Frank nodded.

“Got Flores’ morning appointment,” he added, winking and slowly nudging Gary towards the desk.

The guy seemed a little too friendly.

Angela looked up from her monitor, first at Frank then up at him, smiling a nice bright smile. She had nice lips too. And a ring, he noticed. An expensive looking one.

“Gary Bellamy?” she asked in a lower pitched voice than he was expecting.

Gary nodded.

She stood up, reached over to grab on of several clipboards stacked, offering him a good look at her cleavage as revealed by her v-neck. She passed him the one she’d grabbed. It looked to have several lose sheets of paper clipped onto it.

Then she waved towards the cream-colored leather couch and loveseat across the reception area.

“Please, make yourself comfortable,” she told him. “And fill these out to the best of your ability.”

“What are they?” Gary asked, scanning over the sheets. They didn’t look like an employment questionnaire he’d ever seen. Some of the questions appeared to be damn weird.

“Just basic psychological assessment forms,” Angela told him. “Everyone takes them, company policy you know. It’s mostly for insurance purposes, so your experience here is the best it can be.”

Gary wasn’t sure what she was saying actually fit together.

Frank patted him on the shoulder.

“Don’t worry buddy,” the balding man said. “There a piece of cake. I thought they were pretty weird too. But I’m still working here and it’s been eight years now, right Angie?”

She rolled her eyes, seeming amused.

“If what you do can be considered work,” she told him. “But you have been showing up here for that long.”

Gary caught a whiff of something that smelled good coming from an open door to his right.  Was that hazelnut?

“I smell coffee,” Frank admitted, he nodded at Gary “See you later, man. Morning Angie.”

“You’re supposed to say that when you come in,” Angela complained amiably, then offered a wink to Gary. ”I think with him it’s closer to therapy than work.”

Gary chuckled. That was another thing his last two interviews hadn’t elicited.

“You get started,” Angela said, adding a wave of her hand then. “How do you take your coffee?”

“Cream and sugar,” he told her.

“I’ll see to it,” she told him, then headed in the direction the aroma of nutty roasted coffee was coming form.

Gary sat down and looked over the questionnaire in more detail. It was primarily a long list of questions, with this title at the top.:


Shit. 567 questions? Man…

If they expected him to answer all of these, then he’d better get the job. At least they were just yes/no questions. He hadn’t boned up on his SATs in about twenty years.  He flipped through the sheets.  Yep, there were a full 567.

Most of them seemed normal enough, like:

3. I wake up fresh & rested most mornings

75. I get angry sometimes

128. I like to cook

129. I like to let people know where I stand on things.

130. If I were in trouble with several friends who were as guilty as I was, I would rather take the whole blame than give them away.

And then there some really weird ones like:

27. Evil spirits possess me at times

28. My soul sometimes leaves my body

29. I see things or animals or people around me that others do not see

36. 1 Someone has been trying to influence my mind.

490. Ghost or spirits can influence people for good or bad.

After going over the whole ten pages, and seeing the same sort of weirdness. When he looked up, Angela was standing beside him, a cup of coffee in her hand.

“Are you sure these are the right questions?” he asked. “Isn’t this just a admin/research job?”

She smiled again and knelt down a bit to place the cup on the glass coffee table in front of him

“It’s just a standard psychological test, Mr. Bellamy, It’s mostly a government thing. We’ve all taken it” she replied. “I wouldn’t be concerned, though. Just answer honestly. It’s entirely for insurance purposes. Benefits here are quite generous, so Mr. Palantine prefers to get things right from the get go.”

“Government?” he asked her. Government and getting things right weren’t exactly synonymous in his mind either.

“We sometimes get government contracts,” she explained.

Then she stood back up, walking on her heels back to her desk, her rear end swaying in her knee-length skirt as she did.

Gary let out a breath, loosened his tie.

He glanced back down at the clipboard, tapped the end of his pen on the sheet.

73. I am an important person   yes/no

Go to Chapter Two

Go To Chapter Four

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