The Last Interview by Virginia Revel

Tom is perhaps too keen to get the job in his latest interview; by Virginia Revel.

Tom arrived on the spot too early, so to kill time he circled the block, checking out the terrain near the business where he hoped to be working by the end of the day. His first lap brought him back too soon, so he made the round again, trotting this time because he felt so good. Energy surged through him, and a soaring self-belief. The hard times were over. He was sure of it.

When at last he was admitted to the office he walked straight up to the interviewer, grabbed his hand, and looked deep into his eyes. Invited to sit down, he said, "Well, I won't if you don't mind. I like to keep going. I'm ready to give every minute and every step and every thought to the company. I can tell you how to increase sales volume, how to streamline operations, how to make you number one in the city, or - hey, why not? - number one in the state! Number one west of the Mississippi!"

The interviewer gave him a thin smile and said, "About the blanks in your resumé -"

"That's nothing. Yeah, I've been ill, but I've got it licked. I'm fine now, I feel great, and I have so much to offer that I can't even put it in writing. You want to know how you can use me? Well, l can -" 

Tom was striding around the office as he spoke. His elbow came in contact with some files, and they toppled and began to slide. Tom darted forward and went into a crouch, like a football player waiting for a pass. "Touchdown!" he cried, as the files landed in his lap.

He paused for breath, and the interviewer cut in quickly. "Your last employer says he let you go because -"

"Trust me, I'm fine," said Tom, replacing the files on the shelf, some upside down and others back to front. "Listen, Mike - you are Mike, aren't you? - you can't get the right idea about me from my employment history. Sick sometimes, ok, but that stuff about my not fitting in is crap. So I didn't hang out with the rest of the staff, so what? I was thinking. I'm thinking all the time. I've got an artistic sense, too, you know, and I'm creative, and I've got to have an outlet for all that. Have you ever thought about what a really creative person can do around here? I'm always ahead of the curve, see, and that's why I stand out from the crowd. Have you thought about websites? Online appointments and advertising? Special deals for repeat customers? Improved design of the plant here? You can talk about cash flow and accounting and you can nit-pick all day about -"

"Lithium," said the interviewer, raising his voice. "You take it?" Tom laughed loud and long, and he had some trouble stopping. "Not any more! Only when I'm down, but now I'm sky high, and I've never felt better! I can go without sleep for twenty hours straight, and you won't find anyone else who can do that. I'll work any shift you want, and - and, let me remind you - I have vision. Vision, if you know what that is."

The phone on the desk rang, and the interviewer answered it. "Yeah," he said into the receiver, his gaze fixed on Tom, who was pacing and snapping his fingers. "Well, yeah, maybe. Oh, what the hell?" He hung up to find that Tom had both hands on his desk and was leaning toward him, panting gently.

"When faced with a challenge, I go all out. A tough deal? I'd welcome that, Mike!" crowed Tom.

"Right," said the interviewer. "Ok. You can start tomorrow."

"Fantastic! Outstanding! You won't regret this, Mike!"

"I hope not. Well, that's it."

"Okay, fine, right, I'm out of here. I know you've got stuff to do, an executive like you, but you can count on me any time, anywhere. Right now, even."

"Tomorrow," repeated the interviewer, and stood up.

Tom seized his hand again and wrung it, then skipped out of the office and onto the tarmac outside. "Whoopee!" he cried. A pedestrian near him turned in alarm and crossed to the other side of the street.

Ten yards away Tom saw his new workplace already buzzing with activity. There Tom would show them; there he would work miracles. Bursts of joy rose in him like firecrackers, bright as the company sign that blinked its message in neon blue and orange. "Mike's," it flashed, and then one second later, "Car Wash." Another second, and the whole sign blazed and roared like the finalé of a symphony. "Mike's Car Wash!"

Tom leaped and pumped his fist in the air. "All right!" he shouted. "All ri-i-i-ght!" Laughing, clapping his hands, and pausing now and then to cry "Whoopee!" he set off home in triumph, knees and elbows jerking to the rhythm of a joyful be-bop boogie that only he could hear.


  1. Funny and sad all at the same time - well-realised. the reader's left hoping that Tom's crash won't be too severe. Thank you,

  2. As Ceinwen said, both funny and sad. Ultimately the latter though. I’d like to see a sequel portraying the other side of Tom’s mood swings.

  3. Like Tom I laughed long and loud, only to realize that the next installment would probably be disastrous, and felt an awful hollowness. Perhaps it illustrates why some folk think that the word 'passionate' should be banned from resumes. Engagingly theatrical and a highly effective piece!
    B r o o k e

  4. I enjoyed reading this very interesting story. Thank you, Virginia.

  5. Ironic and sad. The description of Mike's car wash was a good reveal.

  6. I hope he can slow down and contribute.

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  8. This is a great story. Congratulations on a very memorable tale.

    1. Continuing on....

      This is a very interesting and energetic story - fun to read and enjoy. I'm not sure the interviewer's level of enthusiasm fits the character; maybe tone it down a bit, considering the nature of the job. Nevertheless, I enjoyed it very much.

  9. Tom is a great character and well-described. I was left wondering why they would hire him though.

  10. If you’ve ever had a job hiring other folks for a job, I think you’ll recognize Tom—or at the very least he inhabits your nightmares. It was an excellent reveal to disclose the nature of the company as a car wash. This is not the oddest interview I’ve encountered: once a degreed individual applied for a business job and brought his dog with him to the interview. When the interviewer asked that he keep his dog outside, the applicant became so outraged that he stormed out; his best friend had been insulted!