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With the elevator picking up speed, he would be at the interview in no time. Maybe it will get stuck he thought to himself. He had never been good at these situations, his nerves always got the best of him. Sweating and stuttering, he bumbled through answers and could never think of a follow up question.
David Genner was shy and usually opted for the easier way, never causing ripples. He did whatever it took to keep under the radar and unnoticed. Interviews were painful, it was all about him. He thought about his last interview, and could feel the sweat threatening on the back of his neck. The elevator stopped at the 10th floor, this was it.
David approached the receptionist and said timidly, “Hello, I’m David Genner.” then trying to muster some confidence,“I have an 11’o'clock interview.”
“Yes, Mr. Genner, Mr. Wells will be right with you, you can take a seat over there.” said the pleasant receptionist with a midwestern accent. She was almost at the point of correctly guessing who would be hired from their demeanor in the waiting room.
Sitting down, David began mentally preparing himself. There were four others in the cramped waiting room, each preoccupied with their phones.
He had graduated from a small 4 year school in Virginia,where he was an average student, mainly due to his lack of studying. He loved to read on his own time, but wasn’t big on public speaking. There had been a few girlfriends during his college years, as he enjoyed parties and sports, but there was never a thought of what he wanted to do once he graduated.
After college, he worked a few temp jobs, drifting from one to another. This infuriated his father, who wondered just why exactly he paid for his son to go to college.
A few years back, after making some calls, the senior Mr. Genner had helped David get an interview with Stemper, an advertising firm headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina. David reluctantly went to the interview and his performance is still talked about to this day. Walking in, David made sure not to trip. In fact he was so careful not to fall over his own feet he missed his chair upon sitting. Falling to the floor, he managed to knock over a pitcher of water sittng on the conference table. Water streamed over the glass as laptops and smartphones were drenched, someone even screamed. Eventually, order was restored and they tried to proceed with the interview, which at this point had become pointless.
Currently, David was working at a local shipping company. It wasn't a bad job, just one that bored David immensely.
"Mr. Genner?" David snapped out of his thoughts and stood up, his pulse racing. His inner coach instructing him, Okay Dave, just calm down, you can do this. He made his way past the reception desk and into the conference room.
“Hello David!” said Mr. Wells thrusting his hand out.
David wiped his sweaty palm and shook hands with George Wells. Mr. Wells was the Marketing Director at Craigmont Financial Services (CFS),
“He- Hello” David replied, thus beginning another bomb.
David knew exactly when he began nose-diving in an interview; he just couldn't seem to correct it. Sometimes it was an over correction. Maybe a nervous laugh that's a bit too loud, or he might become jumpy trying to appear comfortable. At the moment, he already had sweat on his brow. Mercifully, Mr. Wells was the only interviewee today. They fought through the pleasantries, and David clumsily answered questions about his resume and abilities.
When it came time for his questions, David went blank. No! He thought to himself. This is not happening again!
“No....I uh.... I think you’ve answered them!” he replied and immediately wanted to sprint out of the office.
As the interview came to an end, he knew he had blown it. They shook hands again, Mr. Wells informed him that he would hear something from the firm in a few days. No doubt to tell me I’m an idiot! David thought.
He headed down to the nearest cafe and grabbed a sandwich. He replayed the interview in his head, wincing when thinking about how awful it went. He heard thunder outside as the rain picked up. He paid his tab, leaving a generous tip, and headed to his car.
The two guys on the radio debated about a meaningless game as the wipers worked at full speed. David was thinking about Jill, his girlfriend of 2 years. She was so excited for him this morning, he dreaded telling her about the interview. Jill saw something in him that he was not sure he saw. At that moment, he only saw the fact that he had a dead end job, one that would not get his two week notice anytime soon.
David was absorbed in his thoughts when he came down to the bridge. The smoke was everywhere. Coming closer, he could make out three cars that were practically stacked on top of each other.
Glancing around, David realized he is the only one around. He pulled to the side of the road and was out of the car before it had fully stopped. He punched 911 on his phone, reporting the accident and explaining the details. 3 Cars, Harrington Bridge, The first car had stopped abruptly, causing the pile up. David ran to lead car, which was engulfed in flames. An older man was bleeding from what looked like a broken nose, He was coherent, but needed to be pulled from his vehicle. David got him out of the car and to the side of the road.
As he arrived at the second car, David saw other cars approaching. He checked the driver,
“Ma'am?” “Can you hear me? Are you okay?” David asked, while making sure there were no passengers.
“Yes, my leg, I think it’s broken.” .
As David was checking on the third car he heard the sirens. Others were coming down to help. David calmly gave them instructions and everyone followed the young man's lead.
The EMT’s arrived and find David had the situation under control. He described in detail the injuries of each driver. He worked with the fire department, inspecting cars before they were removed from the scene. Thankfully, there were no life threatening injuries, in part due to David's quick reaction.
The Fireman Lieutenant, after talking with police and EMT's approached David.
“Nice work out there, you military?”
“Me? No sir” David answered.
"Well, good job, you uh, you ever think about public service?”
“No, not really, you guys hiring?”
"Got some guys retiring this year, we could use someone like you. "Here" he wrote down his number then handed it to David. "If you’re interested, call me tomorrow, you did a good thing today.”
"Thanks” David said, then turned to head back to his car.
His car was surrounded by police cars, an ambulance, as well as bystanders who had gathered to investigate. A news crew had made it to the scene as well. As David made his way throught the crowd, George Wells approached him.
"David, my goodness! We saw the accident and recognized one of the company vehicles. Then we saw what you did, nice work!”
“Thanks, I just tried to help.”
"You know what? Forget about the interview today, we need a guy who can think on his toes, and from what I've just seen, you would be that guy.”
David looked down and thought about his crazy afternoon, he thought about Jill, his father, and then he thought about the way he felt helping those people.
David looked up. Gone was the nervousness, he was confident and composed.
“Mr. Wells, I appreciate your offer, and I thank you for your time today. But I think I've found what I should be doing.” Smiling, Mr. Wells put one hand on David’s shoulder.
"I would say you have."
Other short stories by Weestro:
- One Last Game
With new ownership replacing Frank's beloved stadium, he has one last stunt up his sleeve.
- The Ridgeway Curse
A dark tale of a man unable to let go after a tragic accident.
A short story about a dog getting another chance at happiness, and the gratitude he has for his rescuer.
- The Defender
A short story about a chance encounter between two old high school teammates.
- Secure Reasoning
A short story involving spies, espionage, and suicide..all in less than 1200 words.