Archive for January 6th, 2012

6th January
written by amber

Friday’s Child is Loving and Giving

The job was described as ‘Girl Friday – must have own transportation and be prepared to run errands.” That was pretty vague. I couldn’t decide if my previous jobs as a chambermaid in a local hotel and a waitress in a bar would qualify me, or if my bicycle qualified as transportation, but it never hurts to ask. The salary was twice what I’d ever earned, so it didn’t surprise me that the line of applicants went down the block and around the corner.

All sorts of people were applying. The guy in front of me defended his presence by saying, “When they advertise for a chairman, they don’t really mean it has to be a man. Same thing with Girl Friday. A man can do that job just as well.”

He’d been a warehouseman at a local food bank and he had his own car. The woman behind me had been a school teacher and the woman behind her had managed a shoe store. I began to think that I didn’t stand a chance. I decided to give myself one hour in the line, but if it moved too slowly, I’d ditch.

But it moved quickly, and I was at the front in only 15 minutes. This either meant that they were rejecting people quickly, or that they had a whole lot of interviewers. The latter proved to be the case. A secretary in an outer room directed applicants to one of five doors.

“What’s the name of the company?” I asked as she pointed me to door number three.

“I don’t know,” she said, “they just hired me for the day. But they pay good, if that’s any help.”

I was interviewed by a man who didn’t introduce himself, nor did his desk sport a name plaque. He seemed amused when I told him my transportation was a bike. “That’s different. But it might work.”

Then he told me I could have the job if I passed the probationary task.

“What is it?” I asked.

“Take this.” He handed me a thick envelope. I started to look inside, caught a glimpse and looked at him for confirmation. He nodded. I took the money out and counted it.

Forty one hundred dollar bills.

“Go out, ride your bike around, spend the money. The job entails shopping, so we want you to shop.”

“What sort of things should I buy?”

“You’re shopping for an older man who has a lot of money and already owns everything he could want or need. So be creative. Come back tomorrow and show us what you bought.”

He indicated a door at the back of his office. I went through and found myself in the alley with the warehouse guy and the school teacher.

“Nice,” the guy said, “party time tonight.” He put the money in his pocket.

“You can’t just take the money.”

“Sure I can. They didn’t even take my resume. They have no idea who I am.”

I realized that my resume was still in my purse, and I hadn’t filled out any paperwork. And I realized that I was going to do more or less the same thing with the $4000 given to me. Probably I shouldn’t even go back the next day, but I was already a little hot over the idea of this old guy with so much cash he could hand out $4000 to a bunch of people to fritter away trying to buy gifts that might just pique his interest.

The first thing I bought was a camera. Then I went back to my apartment, knocked on my neighbour’s door. I took a picture of the black-framed photo with the candles in front of it, the photo of her husband who’d been killed when he was deported from Canada and sent back to Columbia. I took a picture of her refrigerator and her cupboards, to show how bare they were. I took a picture of the kids’ room, the three thin mattresses on the floor. I took a picture of her smiling face, bad teeth and all. The last picture I took was with the timer, a picture of me handing the $4000 over to her.

I don’t care if I don’t get the job.

The Story 365 project is a year-long marathon of short story writing, with a new story for every day of the year and posted on this website from May 1, 2011 – April 30, 2012. Stories must be a minimum of 200 words. Please help me by adding first line or topic suggestions in the Comment section of any story. If you’d like me to use your name in a story, I’d be happy to do that.