Mr. Peterson glanced one last time at the worthless resume before feeding it into the paper shredder mounted on the edge of his desk and directly over the trash can. "What a complete and utter waste of my time," he muttered. Before opening the next file, he jotted down on a Post-It note a quick reminder to give the recruiting office a severe verbal lashing.
He punched the speaker-phone, said, "Send in the next supplicant, Karen," and cut the connection.
As his office door opened, Mr. Peterson looked up from the new resume and asked, "Daniel Smith?" Smith nodded. "Sit down, Danny." Mr. Peterson motioned to a leather armchair in front of his desk. "I hope you don't mind my calling you Danny. My two-year-old son is named Daniel, and he likes to be called Danny."
"My mother calls me Danny," said Smith.
"I see," said Mr. Peterson. He looked back down at the resume.
"How shall I address you, sir?"
"Mr. Peterson will be fine. What makes you want to work for All Edge Systems, and, more importantly, why do you think we'd even want someone like you?"
"All Edge is the best company out there, and always will be. I will not compromise my professional integrity by working at a second rate business. I know that All Edge Systems wants only the best men working for her, and, to put it simply and plainly, I am the best."
Mr. Peterson regarded Daniel Smith. His short blond hair was moussed back in a stylish wave. His pale blue eyes glinted self- confidence, ambition, and that unmistakable killer instinct.
He was clad in a dark, pinstripe, Pierre Cardin two-piece suit with matching power tie. His legs were crossed, and Mr. Peterson could see that although his shoes shined as if they were brand new, the worn sole clearly showed them to be many months old.
"Did you notice the fellow who was in here immediately before you?"
A look of disdain crossed Smith's otherwise fine features. "Unfortunately, yes. A pathetic excuse for a man. But I was heartened to see him run from your office in tears. May I ask what it was you said to him that caused such a delightful reaction?"
"No, you may not." Mr. Peterson read a few more lines of Smith's brag sheet and raised his eyebrows slightly. "Your resume claims that you just received your M.B.A. from USC. I'm a Trojan man myself. Class of '83. Tell me, is Professor Green still teaching? He was my undergraduate advisor."
"Oh yes, Green's still around. Was he just as senile back then?"
Mr. Peterson smiled. "He had his occasional moment of lucidity. He's a homosexual, you know."
"Yes, I took a class with him."
They stared at each other for a few seconds.
"Are you married, Danny?"
"I see." Mr. Peterson read over the rest of the resume. "I assume she would not divide your loyalties?"
"Of course not, sir. All Edge Systems would have me first and foremost. I would not have it any other way." Smith crossed his arms. "I did not choose my fiancee on some foolish whim."
Mr. Peterson closed Smith's folder and placed it on the desk. "Needless to say, Danny, I'm quite impressed with you. However, I don't think that you're properly suited for the job. Frankly, I don't much like your tie. Thank you for your time, and you know where the door is."
Smith squinted his eyes. "Excuse me, sir?"
"Vacate my office, or I'll call security."
"Mr. Peterson, I don't believe you know how much this job means to me." He reached inside his jacket, pulled out a .357 Magnum, and aimed it steadily at Mr. Peterson's chest. "You will give me the job. I will settle for nothing less."
Mr. Peterson smiled broadly, showing his teeth. "I like your style, Danny-boy. Congratulations." He leaned forward and punched the speaker- phone. "Karen, politely tell the other prospectives to fuck off. We have our man."
Robert Hurvitz (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a longtime InterText contributor and UC Berkeley graduate who, at last report, lived in Seattle.
InterText stories written by Robert Hurvitz: "The American Dream" (v1n2), "Experience Required" (v1n4), "Frog Boy" (v2n2), "Roadkill" (v2n3), "Dogbreath" (v3n1), "Wine And Cheese" (v4n3).
InterText Copyright © 1991-1999 Jason Snell. This story may only be distributed as part of the collected whole of Volume 1, Number 4 of InterText. This story Copyright © 1991 Robert Hurvitz.