New Year’s Revolutions
Brad Stanley woke up and hit his alarm angrily. Brad hated alarms. What he hated even more though – interviews.
Brad got out of bed and stretched – all six feet, two inches of him. Imagine a guy about 5’10”, and then a giant. The giant comes along and grabs Brad by the head and the feet and stretches him out until he’s about four inches taller. That’s how you get Brad. Long, skinny, stretched out looking. Attractive to some, I’ve been told, but the phrase to each his own comes to mind.
What’s my point? Background – get you to know him. He doesn’t know you, but you’re not about to tell him a story, are you? You could I guess, let me know how it works out for you.
Today was a big day for Brad, he was going in for a job interview. Want to hear about this job? Some job.
Top secret stuff I can’t even pretend to pretend I know about it. That doesn’t make sense. Phrases that don’t make sense to the world are the kind of phrases that make sense to the people that have this kind of job. Yeah, some job.
CIA, NSA, one of those. It’s one of those. Brad knows which one it is, does he really?, as he heads out the door of his nice little condominium. Some word.
He’s only just graduated college but he was selected because somebody knows him who saw some potential and knew Brad was smart and relatively athletic and had the look they wanted.
Part of being a top-secret, what the hell do you do? I’d tell you what the hell I did if I knew but I don’t that’s how secret things are, agent kind of job is having the look they want. You need to be a certain kind of guy, have a certain kind of personality, have a certain look. Brad’s look was pretty permanent. Tall, skinny guy. You could make him gain and lose weight and muscle I suppose.
But here’s the thing about Brad – I’m saying this as he glances at his watch nervously, driving along in his suburbia sedan – he was malleable. I’ll cut you slack if you don’t know that word because it’s not obscure but it’s not common, it’s for metals and it means that he can be shaped. See what I did there? I picked a not obscure but not common word to describe Brad. How would I describe Brad? Aw, hell, I don’t want to but if I have to I guess I’d say … well let me think about this I’d say he’s obscure but not common. See what I did there?
So Brad could be shaped. He shaped himself for fun sometimes. Like an actor, he’d pick a new sense of humor or a new style of talking (like how some people speak with certain rhythms). Only he didn’t have the annoying thing actors have which is being an actor.
Sorry Downey, Jr. You’re cool.
He, Brad that is, just yawned. He yawns when he’s nervous. Can you believe that? I sweat when I’m nervous and he yawns. People look at me and think, boy you can tell he’s nervous but you look at Brad and say how’s he tired! I would be so nervous! I hate that. They, FBI or whoever, they probably like it.
Brad just fake smiled and introduced himself to the secretary and she told him to take a seat.
Now it’s over for Brad. You don’t need to be Sherlock Holmes to see things are going on behind his pale face. You just take a look and you think uh oh. He’s worrying himself past the point of being saved. He’s a worrier. I’ll give him that. I’ve been pointing out good things about him for a while but now it’s time for the bad. How’s that phrase go? The good with the something. Who cares.
He worries, over-analyzes what he’s about to say, what he’s just said. Sometimes he’ll get stuck saying the same phrase over and over about ten times in a row. Then he’ll shake his head and laugh because what the hell was that? He better quit that habit or he’ll end up crazy.
Who says he’s not?
The FBI, that’s who.
Here’s something unexpected.
The room Brad’s walking in right now? It’s empty. Well, one chair. Three regular walls. One of those mirrors you can see through, tinted so Brad can’t see them. Some job, huh? Have I said that? I’m just saying, some job.
Brad sure looks nervous. Bet you wish you could see him. No camera with me. One thousand words later? He’s nervous. I’m not that good an artist. And unless you were into settling you wouldn’t be reading this (whatever happened to Dickens).
Brad just sat down, uneasily.
Is it worth mentioning the secretary said go ahead and sit down, they’ll start interviewing you in a few minutes? Because Brad doesn’t seem to think that was worth mentioning. The way he’s fidgeting and moving around you’d think that they left him out to rot. Just plain forgot about him.
They didn’t forget about you, Brad. They’re just letting you sweat. Or yawn. Maybe those NSA guys are in there watching him, seeing how he looks when he’s nervous? They’re so clever.
“We’ll be with you in a minute,” a voice says this over a speaker in the room. It’s one of those voices that have been changed. It’s way deep and creepy. Teenage prank phone call written all over it. Only this is for a job. The type of job where you don’t even get to see who’s interviewing you. I bet they switch secretaries every week and wipe the old secretaries memory. Some job.
Brad nods and does a fake grin, what the hell do you say to a fake speakerphone voice? I don’t want to be where Brad is right now, which makes me like him more. That’s probably bad. The good with the bad! That’s what that phrase is. Well, there’s my bad. Where’s my good?
“Any New Year’s resolutions?” The deep voice is making small talk. Is there more than one person back in the Other Room (capital O, capital R – so you can tell it’s Significant. I went overboard with the S, didn’t I?)? I wonder.
Should I have told you before that it’s two days before New Year’s? New Year’s eve’s eve – isn’t that such bull when people say it? But I say it too. Brad’s looking awfully nervous for such a simple small talk question. He’s going to fail this job interview awfully bad.
I’ll go slow motion on his face.
That’s another thing. He’s got an expressive face – unintentionally too. The worst kind of expressive face. His eyebrows practically speak sign language. I think I read about an African tribe who created their own sign language with their eyebrows. Brad could be an honorary member.
I made that up about the African tribe – but I bet someone already got a grant to research that. Best of luck, guy.
First there’s the eyebrows up, listening to the question. Then there’s the eyebrow’s down, about to answer. So far so good.
Then Brad gets stupid. Inevitability is human stupidity. Put that on a t-shit and go out drinking and laugh at how clever it is and don’t realize the irony as you pick up the girl with ocular herpes.
Brad starts to debate. What the hell’s he debating? He’s debating all right though, I know that.
“Ah …” Brad says quietly.
He’s stalling. He’s gone ahead and started to form about fifty different answers but can’t choose one. Why can’t he choose an answer? Lose weight. Get fit. Meet a gal. Read a book. Whatever. Is he really over analyzing this small talk question?
Lose weight? CIA guy says, “actually we want you to gain weight.” I guess I’m saying I could see Brad not wanting to say the first thing that comes to mind. This is the CIA – they might be tricking him with every question and doing five thousand subversive personality tests. Some job.
“Well, I guess … I’d pick Iraq … right now …”
I think I’ll let Brad take over. Here’s my style – stream of conscious. Here’s Brad style – irrelevant babbling nonsense. That’s another way of saying stream of conscious. But Brad’s better at it. My stream of conscious you can follow without thinking too hard I think, but him, boy you have to think hard.
What the hell is he talking about? Iraq is his New Year’s resolution?
“Just because … well it’s crazy out there you know … with the power struggles or whatever’s going on. No one being in charge of a country is like building a town under a bunch of boulders on the edge of the cliff. It might work out this generation, and maybe next, but your grandkids are going to be in some trouble.”
Brad starts nodding, trying to think of more to say.
This idiot heard a completely different question. Want to know what question he heard? He heard, “Any New Year’s revolutions?”
In every situation you can imagine you’d assume resolutions, but I bet until this story you hadn’t imagine this situation so you can’t really judge him too bad.
Let me reiterate what has happened. Brad’s being interviewed for a top secret job with a big government agency in these United States of America. So top secret a job that he can’t even see his interviewer or hear the interviewers real voice. Some people would hear about this and respond by saying some job.
I can’t blame Brad. Call me soft, but I can’t. Don’t call me soft, I changed my mind. Brad heard the question about New Year’s revolutions and he debated then started to answer.
Thinking back on the slow mo I did of his face when he heard the question, I think he debated saying, ‘come again?’ or something like that. His mistake. Now he’s the goof answering some completely different question.
Brad had waited and heard no response about him saying Iraq. He’s starting to talk again, or I guess digging his grave.
“Um, next would be Brazil … which is weird I know but … well,”
You know I’ve never wanted to see the guys behind the glass wall more. Got to wonder what they’re thinking.
“not many people know much about Brazil. But it’s really beautiful, you know. And there are lots of trees. So, if we took Brazil … or if we got Brazil to be on our side … you know … installing someone who we can control … well, maybe we could put some wind turbines all along the coast except at some touristy places? Really get some good natural energy – which will help us in the long run.”
Brad looks down to scratch his head but for Lord knows what reason (dear Father in Heaven, what’s the reason? Get back to me) he’s confident now. I can’t stress that enough. Confident.
Actually I stressed that just right. Italics. Go figure.
He’s confident about what he’s saying. He has no reason to be but I guess he’s convinced himself that the FBI is pro-natural energy. Or alternative energy sources. He can’t see their faces, why’s he so confident? I’m starting to dis-like Brad. Where’s he get the right to be confident about his nonsense? No, I don’t know about you, but I’m getting some popcorn and am going to enjoy this comedy. Not even tragic comedy, just comedy. Maybe tragic comedy for you, but not for me. Maybe just tragic for you. Isn’t that weird. Here’s me laughing, and there’s you sad.
Wait, that’s another bad about me isn’t it?
“Then maybe Australia … because why not?” Brad laughs.
“No, I’m just kidding,”
He’s not only confident, he’s kidding now. Has he forgotten? Have you forgotten? What he’s talking about? He’s talking about revolutions – about overthrowing a country! Here he is joking. If this doesn’t work out I’d recommend one of those university case studies where they try to figure out why people are crazy.
“I would say … Columbia … get someone in there who will put a stop to all the drug trafficking because it’s really bad and dangerous … Ooh! Maybe Cuba!? I don’t know …”
Brad just stopped. He realized he just said, ‘ooh!’ about revolutions. Who says ‘ooh’ about revolutions? Fidel Castro, that’s who – and we all know how he ended up? With cool hats and a bad rep. The CIA doesn’t want someone like that, I hope.
Brad scratches his chin, his confidence has now come back in reverse and is instead making him more and more nervous and less confident every second. Some job.
There is a twelve, I counted it, second silence. You know what happened during those twelve seconds? The first, let’s say seven or eight, I laughed. Then something horrible for me happened which was I went back to being on Brad’s side and feeling bad for him. I don’t want that.
You have to understand, Brad’s weird. On top of that, he can quickly separate himself and not visualize things as he says them (this comes from having gone to an all boys high school where mom jokes were followed by him yelling, ‘visualize it!’ so that his friends would eventually laugh and cry and run away – because hey, Brad didn’t visualize it so no harm done to him. That’s probably something the NSA would like to know). Brad was talking all this nonsense about revolutions then without visualizing it so he was only thinking in a very bizarre, Risk board game, sort of way.
“I see. What‘s your favorite number?”
I’m kidding, the NSA didn’t ask that. Wouldn’t that be funny?
Should I bother to tell you Brad didn’t get the job?