“I need you to take this in the most professional way possible. I need you to strip down and turn around slowly for me.”
The man standing in front of my desk stared at me blankly for a few seconds.
I sighed, pausing the interview notes I was taking.
“Look, we really don’t have a lot of time here, so please forgive me if I dispense with the formalities and get right down to business. Please take off your shirt and turn around slowly. I need to see you from all angles. Although, to be honest, I’m not sure if you have the physique we"re looking for.”
He was taller than average, but with the body weight of a much smaller man, so all those extra inches seemed to stretch him out. The result was much like Silly Putty that had been pulled too thin. Pale, skinny, and kind of strange looking.
“A degree in business, experience in a fast-paced office environment, self-motivated, and willing to take on tasks as they arise"”
It was my turn to stare at him.
Wow, this conversation has completely flipped.
“That’s what the requirements of the job description said.”
What the heck.
“That"s the job description for the position I’m supposed to be interviewing for today,” he said.
I let out a sigh. ” So, you"re not here to audition for the Night on the Nile fundraiser"”
“No. At least, I don’t think so.”
I rested my elbows on my desk in front of me and pressed my fingertips to my temples. I closed my eyes, pretending I was at the actual Nile River, floating away from this situation and into the reeds.
“You’re here for the administrative position"” I say with a groan.
“That does involve wearing more than a shendyt with no shirt"”
“I hope. Wait. What’s a shendyt"”
I let out a long breath and leaned back in my chair.
“It was the skirt Egyptian men wore,” I said.
This day had already kicked my ass, and it was only 9:30 in the morning.
“I think slacks are more in favor,” the man said more confidently.
I gave him a tense smile.
I looked toward the door and saw Terri, the receptionist, looking in at me.
“An urgent call for you on line two.”
“Oh, perfect. Thank you.”
And it just keeps getting better.
I picked up the phone and balanced it on my shoulder as I reached for the resume of the man standing in front of me, who I had just remembered was Kevin Leake, a promising prospective employee funneled to me from a recent job fair.
Kevin continued to stand exactly where he was, not moving an inch. I tried to gesture for him to step out of the office so that I could talk, but he just waved back at me with a friendly smile.
Good job, Kevin.
“Happy wedding dress shopping day!” Thea sang cheerfully.
“Oh, son of a bitch!”
My forehead dropped down onto the desk in front of me.
My best friend now sounded distinctly less happy than a few seconds earlier. I sat up sharply and opened the bottom drawer of the desk, wrestling my purse out.
“I…um…stapled my finger.”
“Oh, no! Are you OK" Why are you stapling" You aren’t at work, are you"”
She was beginning to sound frantic. Shit. I started around the side of the desk, and headed for the door, but was yanked back violently by the coiled phone cord.
Who still had corded phones in offices, you might ask" The Under-funded nonprofit I was desperately trying to drag back from the brink of failure, that’s who.
“I’m fine,” I said. “I’m not working.”
“Are you sure" Are you sure you’re not working"”
“I’m not at work.”
“You said you weren’t going to work today, Roxie. Did you forget" It was a miracle for me to get this appointment!”
“I am not at work,” I insisted. “Of course, I didn’t forget about today. It took a miracle for you to get that appointment.”
I had resorted to essentially repeating everything she was saying to me, but it bought me some time while I hurriedly smashed my feet into the shoes I had taken off while sitting at my desk.
“Oh, good,” Thea breathed. “I just want everything to be perfect.”
“It will be,” I said, starting to lean across the desk toward the phone cradle. “I promise. But I’m going to stop and get us some coffee real quick. I’ll see you soon.”
“You don’t bring coffee to a bridal boutique!” she shrieked.
I winced and held the phone away from my ear. When I was confident she had finished, I pulled the phone back to me.
“Right. All the white. OK. No coffee. Check. Water" Pastry" Is there anything I can bring you"”
“I won’t be eating another pastry until after my honeymoon. I have to look perfect in my dress.”
That"s a lot of perfection.
“Noted. Alright, then I will see you soon.”
“Hurry! Our appointment is in fifteen minutes!”
Damn. Thea had only been engaged for two weeks, and I was already the worst maid of honor ever. Maid of dishonor, really. I sighed, thinking about my own permanently single status. Old maid of dishonor.