The Applicant

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Thrillers  |  House: Booksie Classic

A mysterious man turns up to job interview.

It is the end of the workday. I am tired. I have been interviewing job candidates since 9 a.m. and I couldn't make a decision. The job of joining the security team at the jewellers was very popular. There had been a string of robberies in the area, the most recent a week ago. Extra security was needed, especially since the criminal gang was still at large. A sketch of them had been circulated to the police and the media however they had still not been caught.

I lean back in my chair, close and rub my tired eyes. I hear the noise of a door being closed. When I open my eyes a man stands in my office. He is clean shaven, with dark hair and eyes. “Am I too late for the interview?” he enquires.
“Where did you come from!?” I exclaimed.
“I didn’t mean to startle you ma’am. I used the back door,” he explained.
I thought I was done for the day! Gina didn’t tell me I had any more interviews scheduled, but he’s here now and one more interview won’t make a difference. I sigh before saying, “Please take a seat Mr…?” I motion for him to sit on the sofa. “Benson, Alec Benson.” He bows and sits down opposite me looking nervous. “Don't be nervous” I say. “I'm not really that bad.” He smiled. “It's just I really want the job.” he says “I think I'm well qualified.” That was a bit cocky but I let it go.
“Would you like a cup of tea Mr. Benson?”
“Call me Alec please, yes a cup of tea would be nice” he replies.
“Milk? Sugar?” He declines both.
I press the button on the intercom and ask for Gina to bring through a cup of black tea.
“What do you think you will bring to the job if you are successful Alec?”
“I can offer you protection, I am a very protective person, just ask my friends. And I am wearing black so that's a Plus.”
“Why do you think that is a plus?”
“Well I can't be seen and I'm good at spying” He whispers “I could kill the criminals or your competitors and they wouldn’t even see me coming” he runs the nail of his thumb across his throat.
My eyes go wide. “Are you actually telling me you want to kill our competitors?”
He leans forward and says softly, “If that's what you want I’m happy to oblige. I will protect this establishment and it's employees at all costs, this I swear. I really need this job. I have three children at home and a baby on the way.”
“Alec, we do not murder people, we bring them to justice by catching and handing them over to the police and letting the justice system deal with them as it sees fit.”
“Of course” he says “just letting you know I could do it if you wanted me to. I could even do a surprise attack; you would not know where or when it is happening. You would have complete deniability.” He takes a sip of the tea.
“There will be no surprise attacks Alec. However there will be surprise parties so I suppose you could still jump out and surprise people; just no attacking please.”
“Ok” he agreed, looking disappointed.
“So” I say, changing the subject hurriedly. “What else can you bring to the table?”
“I'm very loyal, loyalty means everything to me. I have my own sword, two of them in fact.”
Now it’s my turn to look nervous.
“What is the sword for?” I asked, trying to remain calm.
“Protection. Just in case of an attack. I've got them here if you want to see?” he says enthusiastically.
“Uhh, no thank you.” I laugh nervously but smile sweetly. “Thank you so much for bringing them in but we won't be needing them today. Or ever. Do you understand Mr. Benson?”
“Yes I think so.” he says with a sigh.

Swords. Not only does this guy own swords but he actually brought them with him! To do what? Attack me? He doesn't seem to be violent; he is so softly spoken and quite gentle. So what is he doing with a sword? Did he think I would attack him? That he might have to defend himself against me? These thoughts put me on edge but I pushed them to the back of my mind and continued with the interview.
“So Alec, tell me about your family. You say three children at home with a baby on the way? Gosh! You must be excited; busy, but excited.”
“Yes.” he says “I love them all very much and I am completely devoted to them.”
“Where are you from?”
“Japan” Alec answers.
“Well you have come a long way just for a job. It must mean a lot to you.” I said. “How was the flight?”
“Fine.” he says.
“If I hire you as a member of our security team would this be a long term position for you?”
“I will be loyal and honourable ma’am!” he replies as he bows his head.
“Honourable?” I laugh. Mr. Benson didn't find this funny.
“Do I get the job?” he asked suddenly.
“Do you have your contact details? You can leave them with Gina at the desk and we will get back to you. No using the back door, use the main entrance please.”
“I have no contact details to give,” he admits. “Just please give me a simple yes or no answer. Do I get the job?”
I look at him. I don't want to hurt his feelings.
“I’m sorry” I say, “Unfortunately no. It was the business with the swords really. Other than that I have no complaints, I even liked how you chose to use the back door into the building. It showed originality. I like to see something different…”
He cuts me off abruptly and says “Then, it was very nice to meet you but I'm afraid I must leave you now.”

He goes to the door, but turns to me to say “I am a Ronin, a samurai without a master. I have been travelling many miles looking for someone to serve. I was hoping I would be successful. For that would mean I would not have to continue my search. I am so weary, but because of your refusal I must continue on my journey. Before I go I think you will want these back. From his trouser pocket he takes a small bag and hands it to me. “And I recommend that you check your stationary cupboard.“ Without another word he leaves.

I shake my head. What a time waster. He was absolutely mad, poor man. All that talk of swords and samurai. Did he really think that would impress me?

I walk over to my desk and put on my jacket. What did he give me? I tip the contents of the bag onto my desk. Jewellery falls out. I gasp involuntarily as I realise that what I am looking at is what was stolen in the latest robbery. I confirm this with Gina just to make sure I'm not losing my mind. I go over to the cupboard, open the door and stare at the gang that perpetrated the crimes, bound and gagged.

Later when the police have removed them from my office and I am finally on my way home, I think, 'Maybe I am too quick to judge people.'

Submitted: January 31, 2021

© Copyright 2021 Christopher Long. All rights reserved.

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