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I’ve got an open position. I’ve got numerous applicants.

I haven’t disregarded any of them, because what if one of them is that diamond in the rough? What if the one I cut due to lack of experience, or a poorly put-together resumé is the one I should have run with in the first place?

The applicants are as diverse as they come. Not one can be pigeon-holed. (What does that even mean?) Not one can be ignored. There are some that seem perfect for the job, and I can’t wait to get to know them fast enough. Others have a lot of potential and I would love to see them grow.

So they are all invited to the Interview. I’m pretty sure their palms are sweaty.

Me: Thanks for coming in, Potential Best-Selling Novel Idea #1.

PBSNI#1: Thanks for having me.

Me: First things first, why should I get to know you better?

#1: Well, I’m smart. I’m funny. I’ll make you think. I can inspire, astound, and encourage. I have a very tight resumé. Everything I’ve listed under “Experience” makes sense. I’m complete, from start to finish. There are no holes in my job history, no unexplained three-year period between occupations that make you wonder if I lived in my parents’ basement wearing only my underwear and binging on Bugles.

Me: I love Bugles.

#1: Oh! So do I! They’re not too salty like potato chips, but just perfec–

Me: I don’t like suck-ups.

#1: Then you’ll love me, Sir.

Me: I’m a woman.

#1: I know. I mean, I can tell, you just, I mean, well, I just got nervous, slip of the tongue, that’s all.

Me: You’re sweating. That’s gross. Just relax, and let’s get back on point.

#1: Sorry, Sir.

Me: What makes you think you’re the right fit for this position?

#1: Applicants with my attributes are quite popular these days. I know how you think. The people in your position that you admire so much work with people like me everyday. Admit it, you find yourself thinking about me even when you’re with the others, don’t you?

Me: That’s what she said.

#1: [Silence] It doesn’t feel appropriate to laugh, Sir.

Me: You’re right. Let’s keep it professional. Okay, so I find myself reviewing your resumé in between other interviews. I can’t help thinking that given the chance to work with you, we could really make a great team. But there are a lot of other promising applicants out there. Why should I focus my time and energy on you?

#1: I’m very easy to work with.

Me: That’s true. But will we be able to create something transcendent? I’m looking for an Opus, #1, not a Temp.

#1: Fair enough. I can promise that I will work as hard as you do. And working with me will give you such a great sense of accomplishment. Not just as my boss, but as THE boss. You know what I mean?

Me: I think I do…

#1: Go with your heart, Sir.

Me: Sage advice. Will you make me a million dollars and land me on the New York Times Best-Selling List twelve weeks running?

#1: I don’t think that was in the job description.

Me: You’re right. Haha! April Fool’s! But seriously, see these heels? I call them my “professional” heels as opposed to my “mommy” heels which are really just fuzzy slippers. Well, I’ve had these heels since 2001. I could use a new pair…

#1: They’re very nice.

Me: Now here’s the Big Question: why would anyone else want to read you?

#1: If you genuinely enjoy working with me, then does it matter if no one else wants to read me?

Me: GOOOAAAAAALLLLLLL! Seriously, well done, #1, I’m very impressed with that answer.

#1: I’m blushing. Now, if you don’t mind, I’ve got a few questions about the position you’re offering.

Me: Ask away.

#1: If you offer me this job and I accept, what kind of hours are we looking at?

Me: Well, I’ve only got about two hours a day to offer you. Are you okay with being a part-time worker?

#1: For now, I suppose. What will those two hours entail?

Me: I usually spend my allotted time on Facebook, or blogging, or reading all the other blogs that are wittier than me, or on Twitter.

#1: That sounds absolutely nothing like I anticipated. Do I still get paid?

Me: No. You don’t get paid until you make me some money. I can promise you at least thousand words a day, though.

#1: Done. I’ll start on Monday.

Me: Wait. Did I just hire you?

If I lined up all my plot ideas and fired questions at them like a high-profile job interview, which ones would hold their own? And which ones will go home in an ill-fitted suit they borrowed from their roommate and an empty briefcase because they just wanted to look the part and then spend money they don’t have on a bottle of Crown Royal to ease the pain of rejection?

He pressed his pudgy nose against the glass, his unfathomably blue eyes wide with wonder. I tried to ignore the handprints he was leaving behind. Sometime today, an old man, or a grumpy teenager would mop that window with a tired rag, and the traces of him would be erased.

For him, it was magic.

The ones he loved the most, the chocolate ones covered in colorful bright and perky sprinkles, like a birthday party in seven bites, starting out a colorless lump of dough. And before his very eyes, behind the glass where the magic happened, they rolled along, ushered toward perfection, dumped, flipped, sweetened, and rescued, spirited away into boxes folded by deft, practiced hands, presented to the next in line after a swipe of the card.

A line that moved slowly.

The aroma beckoned, a siren’s call to passers-by, as the tiny shop filled with hungry, wanting stomachs.

He watched batch after batch as we made our way forward, inch after inch, and after forever but before satisfaction, we reached the angel behind the counter, a genuine smile on her face, pleased to offer us a slice of heaven.

“What can I getcha?” she said, her lilting voice thick with a southern accent as long as a summer’s day, as cool as sweet iced tea her voice lilting toward the light.

The tears I held captive cried mutiny, revolting, beating their wet fists against my vision, making their presence known. What can I getcha? A simple question with a hundred answers.

A sense of peace. A different diagnosis. A negative result. A positive outlook. A promise that I will live to watch my son outgrow the magic of a doughnut shop. A cure.

He looked hopeful. “Mama? The sprinkly one?” The forbidden one, because each sprinkle packed a day’s worth of sugar. Forbidden, because I found them embedded in the carpet weeks later.

“The sprinkly one,” I tell the lady. The healthy one, I want to add. The one who worries about the bank statement, not the doctor’s statement. The one who worries about the cost of college, not the cost of funerals. The one whose lumps can be transformed into perfection, not into destruction.

But that is not on the menu.

[ Note : This is a piece of fiction written for The Red Dress Club writing exercise, Red Writing Hood. This week’s prompt: Write a piece, fiction or non-fiction, inspired by the delicious shot. Word limit is 600. Constructive criticism welcome; in fact, I beg for it. ]

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© Jessica Buttram and This Buttram Writes, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jessica Buttram and This Buttram Writes with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Don't make me cut you.