Friday, July 9, 2010

Friday Fiction: Unemployment in Storyland

Behind the counter the ass-headed man looks over her papers.

"You have an impressive resume, but I'm not sure if I can find you work in your field. These days wicked step-mothers are a dime-a-dozen. Just look out there, you can see them on the streets, begging for small children to take home with them. It’s not a growth industry. Let me see, what are your other skills.”

She fidgets. She hates being assessed and found wanting. It was easier in the good old days, when all she had to do was walk on, cackle a few times then die a dramatic death. Nothing like a good death scene to get the blood pumping. Of course, she'll tell anyone who asks that she got a bad rap. She wasn't really all that wicked. Maybe just a little misguided.

“I see here you have some kitchen experience. Potions, poisons, so on and so forth. We can probably parlay that into a sous chef position with a little bit of spin. What else…”

He pulls down an ear and absent-mindedly strokes it. She sees the spot he’d rubbed bald.

“A bit of sewing experience, that helps too… maybe a ladies’ maid? Only in a house with no children, of course.”

She smells his barnyard scent, scarcely masked by deodorant and body spray. This wasn’t what she was made for; she was a creature of schemes and longing, not a person relegated to someone else’s scullery. She sighs.

He looks at her, his liquid brown eyes weary with compassion and futility. “Ma’am, I know this is hard. We’re pretty sure the recession will lift soon and there should be more work for everyone. Even King Midas is having a tough time; the price of gold has dropped and no one is willing to let him touch their stuff, they want to hold on to what they have, they’re afraid of change. But we’ll figure out something.”

His donkey mouth can’t quite pronounce the r sounds, so even his kindness is hard to accept. Ma’am, I know this is hot. Wuh pity sha the wucession… She closes her eyes to stop herself from laughing, though any scrap of humor would be welcome.

“Come back next week and we’ll see what I can find. My secretary will give you your check – just don’t spend it all in one place!” He snorts a giggle. She stands, as elegant as she ever was before the mirror. He stands and holds out his hand, so delicate in contrast to his muzzle.

“Thank you for your time. I’m sure something will come up. I’m sure you’ll be able to help me somehow.” Her hand in his seems tiny and she is aware of her palm sweating.

She turns and leaves the agency, ready to begin the rounds with her resume, right after she goes to the restroom to check herself in the mirror. Who know what will look back at her? Maybe this time she’ll be lucky. Maybe this time she won’t be alone.

(c)2010 Laura S. Packer Creative Commons License
True Stories, Honest Lies by Laura S. Packer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
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