“Do not talk with anyone. You can make eye contact and smile. Keep walking around. I know this is awkward and unusual. It’s a theatre technique.”
Selena stepped her right flip flop onto the student stage. It was a blue Hawaiian themed rubber flip flop with a big, white flower in between her first toes. Her toe nails the white rim of a pedicure. The center of the toe nails was covered with sparkling dust. The back of the other flip flop slapped her heel with a wet thud.
The tall, intense looking class mate with the full beard stepped out from behind the curtain with a solemn expression on his face that stared into nowhere. The chubby, short blond with the sunshine personality made a U-turn to avoid Selena. Selena turned her head. Her smooth, black, small-of-the-back-long hair flung around in a wave like motion. Selena looked over the other students walking slowly in random directions among the audience chairs.
“Everyone, find a partner. Do not talk. Look into their eyes and hold.”
The guy with the sandy hair that was styled in a big, blow dried wave on his head, eagerly stepped toward Selena. His body always felt low, because his beige khaki pants were dropping so low. He also had an oversized white t-shirt on that made him look even more droopy. He smiled at her in an approval seeking way. His facial hair was unshaved for three days to appear cool.
Selena looked into his brown eyes. He looked like he was thinking about a road trip, a marijuana bong, and advanced philosophy papers. He also obviously liked Selena. As the tension of the gaze grew, he escaped to steal a look down her body.
Selena was tall with perfectly round surgically designed boobs that were kept in place by a pink and purple plain t-shirt. The soft-combed fabric of the t-shirt snuggled around her athletic body and left a sliver of belly skin exposed. She was wearing tight daisy dukes with colorful stitching.
One could feel the tension in the room grow of being forced so intimately onto a merely acquainted other student. Laughter broke out in the far end of the room like a spring rain of relief. The silence of the rest of the room drowned out the sound until heavy tension hung in the room again. Selena felt like she was leaving her body hovering among the rigging, lights, and cables under the ceiling of the theatre. There was a “nest” under the ceiling with a steep staircase. That’s where the sound and light technician usually controlled everything. It would have been the only safe place during this exercise.
“Okay, guys. You can relax. I have timed this experiment. It was only 2 minutes, which probably felt a lot longer. Let’s talk about the experience.”
Selena burst out talk and was meat with eager faces of her class mates. Big eyes looked at her. She could see the respect in the eyes of a few of her female classmates with whom she was chatting before class.
“It was really creepy. It felt like he was trying to enter my soul through my eyes. I felt so exposed. It was like he was watching my face like a hawk to figure out any of my thoughts. I felt like I could not have a single thought by myself without him trying to guess what I’m thinking. It was a totally Nazi interrogation.”
“Okay, it’s very intense to hold eye contact. What did other people experience?”
“I just want to say one thing about what she said. I was mentally repeating Tibetan monk chants to send her feelings of bliss.”
“Okay, let’s talk about boundaries. We have physical no-touch boundaries in class unless the other person gave you permission. However, there are also energetic boundaries. You might have had the best intensions with your Tibetan chants. At the same time, it is very invasive to try to push specific feelings onto her. During this exercise, you were not allowed to speak. Before you do something like that, you should ask for permission first.”
The guy nodded. Most of the classmates were females. They gloated at the guy. They leaned their heads more forward to intimidate him and band together against him. A little girl hissed with a low voice, “I got that creep feeling from him as well.”
The teacher clapped her hands to snap everyone out of the intensity of the standoff: “It was a real pleasure to teach all of you. I’m glad that you took this elective in basic theatre technique to enhance your social sciences degree. This is the last class for many of you, before the graduation ceremony on Saturday. I’ll have 1:1 feedback for you up on the stage. Everyone else, please be quiet.”
A month later, Selena was quietly sitting on her dad’s low wooden porch steps. She gazed onto the front yard, the trees, and the suburban road. Her knees were pulled together to show of the lovely summer tan that covered her legs the whole way from the toes to her jeans mini-skirt. A cup of warm tea was cuddled in her hands onto her belly right under her boobs. There was a witty statement about the old president Bush on the cup.
Her father Samuel came out of the house, the fly screen swinging shut bahis firmaları behind him. His cups were carefully cupped around something that he was holding in front of him and guiding down the porch steps past Selena. The knocking of his Birkenstock’s quieted as he stepped onto the grass and under the tree. He opened up his hands over a thick branch with rough bark. He remained motionless gazing at the bark, towering with his tall, skinny body wearing that old flannel shirt with the lumber jack pattern.
“Rescued another spider, daddy?”
“Yes, it was just an ordinary house spider, a medium sized one.”
“Come here, sit with me like in the old times.”
He walked with a smooth spirit despite his aging joints. When he sat down, she side cuddled around his arm to snuggle into that soft flannel shirt and smell the familiar scent of her dad, the well groomed, showered, and deodorized old man scent. He pulled her close and swayed her body like she was still his little girl.
“Honey, I have some tough love to share with you. A social sciences bachelor is a great achievement. I’m very proud of you. (Daddy, just hold me.) But it is very hard to get a job. (I really tried.) You didn’t get anything at the career fairs. You didn’t get anything in the month after graduating. (You make me sad, papa.) You have to start looking at jobs outside of your field. (I know the guidance counselor said so to all of us.) Here is a newspaper clipping for something temporary. All I ask is that you go talk to them and give them a chance to tell you what they have to offer.”
Her pouty red lips rolled out even more. Her big eyes with the dark eye liner rolled even more looking up at her dad begging for not having to face it. He looked into her eyes with understanding, ruffled her black hair, and kissed her forehead. The little recycled paper snippet with the smudgy ink dropped into her lap, where the hem of the mini skirt was flipped over, because the steps were so low that her knees were higher than her hips. And then he held her silently until the orange fiery sunset disappeared into the darkness of the night.
Three days later at 10 minutes to 8 am, Selena was sitting on a hard chair with a token of upholstery in the waiting office of career services on campus. A little palm tree was in the window less room that miraculously still lived. A long list of alumni covered one wall. A poster for excellence with politely smiling post boy students was framed across from her. A busy, stern faced secretary labored with a stack of papers behind the reception desk.
There was a round faced Asian girl. She had a pin striped black suit. Her body and face was puffy like a puffer fish. One could feel how she was trying to hold in the anxiety and only kept puffing up even more. She was clutching her leather bound notepad tightly on her lap.
A young lad was sitting next to her. His blue shirt sleeves were so long that they covered his entire hand like a glove. The fabric was twice the size of his arms. Selena could tell his weak spot from her social sciences training. The sides of his finger nails were chewed raw. He tried to hide his fingers under his thighs. Whenever he adjusted his glasses, they looked horribly ruined.
Selena rose. She was wearing a tight pencil skirt. Her legs had to step in front of each other to have enough stretch in the skirt to make small steps forward. Her legs crossing in front of each other with every step made the silhouette of her butt stand out even more, like a bubble. The formal fabric stretched over her butt to clearly outline the thong stretch horizontally across her butt.
Her shiny black high heels were six inches high. The hard polished leather and thick platforms made them appear heavy like bricks. She swung them confidently in front of each other. Each echo of their thump on the ground made her grow taller with poise. She also wore her long her down the lower back with bride. A tastefully hand sized black satin blow adorned it.
“Have a seat!”
She coyly snapped her knees together to sit down in the hard plastic chair with her knees swiveled sideways to avoid pointing the tunnel that the fabric formed over her inner thighs at the interviewer. The view on the interviewer was obscured by the bright morning sun pouring through the window behind the interviewer. There were two interviewers. One was chubby and over forty, definitely the boss. The other was a couple years her senior. His face silently flashed a bright smile as a welcome that drew into a prideful look down on her. Both of them were in comfortable leather swivel chairs.
The desk was littered with pencils and notepad with the logos of different companies that used the university career office. There was a bowl of token thank you candies that looked like pure sugar with neon bright toxically chemical coloring. A whiteboard had illegible drawings that were permanently dried into the board in their partially erased state.
“Selena, I’ll be very forthright with this discussion. kaçak iddaa I work for People Power. We are a contracting agency. One of our slots is with Microsoft. It’s a one week assignment overseas. A big university in India has the interviewing season. We need a recruiter to go over there and hire some computer science graduates. Unfortunately, the hired person got sick. Now, we need a replacement that’s ready to fly tomorrow to India. Would that interest you?”
“Yes, I’m ready to go. However, I don’t know much about recruiting.”
“It’s pretty simple, because it’s mostly about human soft skills. You have a social sciences degree and should know how to talk with people. We acquired a list of top candidates from a professor at the school, who is working as a consultant for us. It’s not strictly legal. However, everyone does it. You surely understand that third world countries live by customs and traditions rather than the law.”
“Jeff over here will do all the technical interviewing. If he gives you the thumbs up, you have to get the candidates signature onto one of these forms. Some of the candidates might require a little convincing. That’s where your job comes in. Here is a spread sheet with the initial offer for new grads. The second table lists incentives that you can throw in. There is a point system for each incentive. You have a maximum of 50 points that you can spread out among your hires. So, you have to be smart about whom you offer incentive and who would sign anyway. There are some flyers about our company and company culture. Learn the key selling points and you are good. After all, you represent Microsoft, a top brand in the industry.”
“Okay. I’m a really good study. I have experience travelling. My passport is up-to-date. I’m ready.”
“Let’s talk about the compensation. We take a significant risk in paying for the flight and hotel. Plus, this is a one shot deal. If you fail to deliver, we have lost the hiring spree until next year. You have to hire 10 candidates, and you get six thousand dollars. If you don’t get 10 candidates, you get nothing. For every extra candidate, we pay you $200. Is that acceptable?”
“Yes, that sounds good. Can we change the flight dates, so that I can stay an extra week in India on my own money? I like travelling.”
“Not a problem. If you sign here, you’ve got the job.”
The two men smiled at each other. The boss man counter signed a duplicate and slipped it to her with one of the toxic sugary bonbons on top. Then, he slapped his aged and scraped leather brief case on the table. The fake gold hinges opened it like the mouth of an alligator. His thick, hairy hands with the big gold ring slapped a two inch high stack of money bills on the table. The paper was crumbled from use and made the stack swell high.
“You pay cash?” Selena’s eyes bulged huge losing her restraint.
“This is not for you. Let me tell you a little about the Indian education system. Indians are very competitive. They only send their sons and daughters to the best colleges. The college ranking is done by the percentage of graduates that get employed right out of school. So, the colleges require the students to take the first job offer. That way, the top students are hired quickly and the lower ranking students have more of a chance.”
“That’s a little too complicated for me. I’m more of a people person. Can you simplify that for me?”
“There is a fierce race between all the top companies like Apple and Facebook to get to the top students first and make them an offer. Because once they made the offer, nobody else can get them anymore. That’s why hiring starts at 1 am sharp.”
“Wow, that’s intense like the Paris to Dakar rally.”
“The administrators will assign you first for some of the top students. To make your quota, you have to poach some of the students that are assigned to interview you after the competitors. You’ll have to get creative. Say, you offer them a ride from their dorm to the interview with the competitor. Jeff here, can use the time during the ride to interview them unofficially. And if the driver makes a few wrong turns, you have enough time to close. It’s not strictly legal. So, I don’t want to hear about what you do to get them.”
“This money,” and he thumped the money down for dramatic effect, “is for ad hoc expenses to rent a car, buy lunches, and whatever else you need. You need to keep careful track of expenses and get me the receipts afterwards. Or the money comes out of your pocket.”
Selena’s hand reached for the Aztec coin amulet that she was wearing around her neck. The bronze coin flipped around her fingers. She scraped the skin of her décolleté that was tastefully kept small to only undo one button. The wings of her blouse were sharply ironed and starched. She felt the excitement of action and adventure welling up in her. A bright smile erupted on her face that bunched her cheeks up into two little bubbles.
“That sounds excellent.”
They shook hands. Jeff had been silent all this time. His kaçak bahis face had drifted into a sneer of disdain that was only lightly disguised by a fake business smile.
Tuesday, morning at 1 am, she was sitting with Jeff in an office somewhere in India. She did not exactly know where. The plane and cab ride had all been arranged. The Indians definitely believed a lot more in prestige than public spending cost cutting. The small interview office had elegant wood paneling. There was a bookshelf with leather bound books. The table had individual sheets of paper with the university insignia embossed and a water mark in the center of the sheet.
Sharp as a point, the door opened. The career counselor walked in the first candidate. It was a skinny boy. His face was so plain, nervous, and unrefined that he looked like a boy. His hair cut was plain like done by a mother. It’s hard to describe exactly what he had. It’s easier to describe that he had never been to a bar, tried to be cool, or learned how to socially behave.
Jeff took him to the white board. The candidate spoke slurred and hyper at the same time. Jeff talked about inheritance, depth-first vs. breadth-first, and CPU instruction pre-emptive reordering. They drew formulas and jargon on the white board. They argued. Jeff kept shaking his head. The candidate kept waving harder with his hands and spitting. Spit wads were flying without regard.
Selena sat with her knees crossed in her business pencil skirt, blouse, jacket, and those same sexy, black high heels. She tapped her toe in the air impatiently. Her arms were crossed in front of her chest. Her hair was freshly washed and neatly combed. Her fingers idly tapped her phone to update her Facebook status.
“Got my first hour on the job. It’s 1 am in Indian. Can you believe it! I have nothing to do. I’m simply sitting here, checking out Facebook and getting paid. One guy has a thick Indian accent that I can’t understand. The other guy is talking tech, which I can’t understand either. Be at the beach party in Goa tomorrow!”
“Selena, we gotta cut our losses. This guy can’t even program a toaster oven.”
Selena pointed with her French manicured index finger to the door like it was a gun. The candidate slunk out. She looked at Jeff with a cutesy-oops smile: “It’s not like I’m going to be seeing him again.”
The next candidate walked in. He was a short guy. His head hair was thick as moss. He kept his hands deeply in his pockets. His round glasses were foggy from his sweaty face. Jeff looked at the little guy with blatant disdain on his face. Jeff drew a grid on the white board. It looked like they might play checkers. He asked the guy to recursively do something to the grid. Selena leaned in hoping to at least understand a little bit. She looked with a quizzical face and her finger tapping against her full lower lip with the soft lip gloss and happy pink.
The little guy said, “I’ll walk a Fibonacci pointer.”
“You are an idiot. Get out of here!” yelled Jeff with his face red in anger.
The little guy was visibly shaking and holding onto the chair that was nearby. “I’ll walk a Fibonacci pointer,” he repeated.
“You are a genius,” Jeff’s face blossomed into surprised shock as if the ground had opened and swallowed a gas tanker that turned into a dragon to start blowing fire across the entire sky.
“Hire that guy,” yelled Jeff. He pointed with both fingers at the little Indian guy, as if he were at a ball game pointing at the genius that just did a home run.
“You are hired,” said Selena and slipped him two copies of the standard contract. The little guy smiled big, filled out his name, and left with the paper. Jeff couldn’t wait for the door to close to high-five Selena. Jeff’s sudden display of emotion was surprising. She quickly fired off another Facebook status: “Just hired my first brown faced geek. Nine more to go. Goa beaches, here I come!”
At 5 am, both Jeff and Selena had loosened up and warmed up. Jeff’s tie was on the desk. Two top buttons were undone on his shirt. The wife beater undershirt peeked out. Selena was used to the boredom of hanging out, while playing with her fun, waiting for her turn to slip the candidate the paper. They all signed without question knowing that they had to take the first offer. Five signed offer letters were face down on the table.
“Selena, we are down to passovers. We might get one or more two candidates if we keep going like that. It’s time to use that bundle of cash.”
“Okay, let’s get a car and driver to try that thing out.”
Excitement was flushing into Selena’s face pale from boredom. She jumped off her chair and strutted in front of Jeff to lead the way with her newfound power of being in charge. She stepped out into the orange morning light of a warm Indian sun with irrigated and carefully manicured garden. Her high heels tipsied swiftly down the wide stone stairs. She dialed for a driving service to come.
A black car appeared shortly later. It was a Toyota Corolla, not exactly an American limo. Yet, it was in elegant black and the driver wore white gloves. Selena slipped into the front seat. Jeff took the back seat. The driver wore a black hat and nodded knowingly: “To the dorms?”