Standing On A Chair

Telling it like I see it…

The Job Interview Part Four and Epilogue

“Come on, honey,” said Toby as she took me by the arm and led me into Gabe’s office.  “Be thankful he’s in a good mood.  Gabe, meet Jill Miller.  And by the by, I think she’s perfect for the job.”

I looked at the short, slender man standing behind his desk.  He wore a T-shirt with “Elvis Costello” printed across the front.

“Gabe Townsend,” he announced proudly.

He had the look of a mischievous adolescent, with the most stunning blue eyes.  Probably about thirty-five, but could have passed for ten years younger, the way he was dressed.  I shook his hand and he held the grasp for a tiny bit longer than was considered normal. 

“Such a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Townsend.  Your office manager has spoken of you glowingly.”

Although he was slim and stood at about five-six, he was solidly built, with long, crab-like arms.  His cheeks showed traces of past acne problems, but that gave him a masculine, ruddy look.  His hair fell to his shoulders in shiny brown waves.

“Glowingly my ass.  Toby would just as soon see me assassinated.  Take a seat, Jill. And we’re not formal around here as you’ve probably gathered, so please call me Gabe.”

I settled into one of the two plush leather chairs and handed him a copy of my resume, which he placed on his desk without a glance.  “Gabe, Toby has told me a little bit about your business.  Do you have much competition?  I feel it is in my best interest to be sure that the company I work for has a solid future.”

Gabe smiled.  “We’re the best in the business,” he began, when the door opened and Toby leaned in to say, “Sorry to interrupt, but the  dealership called.  The Rolls is ready to be picked up.”

“Lynn can grab a cab and go pick it up for me.”

Oh God.  Not another task for Lynn.

Gabe stood up and bellowed through the glass wall, “Lynn!  What are you doing right now?”

“I’m posting the fucking sales ledger,” she yelled.  “What the fuck else would I be doing?”

“Oh,” Gabe said.  “Okay.  Toby, tell them to deliver the car and send me a bill.”

I think that might have been the moment when I knew I wanted this job. 

Toby closed the door behind her and Gabe turned his full attention to me.  “Let me tell you what the story is about my company, Jill.  I started by selling pens and pencils out of the back seat of my car.  I was broke.  When I needed caps on my teeth, I found a dentist who would take my television as a down payment.  Now, just two years later, I’m in a nice office, I’ve expanded my inventory to include all office and copier supplies, and now I need a warehouse.  The orders are coming in so fast we can’t fill ‘em all.  Next month we’re moving to a new facility in Beverly Hills.”

As I listened, I was distracted by a nervous twitch in his left eye, and an intermittent grunt as he spoke, as if he were trying to clear his sinuses or something.  And judging by his accent, I decided he was from somewhere in the south.

“That’s an incredible story, Gabe,” I said. 

“I’ll be rich, Jill,” he said with a twinkle in his eyes.  “We’ll all be rich.  Within a year you’ll be supervising five people and driving a Mercedes to your manicure appointments while your staff does all the work!”

I couldn’t help myself.  I laughed out loud.  His pie-in-the-sky shtick was hilarious.

Gabe’s intercom buzzed.  He picked up the phone, listened for a minute, then suddenly bolted to a standing position and thundered, “Tell that motherfucker I’ll see his ass in court, goddamn it!”  After which he slammed down the receiver, frowned in thought for a few seconds, then looked at me and said, “If Toby thinks you’re good for the job, Jill, then I think so too.  When can you start?”

A little startled by his bottom-line directness, I said, “Um, well Gabe, could we talk about salary and benefits?”

“How much do you want?”

“Fifteen-hundred a month and health insurance for both my baby and me.”  This amount was more than I would settle for, and actually was quite a lot of money in 1978.

“Done.  Eight o’clock Monday?”

I stood up and smiled, offering my hand for another one of those protracted shakes.  “Thank you, Gabe.  I’ll see you next week!”

While Toby validated my parking ticket (thank God), Lynn looked up from her work and eyed me through her thick-lensed glasses.  “Can’t wait for you to start so I can finally unload some of this shit I’m having to do.”

I gave her my most dazzling smile ever, and said, “I look forward to that, Lynn.”


My world has been blessed with amazing characters.  I think that’s kind of the point of my story.  I’m absolutely hooked on outrageous, sometimes brilliant, oddballs.  Honestly, I couldn’t make this stuff up.  They are real people, with little or no tweaking necessary.  I ultimately worked for Gabe for a total of five years, and believe me, there are more stories to tell about that chapter in my life!


March 22, 2011 - Posted by | Jobs | , , ,

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