Friday, January 13, 2012

The Interview by Eric Suhem


Mona pushed through the double-doors, out-of breath, into the lobby of Widgets Inc., hoping she was not too late for her job interview. She had been out of work for 9 months, after a round of layoffs at her last job, and was desperate to find employment. Her stomach rumbled with nervousness as she was greeted by 2 men and a woman, all dressed in white lab coats, and holding clipboards. “Welcome to your interview, Mona, this way please.” As they walked down the hallway of neutral grey nylon carpeting, the woman described to Mona the history of Widgets Inc., and some of the specific requirements of the job for which Mona was applying. 

They entered the copy room, Mona was given a piece of paper, and was asked to make a copy. She opened the lid of the copier, put the original down on the glass, and pressed the 'Start' button. The bright light from the copier shot up from the glass, transforming the head of one of the interviewers into a tangle of wild colorful flowers, vines, and butterflies. The copy room then became a dense, rich tropical forest, like images Mona had of the Amazon. She frolicked among the foliage, not wanting to leave. Eventually the two remaining interviewers led her back into the hallway of neutral grey nylon carpeting, as they scribbled notes on their clipboards. The building janitor entered the copy room, and the remains of Interviewer #1, consisting of wilted flowers, equatorial leaves, and dead butterfly wings, were all swept under the rug. 

Mona didn‟t quite know what to make of the copy room, but she had been reading recently about progressive companies using cutting-edge interview techniques. They walked down the hallway to the large door of a conference room. “Now you will have the opportunity to meet the owner and founder of Widgets Inc., we know her as Ms. M.” Mona opened the door, and saw a young woman leading a group on an expedition through a tropical rainforest. Suddenly the scene in the conference room changed, and the woman was swimming in what appeared to be the Coral Reef, taking underwater photographs and studying obscure marine life. Then they saw Ms. M selling widgets out of the trunk of her car, building a lucrative business, and eventually sitting in a large office atop the Widgets Inc. building. All of these scenes flashed by in the conference room. 

Before Mona could respond, they were joined in the neutral gray carpeted hallway by the building janitor, holding odd custodial devices. Mona was asked by the interviewers to tell them what made Mona "Mona," and she gave her prepared speech. “What a colorful anecdote,” said the janitor upon completion of the speech, while crushing stationary flies with a hammer. “But I don‟t see the utility of it.” The interviewers stepped back as the janitor continued, “To understand your utility, we would like you to open these 3 utility closets,” he said, gesturing to the next 3 doors in the hallway, as the interviewers scribbled on their clipboards. 

Mona opened the 1st door, and did not see mops, brooms, cleansers, or utilities, but rather a lonesome nighttime highway, with a small diner off to the right, amidst the shrubs. Sitting in the diner, hunched over a cup of coffee, wearing a dark green raincoat, was Ms. M, brooding, staring into the caffeine. A waitress nearby held a pot aloft, prompting for refill. Mona shut the door quickly and re-opened it. This time it was a typical utility closet with mops, brooms, etc. 

The 2nd door opened into a vista of an open field. Situated in the field was Ms. M, on an operating room table, all of the body except for the head covered by a white cloth, an I.V. nearby pumping fluids into her arm. There was nothing else around her, except the strangely colored weeds of the field. Mona quickly closed the door, and re-opened it. This time she found the usual utility room items. 

As Mona opened the 3rd door, a utility was not revealed, but rather a small mountain lake, the water lapping up to the shore near Mona‟s feet. In the middle of the lake was the bloated corpse of Ms. M, floating in an inner tube, wearing an evening gown and a propeller beanie. Staring in disbelief, Mona quickly closed the door and re-opened it. The lake was gone.
The janitor stepped in and closed the 3rd door. He would be seen later that evening entering the copy room, opening the Xerox lid, and pressing the 'Copy' button, the bright light shining through the paper into his eyes, transforming his head into a gigantic brightly-colored flower. The flower-headed figure would leave the building, and disappear into the night, petals fluttering onto the parking lot pavement. 

The interviewers then simply asked Mona, “Though it may not end well, do you still want the position?” Mona looked at the clock, which showed 2:43 p.m. Without hesitation, her reply was “Yes.” 
“Excellent, you‟ll be hearing from us.” said the interviewers, as they led her to the 'Exit' door. Through a window in the door, Mona could see that the hallway was filled with water. She donned her snorkeling gear, which she kept in a travel bag for just such an occasion, attaching fins and breathing mask. She dove into the hallway and swam through a large hydraulic chute, which led upwards through the building. Opening a trapdoor at the end of the chute, she emerged on the roof of the building, into the sunshine. 

At 2:45 p.m. in the city hospital, a bouncing baby girl was born to a young couple, who named her Mona. She would become a world famous explorer, oceanographer, and a successful, though mysterious, corporate titan and captain of industry.
  Yellow Ostrich - "Hold On" by Afternoon Records

Eric Suhem lives in California and enjoys the qualities of his vegetable juicer. He is in the orange hallway.  
This Zine Will Change Your Life previously published Linen Garden by Eric Suhem. Check it out.

Street art by Gaia
Photo by Adam Lawrence.

"Hold On" by Yellow Ostrich comes from the band's 2011 debut. They just announced that the album's follow-up will be released this March, and will be called "Strange Land."

1 comment:

  1. Found some good techniques here. I am applying them once i started mine.