By Rod Hamon
“Well that concludes the interview, Brad, unless you have any questions for us.”
Brad, who was anxious to find out if he’d got the job, just shrugged his shoulders and mumbled, “Not really.”
“In that case please take a seat in the outer office; we’ll discuss your application and have the result of the interview in half-an-hour.” He looked at his watch and added, “That will be at twelve, midday.”
As the door of the interview room closed Brad heard laughter from within.
He entered the bleak outer office and sat down, alone. It was a large featureless room without windows. He glanced up at the large clock on the wall opposite where he was sitting. “Half an hour – why so long?” He thought.
Brad, who was in his late teens, would much rather have been on the beach with his buddies. Unfortunately life for him had reached an all time low. He had lost his last job just weeks after taking out a loan on a motor cycle; he needed this job badly.
He gazed restlessly around the stark room, looked at his watch and then up at the clock. “Why is it that time always goes so slowly when you’re waiting for something?”
He thought about the job interview. “The way I answered a few of the questions wasn’t that smart was it? But I couldn’t see the point of some of the questions either. ’Why do you want this job?’ they’d asked. What a stupid question. Why does anyone want a job? For the money of course!”
Brad looked up at the clock again. Eleven forty! “Is that all?” He checked his watch. “This is such a waste of time, I wonder what they’re saying about me in there?”
He looked around the stark room and thought.”None of the interviewers liked me much – that was obvious – so full of themselves. Who do they think they are anyway, deciding my future for me?”
He glanced up at the clock again. “Damn it, what’s going on – the time’s going so slowly – this is crazy?” The second hand as it traversed the dial certainly appeared to be getting slower and slower.
As he studied the jerky movement of the second hand, he noticed how long it paused before moving forward again. “I’ve never realized how long a second in time is.” To Brad, time’s arrow had never been this sluggish?
He kept staring at the clock until it seemed to fill his vision. “Will the clock ever reach midday or will it continue to slow down? I know it’s just an imaginary thing but to me it’s real.
It was now just one minute to twelve and the second hand seemed to linger ever longer as each second passed. He brushed his long blonde hair from his eyes and continued to stare.
The second hand moved forward one second and then appeared to be frozen in time; motionless. It lingered for a while then reluctantly and lazily advanced – just one second. Brad stared in disbelief as the clocks hand again paused: this time for what appeared to be an eternity. He looked around the room and then back to the clock again. “The hand hasn’t moved at all!” he gasped looking down and checking his watch. It too was in some kind of suspended animation.
He jumped to his feet. “What in hells name’s going on? Have I died or something?”
“I’m not waiting here any longer,” he decided heading for the door leading to the interview room. Two of the interviewers were sitting behind the table while a third man was in the process of getting up. All of them motionless seemingly trapped in a time vortex – like wax figures in a museum. “Look at them – how ridiculous they look!”
Nervously Brad walked around the table. In front of where each man sat was an interview form with questions and tick boxes. Brad’s name was at the top of each form but there were crosses in most of the boxes. “Mm, they don’t seem to have exactly taken to me do they,” he muttered thoughtfully.
He grabbed a pen and then reaching between each of the motionless men changed the forms; wherever there was a cross he changed it to a tick. “Let’s see what these dummies make of that!”
“Ah well, not much point in hanging around here,” he said heading out of the room. But as he entered the outer office again he looked up at the clock. It still had not moved. “This is really weird,” he thought sitting down and burying his face in his hands. “I wonder if the whole world’s come to a grinding halt. At that instant the door opened and one of the interviewers came in.
“Brad, we’re ready to see you now; please come in.”
He re-entered the room and was surprised to find that everything was back to normal.
“Please sit down,” asked one of the men. He cleared his throat and began to speak. “Thank you, Brad for coming in today.” He paused uncomfortably and then continued. “Unfortunately…at this time… we are unable to –.” He stopped speaking abruptly as he glanced down at his interview form on the table. After a moment’s pause he craned his head to look over at the forms in front of the other two men.
With a confused look the interviewer began again, “Ah, it seems – you’ve – got the job!”