1. Do you believe the news story?

2. The seem to always travel in pairs

3. She took a step back to admire her work.


I’m generally a pretty agreeable person, but I had a hard time liking some of the people at Carrick Industries. From the very first day, when I showed up for my interview with Kendra Davidson, I felt as if I’d somehow landed in a film noir production not knowing if I was going to be the protagonist or merely one of the supporting cast. The receptionist sat at a huge mahogany desk. The color of her skin matched the polished wood so perfectly that she might have been an appendage. The desk was immaculate and so was she: A proper business suit, at least as much as I could see of it over the front counter, small pearl earrings hovering below a perfectly-trimmed mass of brown hair, and hooded eyes that, even at first glance, seemed to gaze at me with dislike.

“Ms. Davidson’s office is two door down, on the right. Knock first.”

I wondered what I’d done to affront her in the ninety seconds I’d been in the building.

I found the door, closed, with an attached nameplate: Kendra Davidson, Director Human Resources. I knocked as instructed and the door opened almost instantly.

“I’ve been looking forward to meeting you,” the woman said. “From your resume, you’re just what we need.” She pumped my hand with enthusiasm and waved me to a comfortable love seat at one end of her office.

“I hate sitting at desks,” she said, “so I figure others might feel the same way.”

The office was spacious and held not only the requisite desk and file cabinets, but also the “casting couch” as she laughingly called it, and a bank of bookcases filled with volumes that showed every evidence of actually being read occasionally. I thought I could like this woman.

“I’m really hoping this job works out for both of us,” I told her. “I think I have the qualifications and I promise that I’d do a good job for you.” I put on the most sincere look I could dredge up and hoped I was sticking in the catchwords at all the right places.

I saw her eyes change slightly, a tiny bit of disillusionment settling in them.

“I’d hoped for something a bit more original from you. That speech was straight from ‘How to Land That Perfect Job.’ I get that from everyone. Already today I’ve had two speech-quoting blondes ten minutes apart. They seem to travel in pairs. I hope to God you aren’t another one.” She paused. “Okay, what’s the last book you read?”

I wasn’t ready for that one.