The Job Fair
Written with the prompts: I just thought it was an ice-breaker, smelling and tasting food from different countries, he couldn’t commit to one eye color, money making, Gracie, morality for beautiful girls, dripping words hoping they’ll coagulate, eye-catching, Ana nab a banana, taco cat, Sally held up a magnifying glass, ice cream, the old man and the sea
My girlfriend Ana told me she had news. Since she’d just been to a job fair the day before, I was hoping for the best.
“First,” she said, “they invited us into a big room to smell and taste food from different countries. I thought it was an ice breaker, and I was eager to play along. Really, it was fabulous! They had tacos in this corner and pasta primavera in that corner, curry here and teriyaki there. I couldn’t wait to get started! But guess what? It turned out it was all planned as a money making venture! We were duped into being there, thinking we would get jobs. I should have known there was something fishy when I met that rascally recruiter, Rocky. There was something funny about his eyes.”
“Shifty?” I asked.
“No, unreliable. Out in the sunlight they were brown. But when we went inside the exhibit hall, they were dark green. Never trust a man who can’t commit to one eye color!”
I nodded. “But at least he got you something to eat?”
“Not if you couldn’t pay up!! Before they’d give you a plate you had to fork over $20. I was tempted. It all smelled so good!! But there were dozens of people shouting and waving their empty plates, complaining that the food had run out. They’d paid their money and there was nothing left! These crooks were just blowing the delicious aroma of non-existent food all over the arena. It was maddening. And stupid. First they assemble a mob, then they cheat us, and finally they release an enticing smell to make us all hungry! You better believe people were seething.”
She continued. “A few of the servers tried to help. A sweet woman named Gracie was pushing through the crowd with a bowl of fruit. ‘Here, Ana,’ she called, ‘nab a banana.’
A half dozen teenagers wearing cat ears and T shirts that read ‘taco cat’ were frantically handing out bags of tortilla chips. They seemed to think this would placate us but we were too far gone. By now people were pushing and punching.”
I was enthralled by her story. “What happened next?”
“There was a an elevated stage at the far end of the hall. An old man in an ice cream suit grabbed a mic and stood there alone in a circle light. I guess he was trying to calm us down, but he looked so scared himself he could barely speak. His words dripped out and he just seemed to be hoping they’d somehow coagulate. It was then that Sally got up on the stage next to him.”
“Sally was there?” Sally was one of those one-name celebrities, a New Age guru who made a billion dollars selling yoga and meditation tapes back in the 90s. No one had heard word one from Sally in decades. But apparently she put on an eye-catching performance at the so-called Job Fair.
“Sally held up a magnifying glass,” Ana described slowly. “She caught a sunbeam through a skylight and directed it to a pile of paper napkins on a table in the center of the room. ‘Watch and learn,’ she yelled. And, ‘Justice for the downtrodden!’”
Ana sighed. “It all happened so fast. The napkins burst into flames and the room was filled with high pitched screams and the sound of stomping feet.”
“Oh, my God,” I exclaimed. “How did you get out?”
“I jumped onto the stage next to Sally,” Ana said. “We were above the fray up there. I sat back and ate my banana while the place cleared.”
“What about the fire?”
“Oh, it petered out. It didn’t have enough fuel. Afterwards, the old man in the ice cream suit and Sally and I went down to the sea and strolled along the beach. We passed a man selling books from a cart on the sidewalk. The man in the ice cream suit wanted to buy me a paperback called ‘Morality for Beautiful Girls.’ I was flattered but I told him I was no longer a girl, and I play by my own rules. Sally was impressed.”
“That’s great,” I told her, happy to finally see a bit of good news in the mix. “But I guess you didn’t get a job?”
“Oh, no, I did get a job—a good one. I’m going to be Sally’s publicist.”
“That’s wonderful!” I exclaimed, even though I was thinking that if Sally continues to be a recluse there won’t be much to publicize.
“Thanks,” she said, inching closer to me on the couch. “This job is going to give me a lot of opportunity for travel.”
“I’m happy for you,” I assured her.
“Yes, we leave for the lunar surface on Monday.”
That’s when my girlfriend Ana broke up with me. Just as well really. I never could believe a single word she said, but she always had some mighty fine wine.
I’ll miss her.