The first installment of a multi-part story
Part 1 – The Job Interview
“Yeah. So…eh…I got this call. Something about a job.” The man shuffled his feet. “I’m in the right place, right?”
The blonde looked up from her legal pad. “Right. Please fill this out.”
She handed him a clipboard and a pen. On the clipboard was a sheet of paper, a standard job application. He made quick work of it and handed the clipboard back to her, pocketing the pen for himself.
“Wait there.” She pointed at a row of chairs against the wall.
The man glanced at them, then looked back at the woman. “Will I have to wait long? I mean, I gotta pick up my kid at school in an hour.”
The woman looked at him again, this time a trace of interest in her eyes. “How old?”
“Boy or girl?”
“Boy. Is that a problem?”
“Just have a seat. It shouldn’t be long.”
The man walked over and sat on the edge of the chair, anxious. Every few seconds he glanced at his watch.
After three minutes, he said, “Listen, if you don’t think I’ll get the job, just tell me. I mean I need the work, but I don’t want to be late. Told him I’d take him to the batting cages. Let him practice his swing.”
“You’re wife can’t pick him up?”
He hesitated. “I’m divorced. Today’s Wednesday. That’s my day.”
“Just fulfilling your obligation, then,” she said.
“No. That’s not it. I may not be around every day, but I’m trying to be a good dad. Tommy deserves that.”
“Tommy? That’s your son?”
The man seemed surprised, like he didn’t realize he’d spoken the boy’s name. “Yeah.”
“Shouldn’t be long now. But I can’t tell you if you get the job or not. That’s not up to me.”
Another five minutes went by, then the door to the right opened and a large man wearing a black, expensive suit stepped out.
“You next?” he asked the man.
The man looked around. There was no one else there but him and the woman.
“I guess,” he said.
The new guy held the door open so the man could walk through. It was an office, slightly larger than the room he’d been waiting in. There was a table and three chairs, two on the far side and one directly in front of him. He looked back over his shoulder and noticed the woman whispering something into the ear of the new guy.
A moment later, the new guy joined the man in the room.
“I hear you have a kid,” the guy said.
The man’s eyes narrowed. “Is there a problem? First her and now you about my kid. What does that have to do with a job?”
“Some jobs are better for people who have…less entanglements.”
“Are you saying I can’t have the job because of my kid?”
The new guy stared at the man for several seconds, his face a blank slate. Finally, he said. “I’m saying maybe it would be better if you looked for work elsewhere.”
“You’re kidding, right?” the man said. “I come all the way down here and you say no? I swear if I’m late picking up my kid, I’m coming back here and letting you know about it.”
“I’m sure if you leave now, you’ll make it in time.”
The man let out a loud, angry huff, then turned and exited out the door the way he’d come.
Outside, a car was waiting for him. The woman behind the wheel looked over at him as he climbed in.
“They bought the kid story.”
“Of course,” he said. “I’ll bet you my name is already off the list.”
He reached into his pocket and pulled out the pen.
“Here,” he said, handing it to her. “I got you a present.”
She smiled, then slipped it into her faux leather purse.
“That’s what I love about you, Derrick,” she said. “Always thinking about me.”
Back inside after the man was gone, the woman who’d been sitting at the reception desk entered the other office. The man in the suit was sitting on the edge of his desk, waiting for her.
“No. It’s him.”
“What about the kid?”
“There’s no kid.”
The man nodded.
“He knows we’re looking for him,” she said.
“But he came in anyway.”
“Thought he could throw us off,” the man said. “The tracker?”
“He’s got it,” she said.
The man smiled. “You can cancel the rest of the appointments.”
The first Jonathan Quinn Thriller
Coming from Bantam Dell Spring 2007
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