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A Job Application in Perry Caldwell's America: A Short Story
In the man's living room, a gentle face appeared on the large screen. It said, "Welcome to the interactive career application for Moobley Coastal Enterprises. Your business is our business."
"If ready to proceed, say 'Yes.' If not ready, say 'No.'"
"Yes," the man said.
"Could you spell that, please?"
"Thank you. Jacob W. Freyburg. Is this correct?"
"Julia Freyburg. Is this correct?"
"Is the contact information the same as for applicant?"
"224 Bird Coop Lane, Bush Country, Texas, 53497."
"224 Bird Coop Lane, Bush Country, Texas, 53497. Is this correct?"
"Quantum Unitrex 4123."
"Quantum Unitrex 4123. Is this correct?"
"Fluffy Bunny 147."
"Fluffy Bunny 147. Is this correct?"
"Good. And now some personal information, Mr. Freyburg. Ready?"
"Do you have a mental and/or physical disability that would conceivably hamper your ability to carry out the duties of your job function?"
"Are you able to stand on your feet for at least eight hours?"
"With or without 'reasonable' accommodation?"
"Are you able to lift at least 70 pounds?"
"With or without 'reasonable' accommodation?"
"In keeping with child labor restraints, Mr. Freyburg, are you at least 18 years of age or older?"
"If hired, Mr. Freyburg, will you be able to provide all necessary documentation attesting to your eligibility to work in the United States?"
"Are you an illegal Mexican from Mexico?"
The gentle face smiled. "Warning! If you are an illegal Mexican from Mexico, you are advised to turn yourself into the nearest Immigration Control Center immediately! Haste maximizes your chances for survival! Even now your location is being pinpointed by satellite, TortillaTaco One. You should know that the Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marines are on their way over to shoot you and your family in the face and drop your sorry ass illegal Mexican carcasses from Mexico, into the Mexican River. Have a nice day!"
The gentle face paused, giving the man time to run if need be.
"Age. 18-25? 26-34? 35-42? 42 or older?"
"42 or older."
"Gender. Male or female?"
"Race and ethnicity," the gentle face said. "Please click all that apply."
Choices were displayed on the screen:
[ white, non-Hispanic]
[Indian, Pacific Islander]
[African-American, black non-Hispanic]
Jacob Freyburg clicked the cursor [white, non-Hispanic].
"Are you sure you're not an illegal Mexican from Mexico?"
"Yes you are an illegal Mexican from Mexico; or yes you're sure you're not?"
"I. Am. Not. An. Illegal. Mexican. From. Mexico."
The gentle face smiled. "I'm just messing with you. You're good people, I know that. You're okay."
"Further Ethno-Species identification. Please click all that apply." The choices:
Jacob clicked the cursor on [Human].
The gentle face said, "If Human/Demon hybrid, can you produce documentation, as well as priestly and prophetic reference---ideally in the form of signs and wonders---attesting to the fact that the mark of Satan and his legions' wicked rebellion against the Lord, has been thoroughly cleansed from your soul?"
Jacob said, "I'm not---"
"Please answer 'Yes,' 'No,' or Not Applicable."
"If Human/Angelic hybrid, can you produce all necessary documentation, as well as priestly and prophetic reference---ideally in the form of signs and wonders---attesting to the fact that your soul is completely innocent of the angels' stiff-necked stubbornness in the face of the Lord's Most Just Law?"
"Please answer 'Yes,' 'No,' or 'Not Applicable,' Mr. Freyburg."
"I'll just do a quick blood test on you, Mr. Freyburg." A robot technician rolled up and withdrew enough blood to fill a small vial. The robot deposited it in a slot on a console by the screen.
The apparatus started up. Mr. Freyburg's blood was being analyzed. When the analysis was complete, another face materialized on the screen next to the gentle one.
"Analysis complete?" the gentle face said.
"Subject's blood is 98.94 percent Righteous. Minor supernatural admixture approximately 100 generations ago. The taint is negligible to nonexistent."
".00002315 percent. Again, the taint is virtually nonexistent."
"Fair enough," the gentle face said. "Thank you."
The other face disappeared.
"Now then, Mr. Freyburg. Just a few more questions."
"These next questions are for former teachers only." Suddenly the gentle face took on a bulldog snarl. "And don't lie cause we'll find out!"
The gentle face composed itself. "Are you a former teacher?"
"Have you been convicted of teaching creationism on any of the Heathen Worlds, in the last seven years?"
"The last ten years?"
"Have you been praised for teaching evolution on any of the Heathen Worlds, in the last ten years?"
"Have you been convicted of breaking any of the Ten Commandments in the last ten years? You may answer 'No,' if condemnation occurred on any of the Heathen Worlds."
"Well,... ugh, yes."
"Oh? Which one?"
"Well, you see what happened was that I 'kilt' two ['bortion] doctors---"
Confused, the gentle face said, "Abortion doctors? But surely there's no blame in that. After all---"
"It was like this, see. I was after these two devilish "boombugs." I shot down their ship and I was glad to be sending those daffy ducks to hell. But the only thing was their ship fell to the surface of a God Sanctified world. Waters of Jericho."
"Oh dear!" the gentle face said. "Was the sentence very harsh?"
"Doesn't matter. It got overturned on appeal a year later. Due to 'vitiating' circumstances."
"Mitigating circumstances," the gentle face said.
"But still," the gentle face said, "you spent a whole year... on the rack."
"I don't complain too much. Improved my posture."
"Hmm," the gentle face said.
Next round of questions.
The gentle face said, "Are you a military veteran? 'Yes,' or" Suddenly the bulldog snarl was back, "were you a lousy, no-good, crummy, long-haired draft dodger or deserter, failing in your saintly and patriotic duty to God and your country?"
"I-I'm a veteran. I'm a veteran!"
The gentle face composed itself. "Of course. Please excuse me. I'm terribly sorry. Now, did you serve in: The Crusades? The Inquisition? The First Rapture? The Second Rapture? The Northern LGBT Suppression Raids? The Southwestern and Western Free Thinkers, Heretic, and Atheist Punitive Onslaughts? Continental Mexican Fumigation?"
Next there were some routine questions about the applicant's educational background and work history. He asked to give the names, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses of three personal and professional references.
"Now then, Mr. Freyburg," the gentle face said, "just a few questions about your attitudes and opinions. I will ask you a series of questions. You just click the cursor over the answer that best fits for you: [somewhat agree]; [agree]; [strongly agree]; [somewhat disagree]; [disagree]; [strongly disagree]. Relax, there's no pressure. There's no right or wrong answers. Okay?"
The bulldog snarl returned. The gentle face shouted, "AND HURRY UP CAUSE YOU'RE BEING TIMED!"
The gentle face composed itself. "Number one: Cranky customers make me feel angry."
The applicant clicked [strongly agree].
"Number two: Mexicans has the same rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness as true Americans."
"Number three: To get ahead, it is more important who you know rather than what you know."
"Number four: Homosexuality is a sin against God."
"Number five: Taking home a few office supplies from work is no big deal because everybody does it."
"Number six: Androids have souls."
"Number seven: It is wrong to burn witches."
"Number eight: It is morally wrong to use torture to make a wicked person confess to witchcraft."
"Number nine: Androids will go to Heaven."
"Number ten: It is okay to slack off work when the boss isn't looking."
"Number eleven: Mexicans have souls."
"Number twelve: Homosexuality can be cured by prayer."
"Number thirteen: An employee who is not pulling his own weight holds down the entire organization."
There were exactly one-hundred-eighty-seven more questions along those lines. After which there were a handful of questions, for tax purposes, as to whether Mr. Freyburg or any member of his family had received welfare assistance.
After that he was asked to swear an oath on the Holy Bible that he had told the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth in his career application; and that he understood that if he was found to have lied about any part of his application, it would not only result in his not getting a position with Moobley Coastal Enterprises; he could very well be burned at the stake as a witch.
The results were tabulated. Once again, the second face appeared on the screen next to the gentle one.
The gentle face said, "Tabulate the results."
The other face said, "... Working.... Working.... Working...."
"MMMMM... Conclusion: Subject's education is woefully inadequate."
"MMMMM... Conclusion: Subject is barely literate."
"But he was a teacher," the gentle face said. "What did he teach?"
"MMMMM... Gym class."
"Hmm," the gentle face said. "Go on."
"MMMMM... Conclusion: Earlier blood test confirmed. Subject's bloodline scores Pure Righteous. Virtually untainted with Supernatural or Mexican heritage."
"MMMMM... Conclusion: Subject's faith is strong and mostly orthodox. Subject has proper attitudes about gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and the transgendered."
"MMMMM... Conclusion: Subject has sufficientlly prohibitive views about Mexicans."
"But there's room for improvement there," the gentle face said.
"MMMMM... That is correct."
"Well, nobody's perfect," the gentle face said. "Go on."
"MMMMM.... Conclusion: Subject is a noted military veteran. Served honorably and courageously in both the Crusades and the Northern LGBT Suppression Raids. And has been noted for such, as well as heroism."
"He didn't mention laudable service in the LGBT Suppression Raids. Modesty, eh?"
"MMMMM.... It would seem so."
"MMMMM.... Conclusion: Or the subject may have simply forgotten. Subject is not the sharpest knife in the drawer."
"Never mind about that," the gentle face said.
"MMMMM.... Ultimate Conclusion: Subject is near-ideal candidate. Status: Extremely Powerful Prospect. Recommendation: Hire Immediately!"
"Thank you," the gentle face said and the other face disappeared.
The gentle face smiled at the applicant. "Well, Mr. Freyburg. Congratulations! You have just been guaranteed a position with our firm."
"Thanks. Thank you. Thank you very much."
"No, thank you, Mr. Freyburg, for your interest in a career with Moobley Coastal Enterprises, the galaxy's first name in edible toilet plungers!"
"Have a nice day!"