Charlie Rodriguez (almost) Gets a Job
Every writer has heard the romantic notion about having to cut things out (it’s like murdering your CHILDREN, they say). I, being the cynical asshole that I am, always rolled my eyes when I read writers saying that. I mean, if you’re cutting it out, it sucks…right? You wouldn’t be removing something that works, duuuuuh.
Then it happened to me. I’m in the final stages of my book, and I’ve realized that a scene I absolutely LOVE has no bearing whatsoever on the plot. It’s a job interview that the main character goes on, in-between investigating the strange goings on in her neighborhood. I think the scene is a lot of fun, but it ultimately got the ax. Fun fact: “ax”is the American spelling, while “axe” is the British way. Enjoy this deleted scene.
“Mrs. Rodriguez?” Charlie raised her hand and the woman looked surprised. “Oh, that’s you. Mr. Peterson is ready to see you.” Charlie rolled her eyes and went in. This wasn’t starting off very well. She moseyed her way into Mr. Peterson’s office and sat down in front of him.
“Mr. Peterson, I presume?” said Charlie smoothly and in a somewhat British accent, like maybe she was supposed to be Jane Bond or something. Not her best work.
“Please, Mr. Peterson is my father’s name,” he replied. “Call me Jamie.” Groan. She deserved that one, though. That was her penance for the I presume bullshit that she’d just said.
She smiled and said, “Hello Jamie, nice to meet you, I’m — “
“Charlie. Charlie…Rodriguez,” he said and looked up with a confused look on his face. He looked at her for a few seconds, and then a look of understanding came across his face. “You know, I love a good burrito but I don’t know if I love one enough to marry a — “ He cleared his throat. “But hey, who can resist a spicy Latina, am I right?” So, he was that kind of motherfucker. She sighed.
“Spicy Latina. Huh.” She thought about hiding her disgust, but didn’t.
He quickly shuffled his papers, cleared his throat again, and moved onto the next part of the interview. “So you’re here for the…the…the mailroom position?” He looked at Charlie and she could see the fear in his eyes. “You know what? You look more like office manager material. It pays considerably more and, between you and me, really doesn’t require much effort at all.” Office manager! It sounded so fancy, and he was speaking her language when he said “doesn’t require much effort.” She was finally hitting the big time in the white-collar world, not having to accomplish much of anything in exchange for large sums of money. She was about to achieve the American dream, and all it took was a little casual racism and the fear of a lawsuit.
“Hey, office manager sounds pretty dope,” she said, knowing this asshole was too afraid to turn her down now. “I could manage the shit out of this office.” He cleared his throat again and shuffled his papers some more.
“W-w-well, can you tell me a few strengths of yours?”
“Well, Jamie…let me think here. I’ve got a lot of ’em. Uh…” she looked to her side and saw that extremely overused Gretzky quote about missing shots on his wall. Seriously, fuck this guy. “Well I mean, first off, I can lift shit real heavy. You need a box of copy paper moved, I got it. You need an armoire taken up a few flights of stairs? You call ole Charlie, and I’ll carry the hell outta that nice piece of furniture. Et cetera.”
Jamie gulped and shuffled his papers again. Charlie was enjoying this.
“I also have the ability to both completely clog a toilet and also unclog it in a matter of minutes,” she continued. “Seriously, it just flows right out of me, I’m in and out super fast, which is good for both my productivity and your bottom line.” She nodded quickly, as if to say “how ‘bout them apples?” and he responded by shuffling the damn papers…again.
“Ok, man, what’s with the papers?” she asked. He didn’t seem to understand. “You keep shuffling them, what’s even on those?” He held them up and rotated through them. Two were blank and the third had a doodle of an alligator on it. Charlie couldn’t contain herself; a huge guffaw flew out of her mouth along with a little bit of spittle, which Jamie promptly wiped off of his face with his tie.
He said, meekly, “what is your biggest weakness?” Charlie thought about it for a second, then put her feet up on his desk.
“I think…I’m probably too much of a perfectionist, ya know?” Jamie nodded and invited her to take a tour of the office with him. It seemed like a nice office, the temperature was just cold enough for her liking. The bathrooms were located in a central location, and there were several water coolers strewn about. She was in the middle of imagining what it would be like to hang out at one of them, lording over her underlings in her fancy office manager pants and discussing the latest episode of whatever’s popular at the time when she saw…them.
Along the back wall, a bunch of young guys who looked like they played D&D. Across from them, a bunch of ridiculously looking guys in khakis and either polo shorts or checkered button-down shirts with the sleeves rolled halfway up. Nerds. Bros. She looked around the office some more; up until this point she’d been more focused on the important things like where to get drinks and snacks. The office had no cubicles. Everywhere she looked there were whiteboards with charts and lists written on them. She’d seen these kinds of places on TV, but she never thought she’d end up in one.
“This is a startup, isn’t it?”
“Of course it is, didn’t you read the job — “
“Of course I didn’t, no one reads those things,” she said. She already knew the answer, but asked the question anyway. “What…what is it you do here, exactly?” Jamie’s eyes lit up. He started spouting off a lot of bullshit about “solutions,” “real-time,” “conversion path” and something about “the internet of things.” He talked for at least ten minutes and still hadn’t said what the company actually did. She started backing away from him, slowly. Her face was frozen in a state of shock. He noticed and asked if she was ok.
“I think I’ve made a big mistake,” she said.
“If you’d like, I can send you an invite to the beta launch of our app.”
“You have an app?” she asked. He nodded enthusiastically. She ran for the door, yelling “fuck this job, fuck your app.” She pointed directly at the bros and said, “fuck all of you, especially. Hire some women.” Her last act before reaching the door was to knock over one of the water coolers.
“Manage that, motherfuckers!” she said. She threw the door open, flipped Jamie off, and left.