Monday, July 7, 2008

a day late and a dollar short

a very short fairy tale

Day after day she sifted through applications sent to personnel by the state agency. Line workers, weekend shifts and an occasional razzle-dazzle resume from some out of work English major. A few bloodless stabs were made at the pile of paper and those that clung to her sharp intuition were called back. The rest got filed away.

Not so this day when his call was routed to her desk. Watching a cobweb float around on the ceiling above her she waited while he told her he was back in town, looking for a job and had a lot of experience. Nice voice, fairly articulate and following the procedure outlined in ‘how to win over your prospective boss 101’ to the letter. Unfortunately there were no openings, but he was welcome to send that stellar resume to her. He said he would.

In that drowsy time after lunch, absent-mindedly wiping up the spilled tea on her desk she saw the receptionist motioning someone toward her desk.

He reminded her of Sinatra entering the Sands after hours-- swagger, sly charm with hair slicked back on the sides. There he stood at her desk, with a look of surprise, as if he’d seen her before. Tossing the tea soaked napkin she looked up from the waste can contents, into his eyes, then coughed. She knew she was blushing. Shortly they both returned to business, handshakes, names, a mini interview ensued. He had come from the semi-conductor world in Seattle but wanted to re-locate to be near his son.
Nice try.

She felt oddly sad when he shook her hand again and said with a wave—a hometown giveaway—that they’d be in touch. No one needed to know that in her research she discovered he lived near the river in those rentals that once comfortably housed railroad workers. Nor would she tell anyone how she had scoured her yearbooks at home that night.

His face was stunningly familiar and that confounding look of recognition at seeing her was loosening her hinges. Because she figured he was a con artist, she dismissed the high school reunion being held in her mind and carried on, until Friday. He called her at the plant, asking for her by her first name. She told him how she had dutifully sent his [impressive] resume up the cattle ramp. Signing off he said, ‘I hope we can talk again.’ She meant to say that she would keep him posted…. but instead she said she hoped so too. They only spoke by phone one more time.

He didn’t get the job. Even now as her memory dims when remembering the faces of friends and family, his appears as vivid as ever. But she still doesn’t know who he was.

My very late contribution to Sunday Scribblings' prompt 'chance encounter.' See more writing or join in here.


Queen-Size funny bone said...

I'll give him a job...

Granny Smith said...

This is a delightful little story that keeps us guessing along with your protagonist. It's also an excellent description of the actualities of a job like hers.

I hope you had a happy fourth of July. It was cool here, which we welcomed. We are starting a heat spell today with temperatures expected to climb into the hundreds or high nineties for the next week. That plus smoke from the fires has created a very uncomfortable ambiance today, which is a "spare the air".


Marianne said...

Hee, what a great story!

B. Roan said...

Fine story. I wanted to keep reading.

Donna said...

Ready for More!!LOL...Happy writing sweetie!!hughugs

danni said...

tremendous post - it's like she got left with an itch that just couldn't get scratched enough --- apologies for being so long getting here!!!

Nessa said...

Ah, the ones that get away. Very nice.

Reader Wil said...

A very well written story, it makes you look forward to hearing the end and WHO IS HE??? Are you going to write the rest soon?

nonizamboni said...
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