Plump Susan Brid is desperate for a job before her friend and co-apartment mate gets the idea she’s a welfare case that needs her constant attention. Susan would rather have a handsome, sultry husband and a life of her own, but life leads her to apply for a window washer job at one of the largest corporations in town. The gruff boss isn’t impressed by her ample features, but one sensual young man leaves her breathless in the elevator. Fate interferes with her job plans and sweeps her into his arms for a delightful one-on-one interview.
I never expected to meet the man of my dreams seventy floors above the ground, but that’s how fate planned it. I wished she’d planned it a little closer to the ground, but with how everything ended I shouldn’t complain.
My story starts on the ground in a small internet cafe.
“You see anything?” I asked the woman seated at the opposite side of the small, round table. She had her eyes glued to a laptop screen in front of her.
She shook her head. “Nope, you?”
I sighed, leaned back and closed the lid to my own laptop. “Not a thing.”
She frowned at me over the top of her computer. “You shouldn’t give up. We’ve only been looking for an hour.”
“That’s an hour of my life I want back,” I quipped.
This conversation is probably a little confusing to you. Maybe I’d better start with my name. It was Susan Brid. My occupation was Unemployed, hence the laptops.
The person opposite me was my best friend, Grace Sanders. She was trying to help me find another job and figured that two people tackling the online job boards was twice as effective. This was the third day we’d tried searching, and my occupation was still Unemployed.
“Come on, you can’t give up,” she insisted.
I leaned over the table and frowned at her. “Grace, I’ve been looking for a job for four months. I’ve put in hundreds of applications, had only a dozen interviews, and gone through countless hours waiting for a callback. That hasn’t happened. I just don’t think I’m going to find a job here.”
She slammed her fists on the table. “But you can’t move!” The other patrons of the cafe jumped. Grace sheepishly smiled at them and sunk in her chair. “Sorry.”
I smiled at her. “It’s been fun staying at your apartment, but I just can’t keep mooching off you. I need to go back home and start looking there.”
“But that’s way up state,” she argued. “And besides, what are you going to do up in farm country? Buck pigs and butcher bails?”
I snorted. “Yeah, Grace, because those damn pigs need a good bucking.”
She straightened in her chair and goofily grinned at me. “Okay, so I don’t know the farm lingo, but you’re not leaving me alone in the wilderness that is the big city.”
“Grace, you grew up here,” I reminded her. “You could probably fend off a dozen hobos and a couple of rapists with a spork.”
Grace shrugged. “Maybe, but I’d like to do it with a friend by my side.”
I leaned back in my chair and sighed. “Then your friend is going to have to find a job.”
Grace’s lips turned down and her eyes flickered down to the screen. They widened and her smile returned. “Here’s just the thing!”
I sat up and raised an eyebrow. “What is it?”
“It’s an exciting job at one of the larger companies in town,” she told me. “You get to see a lot of people, get to know the building really well, and you’re sure to reach the top within a few days.”
“That doesn’t tell me anything,” I pointed out.
“Well, you get some great medical, and you never have to work nights,” she added.
I frowned. “Grace, what’s the job?”
She shrank beneath my glare. “Window washer?” she squeaked.
My face fell. “Seriously?”
“Seriously,” she confirmed.
She sat up. “Come on! It’s a job, it pays well, and you get to stay here!”
“Yeah, a permanent resident in one of the local cemeteries,” I quipped.
“You can’t be that bad,” she argued. “You’re not afraid of heights and you’re in pretty good shape. For the shape you’re in, that is.”
“Thanks. . .” I grumbled.
Grace leaned across the table and lay her hand atop mine. She met my gaze and her lower lip quivered. I leaned away, but she grasped my hand.
“Do it for me?” she whimpered.
“No. Don’t do this to me, Grace,” I warned her.
Her lower lip trembled like a bobblehead in an earthquake. “Pretty, pretty please?” she persisted.
“Grace, I said I’m not getting myself killed,” I insisted.
“You only have to get yourself injured a little. Maybe a sprained wrist, or a broken bone, or maybe some serious fractures that leave you lame for the rest of your life,” she suggested. “Then you can live off disability.”
“I’m not making myself lame just so you can have a roommate!” I argued.
“Come on! At least send in a resume!” she pleaded.
I wormed my way out of her grasp and stood. “No, and isn’t it time for you to get back to work?”
Grace’s eyes widened and she checked her watch. Her eyes got even bigger. “Oh shit!” she yelped, and jumped to her feet. She slammed her laptop closed and stuffed it into her bag. “I am so dead!”
“I’ll have the wake ready for you at the apartment,” I promised her.
“Don’t forget to have chocolate cake. I love chocolate cake,” she added.
I rolled my eyes and waved goodbye as my frenzied friend rushed out of the cafe. She disappeared down the street, and I dropped back into my chair. I glanced over the other customers and found that they stared back. I shrugged.
“She’s on a constant sugar fix,” I told them.
A few smiled, but most went back to their mochas and computers. My face fell and I ran a hand through my long brown hair.
“What are you going to do, Susie?” I murmured.
The only thing I could do was get back to work looking for a job. My savings would expire in a few weeks, and I refused to live off the kindness of my friends, even if they were willing to support me for the rest of my days.
In my searching I came upon the window washer job Grace mentioned. Her description of the benefits was accurate, even if she did leave out the minor details of the constant threat of injury and certain doom. The doom part was a deal-breaker for me. I just couldn’t force my unemployed self to click the ‘Submit’ button on the job application website.
As it turns out, I didn’t have to.
I spent the rest of the day looking for work and finding nothing I was qualified for. At five I returned to the apartment I shared with Grace and got dinner ready. A hearty meal of ramen with a side of pop. Grace returned from her job at the artist studio and plopped herself in one of the living room chairs. I sat cross-legged on the couch close by. She sagged into the sagging, third-hand chair and groaned.
“That Freddy guy try to get you to model nude again?” I guessed.
“Twice,” she replied.
“You should really complain to HR about him,” I suggested.
“He is the HR, remember?” she pointed out.
“How’d he get the job again?” I asked her as I popped open my laptop. A notice in the lower right-hand system tray told me I had an email.
“It was either him or the crabby bitch who teaches Post-Post-Modern art,” she explained.
I surfed to my browser and opened my mail. “Post-Post-Modern art? Isn’t that where they make a blank canvas and call it art?” I teased.
“No, that’s Minimialism. Post-Post-Modern art is where they draw something nobody cares about and try to get people to care about it,” she told me.
“Uh-huh,” I absently replied as I read the email header. ‘RE: Job Application.’ I clicked on the email and looked over the contents. My mouth dropped open. “I have an interview. . .” I whispered.
Grace’s eyes widened. “You did?” She scrambled over to the couch to get a look at the screen.
I waited until she was close before I rapped her upside the head.
“Ouch!” she yelped. She leaned away from me and rubbed the back of her head. “What was that for?”
“For putting my name in that stupid window washer job!” I snapped.
She blinked at me. “How’d you know I did that?”
I turned the laptop screen towards her so she could read the email. “Because that’s the job I have an interview for.”
Grace’s face lit up with a smile. “That’s great! That means you can get a job and stay and we can-” I held up a hand.
“I didn’t say I was going to go to the interview,” I pointed out.
Her face fell. “But you can’t say no! This might be your only chance!”
“At averting death? Definitely,” I quipped.
Grace dropped to her knees and clasped her hands together. “Please? Pretty please?”
I rolled my eyes. “Fine, but no more stealing my resume and sending it to anybody, got it?”
She smiled and nodded her head. “Yep! Sure thing! Won’t do it again!”
“Good. Now crawl across the rest of the house. The dust bunnies are trying to take over the place,” I told her.
“Sure thing! Anything for my favorite roomie!” she agreed. She turned and shuffled away on her knees.
“I’m your only roomie,” I reminded her.
“And that makes you that much more special!” she shouted from the bedrooms.
I smiled and shook my head. My attention returned to the email. It was written by a Mr. Bruin, head maintenance man to the building. His email was curt and blunt, and I imagined he would be the same. Tomorrow’s interview would prove me right or wrong.