We Play The Game – 02 – An Assistant, of Sorts

Unfortunately the job board, with its scrap picking, hoard sorting, memoir ghostwriting, and dog washing jobs and fast food ‘opportunities’ was utterly devoid of anything attractive. Tina took in a breath and let it out slowly.

“Utterly depressing isn’t it”, a voice said on her right, behind her and, oddly, from maybe chest high, especially given male and baritone timber and gravelly tone of it.

Tina turned to glance in that direction, and yes, the voice was a glance down, a good head and shoulders at least. It’s source was a man of maybe four and a half feet all. An actual dwarf. The tip of his head maybe reached her elbow. He was well dressed though, in a dark suit, and he certainly rocked that goatee of his.

“Excuse me?” she replied, not being able to think of anything else to say that wouldn’t be misconstrued as snarky.

If you can’t say anything nice… Auntie Jean always pointed out.

The dwarf, male, and certainly an adult waved a chubby hand at the job board before them.

“It is an utterly pathetic collection of dead ends don’t you think? Who would want to do those things anyways… dog washing, interning at a food bank…”

Well, the second one at least helped people-people, but Tina got the point.

“Somebody desperate,” Tina posited, a little bemused at the thought, at least enough to add a joke. “Or tasty.”

The short man grinned back at her. His pudgy hand tapped his chin. The other remained in his suit jacket pocket.

“Oh, likely less interesting than that,” he offered. “Someone with a small mind, small ambitions, living in a small, small world.”

Tina was about to make a remark about that, but heroically held her tongue for as long as it took to work her way to something more appropriate to add to the conversation.

“You looking for work as well?” she asked even though it didn’t look at all like he was.

“Heaven’s no,” he told her, then raised his eyebrows right up to where his dark hair hung over his brow. “I am looking to hire.”

“Really?” she asked with sudden enthusiasm that was probably completely unwarranted. “For what kind of work, exactly?”

“As an admin assistant, of sorts,” he told her.

“That’s not very specific,” she suggested, her enthusiasm wavering, her mind imagining requests to grab things from tall cabinets and shelves to opening jars of pickles for nickels an hour.

The dwarf eyed her speculatively

“The job involves some research, some travel, some ability to handle oneself in… realms of diplomacy, and perhaps flexibility and… agility.”

This sounded… maybe good?

“Would your prospective employee have to move?” she asked, enthusiasm mixed now, although she was enjoying the wordplay. Most people she knew didn’t talk like this. Tina didn’t really detect an accent, though. “Would they need a car?”

She hadn’t driven in years. And her first and last car expired on the 401 half way to her last decent job. An omen, really.

“No and no,” her prospective new employer stated. “All of that would be taken care of by the business. And any traveling would be short jaunts, day trips you could imagine.”

“You do know how strange that sounds,” she told him. “Approaching desperate people and offering them what sounds like an amazing job.”

“This is an employment office,” he noted. “Is that not what this place is for?

“Yeah, it should be” she agreed, then glanced around at the depressing scenery. “I don’t think that’s what they have in mind here.”

“And yet you’re interested,” he replied. “Am I right?”

Tina could feel a blush coming on. She couldn’t help but nod.

“Then shall we conduct an interview?” the dwarf asked. “There are places to eat nearby, are there not? Perhaps a lunch interview.”

“There’s a food court in the mall,” Tina agreed, then added hopefully, “are you paying?”

“Of course,” he said,” and pulled a small shiny object out of his pocket and studied it. It looked like some sort of compass, brass and glass, with a little red pointer spinning around. As she watched, the pointer stopped, but he snapped it up to quickly to see what direction it was actually pointing in.

“This way,” he told her, pointing out the Employment Insurance office’s main doors.

What an odd way of looking for directions, Tina decided.

“I know how to get to the food court,” she told him. “And that’s the only way out of here anyways.”

“Yes,” he replied. “But finding the best food is another journey entirely.”

“What is that?” she wanted to know, as he pocketed the thing.

“Call it a GPS for another century,” he offered as they pushed through the glass doors and headed for the escalator that would take them where they were going.

“It looked like a compass,” Tina replied.

“I’m a little old school,” he admitted looking up over his shoulders up at her. “Humor me.”

Tina did just that.

Go to Chapter 1

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