It’s been a while since I published a Writing Prompt short story, but here we go again! As always thank you to Writers Write for the input.
<< This is not what it looks like – I grab the boy’s harm before he leaves.
The boy looks at me with clear puzzlement on his face and I see a few sweat drops appear on his forehead. He clearly can’t believe his ears.
<< What do you mean? – he asks tentatively.
<< I know that everything seems perfect, people seem wonderful and kind, but this is not how it seems.
Ok. I know this scene may be misunderstood and it’s not fair to mislead this poor naive young boy this way, but this is a jungle and he needs to learn.
It’s not his fault, of course not. He didn’t choose to be born in our CEO’s family. He didn’t choose to be privileged. He didn’t choose to have a life that’s simpler than most of ours. But just because he didn’t choose, he needs to learn how lucky he is. He needs someone who teaches him the real value of what he has. He needs someone like me, kind and considerate, who is willing to sacrifice herself for the cause.
Oh, don’t make that face! I know you don’t believe a word I say. I really don’t believe it myself but I have to hush up my conscience somehow.
Do you want the truth?
‘Cause you won’t like it.
Ok then, if you are so sure.
The truth is that I want revenge over who made my professional life so damned impossible and I don’t care if this poor naive young boy doesn’t have any responsibility. I just need a victim.
Satisfied with the explanation?
Now you know exactly how disgusting I am.
Let’s move on.
Do you want to know what happened with the boy? Right then…
This morning I was at my desk, checking my emails and trying to discern useful ones from spams, when this young boy appeared in the hall.
<< Good morning. My name is Oliver Moore. I have an appointment with Mr. Grey for an interview.
Nothing strange to this point, but the name – Moore – the blond hair and the shape of his nose made a bell ring in my mind. My brain started shouting the guy is somehow related to the Boss! (and unfortunately I’m not talking about Bruce Springsteen).
<< Sure – I answered, the image of calm. I circumvented my desk and join him in the hall – Do you want a coffee or something else? – I asked in a kind tone.
<< Yes, thank you. A tea please…
The guy seemed quite nervous, not surprising before a job interview, even if you are favoured by connection. He casted a glance in my direction, as if he was trying to find out if he could trust me.
I announced him on the internal phone and, after a few minutes of pleasantries, I showed him in. Mr. Gray was waiting for him, standing behind his impressive mahogany desk.
Once the door was closed behind me, I run to my computer, typed furiously in the search window and extracted the guy’s CV from our internal database.
It took me a minute to read his CV (I was right, he is the Boss’ nephew), thirty seconds to realise for what position he was applying for and ten seconds to decide he had to pay. That’s why now I’m here, doing my worst, to convince him to give up.
<< This is not how it seems? – he looks at my hand, still gripped around his arm.
<< Exactly. Probably you think this is an opportunity you don’t want to waste, but you will regret it. Once in, you’ll never be able to get out. And you won’t like it.
He has to be scared, he has to run away in fright.
Now I speak in a calmer tone, as if this guy and I were friends, as if I was really doing him a favour.
<< Listen, I know that your father is CEO in the company, but he doesn’t physically work here. He can’t know how it is.
Then I hit below the belt.
<< This is a trap. Of course you will be able to climb the ladder from here, but this place is full of crazy people. Some of them are truly in the care of psychiatrists. If you start working here, no other company will ever consider you because of your experience in this place. It happened to me – I add casting down my glance – and it happened to others before.
The surprise on the boy’s face has now been replaced by a frown. The sweat on his forehead is more and more noticeable.
<< I know about a man – I go on without mercy – He was a senior accountant. Brilliant mind, great potential. After working for this company for three years, started looking around for something better but the answer was always the same. Other companies showed interested in his profile, until they discovered where he was coming from.
The frown now depicts something near true panic.
<< He had to move five hundreds miles away to find a place where his reputation was intact.
<< But… – the boy almost stammers – but why? What happened here?
I get closer to him and use my best conspiratorial tone.
<< We don’t know exactly. Maybe it was just because they thought he might be crazy too… but we also suspect that someone from the inside spreads falseness about the employees.
At this point, I can’t do more. I return to my professional self and go back behind the desk.
<< You can believe me. Or not – I say by way of greeting – Your choice.
I don’t look at him while he swallows, blinks and then pull the exit door. Now let’s see if you are smart enough to play the game, poor young naive boy.
A week later…
<< I don’t understand. Young Mr. Moore seemed quite interested during the interview but then he called, saying something nebulous about his… perspectives.
Mr. Grey is talking on his mobile right in front of me.
<< Yes… Yes, of course… No, he wasn’t the most brilliant candidate I have ever interviewed but he could have done…
No, probably he wasn’t.
<< Uhm… Yes, I hope so… Well, Mrs. Clary is far more qualified for the position. Yes, sure. Good bye.
I realise that I was holding my breath only when he turns towards me and I don’t have breath to answer his question.
<< So… this is your last day here?
I nod and smile. This is my last day here.
<< Good luck then – Mr. Grey smiles but I know he doesn’t want me to go, because he will have to teach the job to someone else. But I’m sure Mrs. Clary will be fine in my shoes.