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“It’s an impressive resume man. I’ll give you that.”
Travis’ fake smile was glued to his face. He prayed to whoever was listening that the quick swish and spit he’d done prior to getting out of the whip had done a sufficient job of cleaning the tobacco out of his teeth.
“Yes sir, I’m a hard worker. Gotta take pride in your work I always say.” It felt strange calling a guy his age sir. He was probably going to do whip-its in the bathroom after the interview was over. A little ass-kissery never hurt anyone, though, so it was probably the proper call.
“Cut that sir shit man, we’re buddies.” Glenn flashed a genuine smile. “Says here you took a little long to get out of school but that’s better than half the folks who come in here. Some of them never graduated high school. You’re a little shy in the work experience department except for this…” Glenn squinted to read the company name “… Indivisible place in Atlanta. If you could get me your supervisor’s name from there that’d go a ways.”
Travis shuffled nervously. This was always the worst part. He’d always assumed folks would just look over the resume, assume there was a falling out, and roll with the previously submitted professional contacts. For some reason people liked asking questions. Nosy bastards.
“Well, si- Glenn, you’re talking to him.”
Glenn gave him a puzzled look. He also gazed longingly at the Coca-Cola logo on the other end of the Kangaroo Mart. Clarification was clearly needed.
“It was a start-up. I did tech stuff.”
Trav had learned a while ago that a mix of the band-aid technique and keeping it vague was the best method for getting this over with. Glenn obviously didn’t catch the brief twinge of shame before Travis slapped back on his fake smile.
“How do you think that transfers into customer service man?”
“It doesn’t you wet fart,” was what Trav thought. “I had to deal with customers all the time. Internships and at the company. I handled clients and dealt with money constantly.”
The conversation droned on like that for another ten minutes or so. Smiles and nods and assurances that he put the team first and had a strong work ethic. The typical drivel at any entry level job, from the high rises of Atlanta to the backroad gas stations of Carolina. The questions were always the same. The outcome varied. The dog and pony show always had to go on.
“Well, man, I’m gonna hold onto this and get back to you. Always a pleasure man. Let’s grab a beer sometime, man.” Travis fought the urge to crush Glenn’s hand like a dropped potato chip when he shook it.
“Yeah, a beer.”
Travis peeled out of the parking lot frustrated. Not only did he botch another interview, he had to find a new convenience store to frequent. This one was right down the road too. Maybe that cute girl with the lip piercing and the neck tat still worked at the Shell across the way. He could fuck that up too if he played his cards right.
His tie was already undone as he pulled into the driveway. Mom was posted up on the porch with a cup of Folger’s. She smiled in the way that moms do when they love their children very much but would rather not see them every day. “How’d it go?” she asked.
The fake smile was already back on Trav’s face before the question was finished.
“I feel good about this one, Ma. Pretty sure I nailed it.”.