The Recruiter (Speakeasy #160)

The Crowd ("in" or "out"?)
The Crowd (“in” or “out”?)

“Tell me if you’re game.”

Francine looked into the crowd, gauging the reaction. The sea of bobbleheads wearing the corporate uniform of dark suits and red power accents (ties, hankies peeking out of suit pockets, high heels, scarves…) Hooked. She smiled to herself, but her face held the impassioned veneer of a fire-and-brimstone preacher.

“To elevate, you must excavate!”

The head nods slowed.

“You must dig deep. Shed your preconceptions and embrace the MicroManage, Inc. way.” She paused, right hand raised in a clenched fist. “You’ll make more money than you ever imagined as your creative ideas are molded and channeled through the corporate hierarchy.” Francine scanned for skeptics. “Power and success cultivated from countless hours of effort aren’t for everyone. If you’re not up for the challenge, no one will judge you for leaving.”

Francine scowled as seven people, heads bowed, headed for exits. Security guards led them out of the room.

“Now that the weak-minded have forfeited their opportunity, I’ll ask again: are you game?”

“Yes,” a smattering of murmurs answered.

She shook her head. “Come on people, this is your chance to become part of the fastest growing corporation in North America- the world!” She counted to three to time her pause for maximum effect, just as she’d been trained. “Are you ready to seize the biggest opportunity of your lives?” She thrust fistfuls of hundred dollar bills toward the prospective corporate drones.

“Yes!” The recruits squealed, tripping over each other to grab the money.

For entertainment value only, she tossed more bills into the melee. The frenzy reminded her of the fish in her aquarium at feeding time. “Marcus will be here shortly to lead you to your final destination.”


“Marvelous presentation, Francine!” Andrew Norman said, clapping as he made his way around the over-sized mahogany desk. “Your brainwashing skills get better and better.”

She held a hand up. “I prefer motivational recruiting. I simply tap into their natural desires.”

“Whatever you call it, it’s brilliant.”

Francine smiled. “Thank you, Andrew. I appreciate your admiration.”

“You manage to find the best recruits.”

“Only seven this time.” She shook her head. “They are dwindling.”

“We pay you handsomely and are confident you’ll continue to provide superior staffing.” Andrew poured a scotch at the minibar beside the desk. “Would you like a drink?”

“No, thank you.” She cleared her throat. “I fear the quarry will run dry soon. Creative thinkers motivated by curiosity are being overrun by the greed-driven. You know, as it becomes more difficult to find candidates, I’ll be forced to increase my fees.”

Andrew chuckled. “As the Lord told Gideon, ‘there are still too many men. Take them down to the water, and I will thin them out for you there’.”

“I don’t understand.”

He set his glass on a sandstone coaster with a clank. “Come with me.” He led her by the elbow outside his office and down a long corridor.

“Where are we going?”

“It’s time you see more of our operation, so you better understand our needs.”

They reached mirrored glass doors and Andrew swiped his badge. He held the door open. “Ladies first.”

After Francine stepped inside, he let the door close behind her. It locked with an echoed click. She peered at the faces around her and realized she stood among the rejected recruits. She tugged at the door, but it didn’t give. “Come on, Andrew. This isn’t funny!”

Water seeped through her peep toe shoe. She looked down, shocked to see nearly an inch of water on the floor. Then, she noticed streams of water feeding in from all four mirrored walls. She took her shoe off and hit the glass several times with the spiked heel. Not even a chip.

By the time the water reached her ankles, she recognized the significance of Andrew’s biblical quote. In waist-high water, she grew bitter at the unfair judgment against her; she didn’t belong with the greedy, mindless drones.

Finally, Francine looked beyond her despair and noticed a skinny door on the other side of the room. She sloshed her way toward it, weaving around the crowd tapping their smart phone screens held above rising water. She twisted the knob on the door and her heart rate surged when the knob turned. Unlocked! She tugged, but the door wouldn’t budge; the water level provided too much resistance.

A pit in her stomach churned. The room had been a test, and she’d thinned herself out.


This is my response to the Speakeasy prompt, which is write a piece in 750 words or less (mine is 743) (1) using “Tell me if you’re game.” as the first sentence, AND (2) make some kind of reference to a photo prompt of construction machinery (possibly a digger?)  I admit, I’m not up on the terminology of construction equipment, so if I’m totally off, feel free to laugh.  I’m used to it.

The challenge is open to anyone, so if your curious, inspired, or both- click the badge below to check out the guidelines for yourself!


Striking Balance

Catching some early morning sun in my yard.
Catching some early morning sun in my yard.

My life is a lot like a see saw.  It seems I’m either suspended, feet dangling in the air or I’m planted flat on the ground with the wind knocked out of me.

I’m not sure, but I think right now I’m on the ground.  It’s not all that painful, though… the long days of working with insurance forms has dulled my senses 🙂

Over the last several weeks, we’ve also been thinning out some of the overgrown vegetation in our yard.  Whenever I went outside, I saw with a critical, what-needs-to-be-done eye.  Today, I stepped away from the computer so I could take in something besides a white screen and black words.  Rather than focusing on the areas we haven’t gotten around to cleaning up, my eyes settled on the part of the yard that looks good.

I felt peace.  I felt satisfaction- the payoff of hours of hard work. (The photo above is before our trimming.  I didn’t bring a camera with me today.)  It’s interesting how I was comfortable amid the incomplete in my yard, but the amount of work left beyond looming deadlines at my day job evokes opposite emotions.

Tomorrow I’ll see if I can find similar balance with the day job by taking a moment to acknowledge how much I’ve done rather than pouring all of my attention into what I have left to do.  The balance may be short-lived, but I’d welcome even the briefest break!



“To be sensitive to those who don’t celebrate Christmas, we won’t post photos of trees or Santa Claus on our welcome board.

Gift exchange presents will be collected under the lobby Christmas tree.”



TrifectaPicture11-1This is my response to Trifecta’s weekly challenge:  Charles Dickens, in A Christmas Carol, wrote “There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humour.” We are giving you exactly 33 words to make us laugh out loud and spread some festive cheer.

The challenge is open to everyone, so if you have a laugh to share, add your link to Trifecta’s site!

Now, I don’t know if my response is exactly “laugh out loud” funny, but I happen to find irony quite humorous.  Last year, my office made a big deal of being sensitive to those who don’t celebrate Christmas.  The person who selects seasonal photos to display on the TV screen behind the reception desk was asked to not include photos of Santa or Christmas trees in the selection, however there were two decorated trees in the office!  (And they said a prayer before the meal at our holiday party.)  Gotta love failed attempts at political (or religious) correctness 🙂

Had they actually sent out a memo, it would be framed and hung in my cubicle.

Have a beautiful week.  Laugh much and don’t let the stress of the season find you!

Decoration or Disaster?

Email from boss:  Thank you for a fun Birthday.  I know it will be just as fun plotting my revenge celebrating each of your next birthdays as well.  It was interesting seeing how my office was so thoroughly trashed thoughtfully decorated.  The glittery confetti provided lots of aggravation entertainment and I will get to continue cursing enjoying it as the darn pieces delightfully surprise me as I continue to find them within the papers on my desk.  I must say though, the gift card was very generous and the only thing that will save each of you totally unnecessary.

There may or may not have been a confetti gun involved…

Response 1:  You are very welcome.  It just warms my heart to see the contempt appreciation we so richly deserve.  I can’t wait for next year!

Response 2:  I’m so glad you loathe appreciate our evil thoughtful celebration of your birthday (at 140, you’re still quite witty :).)  We dread look forward to your revenge celebration of our birthdays as well.  We know you value our deviousness ingenuity and our ability to exceed the bar – wherever you set it.

Thanks again for being such an easy target cooperative boss.

Would you believe me if I told you I had nothing to do with this…it was all my coworkers’ fault?


I’m all about sitting back and observing the world around me.  Normally, I just shake my head and think, “huh, that’s strange.”  This week, however, I decided to have some fun with it and write down my observations with my unscientific evidence to back them up.

Observation #1:  Children lack short-term memory, but their long-term memory develops at an early age.

Proof:  My older son can’t remember that I asked him to clean the pets’ water dishes ten minutes ago, but he can tell you the exact “bad” words I said when I dropped a glass casserole dish four years ago.


Observation #2:  The dinner table is a post-it note for a young boy’s brain that nature’s call was put on hold.  (Totally unplanned that this was my second observation 🙂  I have two boys,  please forgive me.)

Proof:  My younger son doesn’t remember he has “business” to take care of until we sit down to eat dinner.  It doesn’t matter if we eat at 4:00 or 7:00.


Observation #3:  I have discovered a no-fail test to see if the kids are listening to our conversation.

Proof:   Say the words “pizza” or “ice cream”.  If there is no response, they aren’t listening.


Observation #4:  People in an office setting will eat anything, and have developed antibodies which prevent illness.

Proof:  Bagels and cream cheese sitting out for four hours unrefrigerated, half-eaten leftovers from weekend dinner parties, even expired snacks – I’ve seen it all eaten and so far, no one has needed hospitalization.  Simply amazing.


Observation #5:  I feel like a robot after repeatedly typing those letters to prove I’m not a robot when commenting on blogs.  Nothing I have to say is really that important, but I jump through the Captcha hoops for the aggravation entertainment of it all.

Proof:  Try it.  Choose a few blogs with Captcha enabled and see if you can type the deformed letters without second-guessing whether you see “druit” or “trult”.


Observation #6:  Spouses (both men and women) feign ignorance.

Proof:  Hubby claims he doesn’t notice something spilled on the floor.  I claim I didn’t see the dishwasher needed unloaded.  We both lie.


Observation #7:  Pigeons prefer the color blue.

Proof:  I avoid parking by trees, yet this is what those lovely creatures do while I work all day.  (Sorry, Patti, I guess I don’t share your love of the avian species, specifically pigeons :))

Yeah, look between the mud spots for pigeons’ handiwork. Ha! I can totally ignore the roof of my car.
Okay, it’s harder to ignore the trunk. Geez, did they eat the 3-day old salsa in the breakroom or what?
Huh. My car door, in plain sight. Lovely. But I’m a glass-half-full kinda gal: at least they didn’t get my door handle this time.

So, have you noticed any of these things?  What are some of your own observed oddities of daily life?  Go ahead, feel free to add to the list.  It’s not Friday yet, and I could use all the laughs I can get.