This Job Market Ain’t for Sissies
A Short Story by Jeremy Benjamin
Written using the suggestion "Symphony"
Originally featured on 01-21-2010
As part of our series "Senses of Togetherness"

Haydn Jones held a group interview. The candidates all shook hands and eyed each other like they were about to fight to the death. So Haydn Jones instructed them to fight to the death, offering the job to the last man or woman standing. They looked at Haydn waiting for the laugh. They looked at each other and confirmed that this was not a joke.

The Yale graduate looked at the door, shook her head, looked at the door again and went to it. She looked in from the doorway, shook her head again and walked out.

The Columbia graduate rolled up his sleeves and yawned.

The MIT graduate lit up a cigarette. Haydn Jones rudely swiped the cigarette from her mouth and blotted it out on the coaster beneath the coffee mug on his mahogany desk. The MIT graduate crossed her arms, said, “This is some bullshit” and left.

The Cornell graduate chased after the MIT graduate hoping to have sex with her.

Out the window the Columbia graduate glimpsed the Yale graduate crossing the street. Before the Columbia could turn around, he found himself in a headlock. The next thing the Columbia graduate was cognizant of was his elbow repeatedly striking out against a rigid object that he assumed was the ribcage of whomever had him in a headlock.

Amidst grunts and yowls, a bookcase toppled over and the wooden edge bruised the Columbia graduate’s shoulder, at the same time freeing him from the headlock.

Books were hurled. Pens and staplers and dust spilled and whirled. Footsteps retreated and the door swung open and closed.

A timid man of twenty-three stood before Haydn Jones’ mahogany desk with his chin hunkered down in his ironed shirt collar and sweat stains under his arms. He looked to his left and his right and his front and his back. There was nobody in the room except for Haydn Jones and the timid young man. He stuttered that he guessed he was the last man standing. Affirming the truth of this, Haydn Jones hurled himself over the mahogany desk and strangled the timid man with sweat stains till his limp body slumped down the wall and he fell sideways. The timid man of twenty-three had graduated from Bunker Hill Community College.

Haydn Jones lifted his coffee mug from the coaster, batted the cigarette ashes to the floor and gulped down coffee. He dialed Marcy Gallagher’s extension and told her that the position would soon be filled, inviting Marcy Gallagher out for a celebratory cocktail.

Read More By Jeremy Benjamin

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