We Play The Game – 04 – Add Ten Dollars an Hour

“It’s kind of the sport I was made for, I think,” she told him. “I mean, what sport out there, if you’re a girl, is it the object to throw things at people and try to hit them? Maybe Yukigassen, but that’s not the same. Who’s afraid of getting hit with a snowball? But a blocker in the head-”

Tina stopped there, thinking maybe she’d revealed a bit too much about herself that might not fit in an office environment.

But Devon was just look up at her, not judging it seemed, just looking.

“The sport you were made for,” he repeated in a voice that almost sounded pleased.

It was not the reaction Tina usually got.

“Does that sound weird to you?” she asked.

Devon shook his head.

“I’m familiar with destiny,” he told her in a way which did sound a little weird to her. “And are you playing now? Still?”

Tina shook her head.

“No, the league I was in folded in the spring.”

“Why?” he wondered.

Tina let out a breath, reached for her large seven up, then withdrew her hand.

“When we lost our space due to Board of Ed cutbacks.” There was a wistfulness to her voice Tina couldn’t suppress. She missed it. Murderball kept her on her toes. And God she loved to win. “Every time the Tories get into power its cut, cut, cut.”

“Would you like to play again?” he asked. “If the opportunity presented itself?”

“Sure, in a heartbeat,” she told him. “Why not? Got a spare couple of gyms you aren’t using? Recruiting for a professional murderball league? Is that why you tracked me down?”

Devon laughed. It wasn’t at all high pitched. It was a good laugh. She liked it.

“Not exactly,” he told her. “No gyms and no league I’m afraid.”

Tina pulled the Diet 7UP over and took a sip from the straw. Glanced back at the dwarf, wondering what he’d look like without the beard. Young? Maybe not. He had some line on his face, forehead, between his eyebrows. She pegged him to be anywhere from his late thirties to late forties.

“Anything more you want to know about me?” she asked, pushing the drink away from her again.

“Not for now,” Devon told her. “Although it would be good to know when you are available to start.”

She was taken aback for a moment. That was fast.

“You want to hire me, then?” she asked, then kicked herself internally for sounding so surprised.

“Well…” he offered in a tentative tone. “I admit you aren’t my first interview, but you are the best I’ve had and that’s good enough. It’s not like I can put off hiring indefinitely. Can you start Monday?”

Monday? It was Thursday. Monday. Wow. Awesome!

“Yeah, I guess so,” she said tamping down her enthusiasm. This was too good to be true right? “ You still haven’t told me much about the work I’ll be doing, or how much I’ll be paid?”

She realized that she hadn’t asked this at all for some reason. Maybe she just liked the guy and he was offering a free lunch. Had she even expected the job offer was for real?

He seemed to consider her questions for a moment.

“Well, how much were you paid for your best job,” he said first.

“Seriously,” she asked, staring.

“Certainly, he replied.

Tina told him.

“Add ten dollars an hour, and an opportunity for added commissions that I earn from my clients as well,” he told her. She felt like a balloon had inflated in her chest. This was totally too good to be true. There had to be a catch.

“What about the work?” she asked, tensing for the hard letdown. “What exactly are you going to want me to do for that?”

“As I said, administration and research. Starting with office organization. It does involve a lot of trade secrets,” he confessed. “So when you come in on Monday, well go over that and have you sign an NDA. Are you OK with that? I do have all the business paperwork if you want to check that my company is legit. Is Monday fine, then?”

“Absolutely. Where’s your office?” she asked.

“Scarborough,” he told her, then winced at her non-verbal reaction. No, it wasn’t a positive one. She prayed it wasn’t Agincourt or further out. “My apologies, but the cost of office space in this city is staggering. It is near a subway station, if that helps.”

It would, she supposed.

Tina shrugged, resigning herself. The pay would be worth it.

“Scarborough isn’t so bad,” she replied. It’s not like it would be Woodbridge again, or, she cringed a bit, Brampton.

“Here is my card.” Devon reached inside his suit jacket and pulled out the small grey rectangle and passed it over to her.

It felt heavier, more solid than it she thought a business card should. Less flexible than the usual cardboard ones she was accustomed to. The address was clear on it. Along with his Seeker of Antiquities title in flowery gold script. There were some symbols embossed on the background, nothing she recognized. Maybe Viking runes, she thought to herself.

But…antiquities. Kind of classy. Unless of course he dealt in stolen paintings and jewelry. Maybe not so classy. She’d find out soon enough. It’s not like she was going to find work before then anyway.

“Nine AM, Monday,” he added. “Is that good for you?”

Tina looked up, into his grey-eyed gaze. Took in a breath and nodded.

“Yes,” she replied, the whole interview now had taken a dreamlike quality somehow.

“Then I will see you then,” Devon stood, offered a quick bow then headed off north into the long mall corridor that stretched out beyond him. She glanced back down at the card he’d given her. Devon Olafson. Then she noticed the second line below Seeker of Antiquities – and Recoverer of Heirlooms. This was going to be different, Tina decided.

And maybe this time different was good.

Go to Chapter 3

Go to Chapter 5