I was talking to my friends about The Bruiser, and I was saying, ‘oh, did you hear about The Bruiser? Yeah, they say that he, uh, just bruised this dude,’ and my friends were like, ‘oh yeah, that’s what he does, just goes around bruising this guy and bruising that guy, always bruising . . .” My voice trailed off, and I coughed. “Ahem. Anyway. I’d just like to say that I really appreciate this opportunity.”
“Of course. It’s one that people would kill for. I’m sure some already have.”
The interviewer—I designated him as Mr. Smith in my mind—leaned back and picked up a folder. “To business. I take it you have read the prophecy?”
“The . . . the prophecy?”
“Indeed. The one foretelling the arriving of the future applicant.”
“Foretell—oh, you mean the job description. Yes, I read it. If I may, it was a little cryptic.”
Smith nodded. “Prophecies usually are. Although I haven’t failed to notice that you’ve already fulfilled several of the signs.”
Smith cleared his throat and incanted from memory. “From obscurity he will emerge, clad in a pressed black suit and a white shirt. He will not wear a tie. In clear English he will speak and sit himself in the proffered chair. He will have but little experience, his name be largely unknown; yet in enthusiasm, he will not lack. In fire he will be forged, in floods he will be drowned, yet never shall he falter. He, and he alone, will be the future copywriter of H & S Associates, Inc. He, and he alone, will wage war against the forces of the dark one and end his vile company’s reach.” He waved a hand at my suit. “So as you can see, I am pleased to see that the first few signs have already held true.”
“Uh . . . sure. I mean, I dressed this way because that’s what it said to do in the descri . . . in the prophecy. Was I not supposed to?”
Smith frowned at me. “The prophecy does not instruct, young man. It does not guide or direct. It only tells of what is to come.”
“Right. Of course.” I paused, cleared my throat. “If I may, what was that part about being forged in fire and drowned in floods? That was, uh, unusual.”
Smith shrugged. “Who can say? The prophecy will reveal all in time.” He bowed his head gravely. “We are all slaves to its will.”
“O… OK. And the part about the dark one?”
“Yes. He who shall not be named, the owner of the vile Grahamson & Sons.”
“Oh, Mr. Jones? I read about him . . .”
Smith lunged forward, eyes blazing. “Never mention his name. His eyes are everywhere, his ears under every corner. The mere utterance of his name can summon him forth.”
“Um . . . OK. Sure. Why is he the dark one, though?”
“Oh.” Smith leaned back and waved a hand breezily. “He’s our main competitor.”
“Right.” I frowned at the skull. It really did look real.
“Did you bring your accomplishments with you, Mr. Green?”
“My resume?” I reached in a pocket and pulled it out. “Yeah. Here.”
He held the paper up, turned it over. He frowned. “This is it?”
“Um . . . standard policy for resumes are one page, Sir.”
“Not in my days. I just saw off an applicant who brought in an entire tome, filled with incantations he had created in long nights under the stars.”
“Oh. I don’t have any of those.” I paused. “How come you didn’t hire him, then?”
Smith wrinkled his nose. “He smelled.”
“Ah. Yes, that is a common problem among new copywriters.”
“So. Mr. Green. Tell me about your experience.”
“I’ve done some freelancing. Some product descriptions, a little website copy. And I am very willing to learn. I haven’t quite done the type of writing like in the, ah, prophecy—more, “If you’re tired of sleepless nights, check out this comfy pillow” type of stuff—but I am open to new, uh, approaches.” I frowned. “If I may ask—has that style of writing been proven to be effective among your clientele?”
“Our clientele?” Smith folded his arms. “Our clientele are weary warriors and brave champions, tired of fighting in the dark but determined to carry on. They know that should they falter, nothing will stop the advent of Grahamson & Sons. They are the only thing that stands in its way.”
“Ah. They definitely do sound like the sort who’d appreciate it, then. Um . . . the, uh, the prophecy was a little unclear. What is it that your company does?”
“We are the bastion of light and the guardians of the future. We are all that stands in the way of the dark.”
“Oh.” I frowned. “So you sell light bulbs?”
Smith stared at me. “Light bulbs? We are not some petty merchant, young man. We are the fighters of freedom. We defend the light.”
“Um . . . defend it from what, exactly?”
“From the dark. From the unclean touch of Grahamson & Sons. From the blackness that will come should they ever succeed. We are to ice as is fire, to hunger as is food. We are hope and salvation. We are the protectors of the prophecy. We are H & S Associates. I take it that clarifies things?”
Not even remotely. “Definitely, Sir.”
“Good.” He glanced down at the resume. “It says here you worked in security?”
“Yeah, but it was a long time ago and only for a few weeks.”
Smith nodded. “So you have some experience with warfare and battle?”
“Uh . . . some, I suppose.”
Smith nodded and made a note. “Good. That may come in handy.”
“Ok. Wait, what? Why?”
Smith picked up the folder again. “What about duties that fall outside your jurisdiction? Are you open to assisting the team with their duties?”
“What type of duties were you thinking of?”
“Hard to say. There may be the occasional lair of giant spiders that need clearing from the basement. We have long political talks which we believe everyone should be present for, so you’ll definitely be invited to those. We may need some help patching up the damage the alchemists create in the cellars. There might also be the occasional attack—we have security for that kind of thing, but somehow they always manage to slip through.”
I stared at him for a moment. “Uh . . . sure?” I coughed. “Sure. I’m definitely a team player.”
Smith nodded. “I’m glad to hear that. Now, do you—”
“I’m sorry, Sir. It’s just that . . . well, I was wondering . . .” I coughed. “The, uh… the skull. What does it represent?”
Smith looked up. “That? It’s the skull of my predecessor, Yy’r’a’b’c’x’h’sdf’nac’.”
“Oh wow. What, uh . . . what happened to Yy . . .” How was he pronouncing these names? “Your predecessor?”
Smith sighed, deeply and sadly. “Alas, he was revealed to be a vile spy, sent by the dark one himself. I had no choice but to challenge him to a duel.”
“A . . . a duel?”
“Indeed. Long we fought. But in the end, my sword struck true, and I freed his head from his body.”
I jumped back. “What?” I cleared my throat. “Forgive me, Sir. I was just a little . . . is that a normal procedure, here? Employees killing their managers?”
“Well, general company policy is that it’s frowned upon; we don’t want to make it too common an occurrence, of course. But sometimes these things can’t be avoided.”
I really didn’t know what to say to that.
“Now,” Smith continued, “Is there anything you’d like to ask me?”
I blinked. “Um . . . right. Actually, yeah. I made a list. One, uh . . . one moment.” I reached into my pocket and pulled out a paper. “Um . . . if I were to be hired, what would my duties look like?”
“Well, if you fulfill the prophecy, you’ll ultimately bring down the Dark One and free our company from his treacherous grip. On that day, his dark stench will finally be removed from the land and the light will, at last, be unchallenged. But until then, you’ll be assisting our current team of copywriters with their work load.”
“Uh . . . OK. Will there be a training period?”
Smith snorted. “We don’t believe in that stuff. Our policy has always been that the young and inexperienced should be sent headlong into danger. Really tests the mettle. The gods make successful those who deserve to succeed.”
“The gods? Plural?”
“Indeed. There are many, many gods.”
“Oh. How many, if that’s not too forward of me?”
“This week?” Smith frowned and thought. “Hard to say. The priests can never agree. There was a Who’s Who in Deities published a few years back, but the priests declared it sacrilegious and burned it.”
“Oh. I see. Um . . . what’s the office dynamic like?”
Smith waved a hand breezily. “Oh, what you’d expect from a company this size. We have a lot of damsels who are always in distress—feel free to use your overtime hours to help them out. There’s the occasional rhyming wanderer and several bards. It’s also company policy that, whenever there is a meal, we indulge in boisterous singing. You’ll be expected to remember them, too—there’s a test at the end of each month.”
“Indeed. The food’s pretty good though. Yesterday we had creamy butternut soup for lunch, with baked bread softly dazed with maple. To accompany it…” Smith continued describing the lunch for the next several minutes.
By the end of it, my eyes had glazed over. “Wow.” I was suddenly intensely aware of how hungry I was. “That sounds… amazing.” I shook my head, forcing myself to focus. “How, ah… how’s the pay?”
Smith shrugged. “Sometimes better, sometimes worse. Depends on the haul.”
“Indeed. We frequently engage in…” Smith cut off as a loud, ringing gong started echoing through the building.
I looked around, wide-eyed. “What is that?”
“Alarm.” Smith stood. “We’re under attack.”
“No time. Are you in?”
I stared at him. I glanced at the skull, at the rusty--I’m just going to go with rusty—sword in the corner. On the other hand, it does pay. I stood too. “Yeah. I’m in.”
Smith smiled. “Good.” He walked to the sword and picked it up, twirling it in one hand. “Welcome aboard.”
What did you think of the post? Would you like to see more in this style, or was it too weird? Let me know in the comments.
Eli Landes is one of those weird writers who just can't get enough. A marketing writer by day and a fiction writer whenever he can squeeze in the time, he spends his spare time working on his novel, writing short fiction, or daydreaming (I mean, researching). His main genre is Jewish fiction, but he's been known to dabble in the weird, the absurd, and the truly dark.
Eli Landes (the dude whose blog you're reading right now) is a marketing copywriter by day and a fiction writer whenever he can squeeze in the time. He's gotten pretty good at it, and has decided to share his "wisdom." Sigh. I guess they let everyone do this these days.
Yep, I'm social. (Sort of.) Click the icon below to check out my ways of (reluctantly) connecting to other humans.