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This story arc has been published as a novel!

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Out of the Frying Pan

Megan sat nervously in the large straight-backed wooden chair that was set in front of the imposing Mission-style walnut desk that belonged to Ultimate Construction's CEO.

"I see here you have a bachelor's in psychology from Berkeley," said the Ultimate, otherwise known as Ruth Thomas, PhD. "Why're you slumming around in delivery trucking and construction?"

Megan inhaled slowly, then said, "Because I need to pay the rent and I'm really not fit for anything else."

"Why aren't you working for your mother's security company?" Dr. Thomas said.

Admittedly, Megan had not experienced many job interviews in her life, but she was pretty certain that this question was skirting the edge of legality, if not merrily chucking itself off the cliff of "way too much information." Clearly, the second-in-command of Ultimate Construction was feeling this way too.

Gloria Revelle, a towering whipcord of a black woman with high cheekbones sharp enough to cut yourself on and cafe-au-lait skin, bowed toward the Ultimate like a willow tree in a strong wind and said something in a low voice. Ruth Thomas, the class 10 paranormal who ran her own construction company, computer hardware firm, engineering consulting agency, and various philanthropic organizations, looked askance at her right-hand-woman. Thomas was a much darker-skinned woman, somewhere around burnt caramel on the spectrum, and she was as short and round as Revelle was tall and slender. Thomas, however, projected a massivity of personality.

Like a neutron star, Megan thought. Tiny, but with her own gravitational field.

"So, you've got no skills except toting bales and writing school papers," Dr. Thomas went on, waving aside her earlier question. "Anything in particular you want to learn on a construction site?"

"I would like to learn anything anyone is willing to teach me," Megan said, speaking precisely and trying not to fidget with the corner of her black blazer. "I'm partial to carpentry and masonry, but I understand those require apprenticeships. In the meantime, I'm strong and I'm tough and I'm willing to get my hands dirty."

"Not too dirty, I hope?" Ms. Revelle said. "Given your time working for Captain Zip, you understand that I have to ask this question."

Megan laughed. It came out harsh and nervous-shrill, and she cut it off as soon as she heard it. "No, you see, this is why I need a new job, ma'am."

Ms. Revelle nodded, the tightness around her mouth relaxing a little.

Dr. Thomas made a few notes on Megan's resume. The scrawl was probably nearly illegible rightside-up, so Megan had no hope of reading it upside-down. There was a silence.

Megan fought the terrible urge to break the silence by blurting something out. Her mother had told her about this tactic a long time ago, and she would be damned if she was going to... "I really need a new job, Dr. Thomas, and I want something where I can learn useful skills." Oh, dammit. Stop, stop, stop. "I'll do anything that's needed."

Dr. Thomas looked up at her and tapped her chin with her pen. Ms. Revelle regarded Megan gravely.

"We always need reliable help on-site," Dr. Thomas said, steepling her fingers before her face and looking at Megan around them.

Megan restrained an urge to giggle inappropriately as a discussion about the dominance of steepling and phallic symbology came rushing back to her.

"And, as it happens, we need some help this Monday on an off-site project," Dr. Thomas continued.

Megan tried to look eager and hopeful, and suspected she looked rather like someone's overgrown Alsatian.

Dr. Thomas and Ms. Revelle exchanged a glance. Then Dr. Thomas leaned forward, smiled engagingly, and said, "You did say 'anything', right?"


Date: 2010-02-11 05:51 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
...finally, the plot thickens!


Re: And...

Date: 2012-01-27 06:44 pm (UTC)
the_leaky_pen: (Default)
From: [personal profile] the_leaky_pen
What d'you mean, finally? It's been pretty thick from the get go!


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