Friday Fast Fiction: The Question Man


“Thank you for coming in today. As you know, you are one of the finalists for the position. I’m Ben Hefner, the vice-president, and I’ll be interviewing you.”

Chuck squirmed in his seat. The vice-president? Wow! He’d practiced most of the evening in front of the mirror: eye contact, the intelligent grin, and nodding in agreement.

“I have only two questions for you—all candidates have been asked, or will be asked the same two questions. Are you ready?”

“Is that question one?”

Hefner sighed, then grinned. “That’s funny. No one has raised that point before, but I actually have three questions. To repeat, are you ready?”

“Yes.”

“Nothing to add? Oops that would take us to four questions. Forget that one. Question two: What were you doing between 8 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. last night?”

“I was practicing my composure for this interview.”

Hefner started laughing. “You know my just out of college nephew in our human resources department up came with these questions and, frankly, they’re stupid. I should have practiced my composure because I’m losing it right now. And you’re supposed to do the talking. And I don’t think I can bring myself to ask you the final question. Do you want to hear it?”

“Is that question four?”

“You win,” said Hefner in laugh. “Do you want the job?”

“I will answer ‘yes’ to question number five.”

Two days later Chuck started earning $21 per hour entering raw data into a computer program. Two weeks later he encountered Mr. Hefner in the employee lunchroom.

“Hi, Mr. Heffner.”

Heffner looked puzzled.

“I’m Chuck the question man.”

The executive burst out in laughter which, in itself, would have been fine with Chuck. But when the vice-president fell to the granite floor convulsing with uncontrollable mirth, Chuck stepped back and looked for help

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