BLOOD & SWINE: A Comedy of Terrors
(2009, unpublished) - a novel by A.R.Yngve - Sample Chapters
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CHAPTER 2: O Lucky Man!
Carl rushed through the room and into the one open booth. No sounds escaped from the other, closed booths. The interior of his booth was so narrow that he could just about squeeze himself into the seat between the wall and the small table.
Carl spotted a tiny surveillance camera in a corner of the ceiling; it was active, judging by its glowing red diode.
A man in a creased gray suit, with a Hogoration name badge on his lapel, entered and shut the door. He sat down facing Carl, who tried a disarming smile.
The man's lips pressed tightly together and produced a smile that looked like he was sucking on a lemon. He was middle-aged, unshaven with a full head of graying hair, and his eyes looked tired and bloodshot.
"Right," the man said. "I'm Max Freyt, Coordinator of Hogoration Poland. I had to step in for one of the interviewers who got sick." He quickly lowered his voice, adapting to the cramped space.
"That's very nice of you," Carl said with complete honesty.
Max Freyt gave him a stern look. "You trying to be funny?"
Freyt produced a tiny pocket PC, placed it on the table and read from it. "Your name?"
"Carl Olson Krocek."
"Right." Freyt worked his tiny keypad. "You speak Polish?"
"Yes. Not as well as I speak English, but -"
"Fine. I haven't read the science paper you sent us. Can you sum it up in one sentence?"
"Well..." Carl looked up the summary on page 1. "'A detailed proposal for reforming industrial hog farming, improving the health and living conditions for hogs, meeting the environmental demands of the twenty-first century.'"
Max Freyt frowned. "I should remind you that this interview is being taped."
Carl raised his eyebrows and held out his hands. "I have nothing to hide."
"Give me a good quote."
"Sure!" Carl leafed through the pages... and suddenly he saw that pages 2, 3, 4 and the rest did not belong to his paper. He had mixed up his sheets with the red-haired girl's! "Um..."
Freyt waited five seconds, then put away the computer and crossed his arms. "Have you thought about working in public relations? We might have use for someone who can put up an image of... who has an honest charisma."
"Well... I rather had my sights on making a real change."
"All change starts with creating a good image. Ask any business professional."
Carl thought Freyt was trying to give him a hint about first impressions. "I realize I need a better suit..."
Freyt's lips loosened up a bit. "Good. The interview is over. We'll call you back. Good luck."
They shook hands and Max Freyt quickly walked out. Carl's mood dropped instantly. He walked back to the hall with heavy feet. He just knew they weren't going to call him back. He had made every mistake he could possibly make.
Oh well, he thought, maybe I should take up Grandma's offer to inherit the farm... it's not big, but it's work.
In the lobby, Carl stopped to visit the restroom; he still had butterflies in his stomach. When he came back out, he spotted the red-haired girl... and as soon as she saw Carl, she walked toward him at a rapid pace.
"I'm so sorry..." Carl began.
The girl interrupted him in an urgent tone, before she had even stopped walking. "Listen to me. Something came up. I showed the report to the boss, Mr. Drasco himself... the new CEO of Hogoration. And then he started reading your pages that got mixed up with mine. I told him, I didn't write those pages. But he liked what he saw. He says whoever wrote it has a vision that will help the corporation's reputation, and we should hire that person. You wrote this, didn't you?"
She held the pages up to his face. Carl nodded. "Yes of course, it's my term paper..."
"Then I'll tell Human Resources to hire you. CEO's orders." She pressed the sheets into his hand. "Give me the rest of the text and I'll copy it for the boss to read."
Carl grinned nervously. "Sure. Thanks, miss...?"
The red-haired girl blinked and relaxed a little. "Lucia. Lucia Surunova."
"Carl Olson." He shook her hand. "And what do you do...?"
"I'm the Assistant Manager of Marketing for Hogoration Poland."
"That's funny, I was applying for a post here in Poland..."
Lucia's smile died. Her posture stiffened and she pressed her fists against her chest. "Really, how interesting. I gotta go." She spun around and paced away. "You'll get your papers back!"
That went fast, he thought. But even as he felt exhilarated, guilt set in: obviously Lucia didn't like him, or the way he had insinuated himself into the CEO's circle of attention - by accident. Someday he had to make it up to her...
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