The Formality of an Interview

I was beating the bushes looking for a job and not having a lot of luck and living in a Nickelsville because of it when a voice spoke to me out of the green waters of the river. I was down there watching the river roll past and taking what comfort I could get out of that and trying not to think about throwing myself into it and letting the world take care of itself when the voice spoke to me, a thick, soupy voice like mucus. It said my name and I said what without thinking about it I suppose out of habit as much as anything the last traces of a politeness mostly kicked out of me over the years.

Listen (it said) I’ve got a job for you if you want it.

I’m listening (I said). I admit I could use the job but I want to keep my options open and not commit myself to anything I’m going to regret later when I find out more about it.

A wise and just choice and no more than fair but there’s nothing of that in this and it’s an unnecessary (though prudent) amount of worry you’re worrying. I need a box picked up a plain brown box with my notes in it that a man’s holding for me downtown. I’d go get it myself but I can’t get away right now. You understand.

Maybe I do, maybe I don’t (I said). I haven’t seen you yet and what kind of a job is it where you can’t see the person you’re working for? I like to look a man in the face when I’m after working for him and let him look in mine as is no more than fair.

A wise and prudent course but in this case (sadly) not possible. But there is worry and then there is worry and a wise man will weigh which is which and judge for himself.

He threw a packet of bills to my feet and I bent over and picked it up. It wasn’t as thick as my arm or even my wrist but it was all twenties and more money than I’d seen in a year of shaking the bushes and waving signs, enough to move me out of the Nickelsville and into more human digs.

What do you say (said he). Are you for me or against me?

The hell (I said). I’m for you.