| A New Beginning
Ted already felt tired with the long walk up the monumental stairs, leading to the large marble building, where he was about to apply for the new opening. He still was puzzled why the driver of the semi-truck was so angry at him when they almost collided. For Pete's sake, the light was still yellow. Or at least he thought. He was thankful those trucks had such good brakes.
The automatic doors slid open with a swish, beckoning him into the marble entrance lobby where a receptionist greeted him. She said, "We've been waiting for you sir. Go down that hall and turn to the right and you'll see a door marked, "Applications".
Ted thought; "Now that is efficient. I just got here and they were waiting for me."
His shoes echoed on the marble floors which gleamed pearly white, reflecting the long row of paintings on the walls. Somehow the somber, almost bleak paintings seemed out of place with the job he was seeking. He wasn't into abstract art, but he liked the almost surreal figures flowing around the misty background. Then he noticed some of the abstractions showed what appeared to be expressions of pain. Ted thought to himself; maybe he should study more about abstract art, but he never seemed to have the time.
He was told the new opening was with a prestigious law firm and it would probably pay well, but why did they display paintings which seemed to imply much pain and suffering? Something else bothered him. Why was everything so formal? First he had to go to the application room and now they told him to go to the third floor where he was to be interviewed.
The man said, "Here's you application form. Just fill it out here and go the third floor and someone will interview you."
Ted said, "What room on the third floor?"
The man said, "You can't miss it. It's the only room on that floor."
The elevator silently took him up to the third floor. On the way up he noticed all the different floors, where the top floor was titled, "The Big Room". Well, that must be the board room, Ted thought.
The third floor was lined with a subtle beige carpeting which contrasted with the off-white linen walls, giving one a sense of not just tranquility but a feeling of something secure and meaningful. This was in contrast to the somber, almost depressing paintings he saw in the corridor. He still wasn't sure what the firm was looking for; however, his friends had told him it was a position of importance. His experience was in law so Ted was sure he could fill the position. The only door in the reception room was marked, "The Interview Room", just as the man said.
At a large reception desk a man told him, "Have a seat, Let's see your application."
Ted noticed the man's complexion was so white he could see his veins through his opaque skin. Even his eyes had a blank, dull appearance. Maybe it was just his imagination. He had a tendency to overreact at times.
Glancing at it, the man said, "I see you used black ink, not any other color."
Surprised, Ted said, "Why? Is that important?"
"Oh yes," he said, "You be surprised how important it is. We are very precise here."
Curious about the job, Ted said, "Can you tell me more about the position?"
Stone-faced, the interviewer said, "I'm afraid I can't. The next interviewer will tell you. This is just a pre-interview."
Confused at this, Ted said, "You mean there is another interview?"
"Of course there is" he said, "This is an important job."
Still looking over his application, the man said, "I see here you misspelled a word or two and you didn't stay in the boxes in a few places. Also you must use only upper case letters. No lower case are allowed. And if you can't fill in a blank space you must draw a line through it. One more thing. You must initial here, here, and here."
"Do I need to do it over?" Ted said,
"Yes" the man said, "Go back down to the application room and complete another one. This time do it right. Don't worry. We will wait for you."
Ted felt a little irritated, but maybe it was worth it. This time he filled it out precisely as the man told him and took it back to the interviewer. It occurred to him that this may be a kind of test. Confident he was about to get the job, he went back and handed the application to the man. With a new-found confidence, he said, "This should be correct now."
With a smile on his face the man said, "Aww, that's the way we like it. Now go up to the fifth floor and... wait, let me check." Dialing a number on the phone, he said, "Miss Kate. Did they change that room again? You know, the Second Interview Room." Tapping his finger on the desk, winking at him, he said, "They change these rooms all the time." After a few seconds, a voice answering, the man said, "Okay, the seventh floor."
Ted, now a little peeved at all the formality, took the elevator to the seventh floor. It was now he noticed that all the floors were odd numbered. There were no second, fourth or sixth floors. How strange. The seventh floor also had just one room and it was marked, 'The Second Interview Room.' Here again was a large desk only this time it was decorated with gold filigree around the edge. How impressive, he thought. The interviewer, dressed in a formal black suit, said, "Welcome to your second interview sir."
Ted found it strange that no one had asked him about his experience. With many jobs relating to law and civil lawsuits, his resume should look good. He said, "No one has asked me any questions yet."
The interviewer with a smirk on his face said, "Oh we already know about you. We just want to get better acquainted with you. I see here that you have had two divorces."
"But isn't that a little personal?" Ted said.
"Of course it is," the man said, "Everything here is personal. We just want to make sure you are suited to the job."
A file in his hand, the man said, "We did some research on you and we see that you have had a few problems in life."
"What problems?" Ted said in a worried voice
"Well" he said, "You have many Category 3 problems."
"What in the world is that?" Ted said.
A frown on his face, he said, "Nothing all that bad but still, worrisome. Category 1 problems are the big ones. You know, murder, cheating on your taxes. That kind of stuff."
Ted, now worried, said, "What in the Devil are Category 3 problems?"
"First of all." he said, "Don't use the word 'Devil' here. Category 3 are problems like barging in line, jaywalking, lusting at women. You know, things like that."
"Now wait a minute." Ted said, "You mean looking at women is bad?"
Still looking at his file, the interviewer said, I didn't say 'looking', I said 'lusting'. " Come on Ted, we know what was on your mind that time you looked at that blond on the subway last week."
Ted, almost in shock, said, "How could you know that?"
With a slyness in his eyes, the man said, "We know everything here."
Suddenly it dawned on Ted. He then remembered those last few seconds of his life. The semi-truck had hit him broadside and the last thing he pictured in his mind was the enormous grill smashing into him. Then all went black. Now grasping the fact he was probably in Heaven, he sobbed, "I'm so sorry for all the bad things I have done. Please forgive me."
With a look of surprise, the interviewer said, "Now wait a minute. Where do you think you are Ted?"
Tears on his face, Ted said, "Isn't this Heaven?"
The interviewer leaned back in his chair, laughing loudly, as he picked up the phone. Dialing another department, he said, "Hey Fred, Come out here. You've got to see this. We have a guy who thinks this is Heaven. I'll let you tell him."