“Mr. Heartguzzeler?” Tricia poked her head into the break room.
“You can call me Jed.” the man enjoying a cup of tea and reading over quarterly sales reports looked up and smiled a toothy grin at the girl with the horn rimmed glasses and deep pink hair.
“Mr. er– Jed…” Trish corrected herself. She always felt intimidated by his presence. She wasn’t sure if it was the perfectly pressed pin-stripe suit, his deep gravely voice, or his square jaw, thick dark hair, and slightly protruding forehead that got to her. It wasn’t a sexual thing, as she always felt like a little girl approaching her father whenever she was near him. “Um… remember what we were talking about last week about my boyfriend working here over the Christmas holidays?” She noticed a definite shudder from the District Manager at her mention of the word ‘Christmas’.
“Yes, we will need some help over the… HOLIDAY… break.” If what she said offended him, he didn’t let it show for very long.
“Well, he’s here, and I was wondering if now is a good time for an interview?” she tried to asses how involved he was in what he was doing. “I figure it would be easier than trying to set up an appointment next time you’re in town…”
“Sure, that would be fine.” He pulled out a notepad and pen. “Go ahead and send him in.” he jotted down a few notes.
She pulled on an arm just outside the door and her boyfriend emerged, looking uncomfortable in his white dress shirt, that by the folds evident was obviously just purchased and disheveled neck tie. “Mr. Heartguzzeler, this is my boyfriend Lucas.”
“Nice to meet you, Mr. Um… Mr. Heartguzzel…er?” the young man nervously reached out his hand and the district manager stood to give him a firm handshake.
“You can call me Jed, too.” he smiled again.
“That’s a very unusual name. Where are you from?” Lucas asked, not sure if he was making nervous small talk or breeching serious interview ettiquite.
“You could say that I’m originally from down under.” Jed grinned bearing some fangs, then changed the subject. “Would you like some tea?”
“Um… sure?” he said uncertain of whether he really wanted tea or not.
“Go ahead and have a seat.” Jed motioned towards the break room chair directly across from his own. “Trish, you can stay for the interview, too. Since you’re a manager in training I want you to sit in on a few interviews to learn the ropes.” He poured some hot water into a cup and let a tea bag seep. “Would you want some tea as well?” he asked courteously.
“I”m good, thank you.” she motioned towards her bottled water.
Jed returned with the cup and set it in front of Lucas. Lucas tried not to stare too intently at the man’s strange walk. Obviously the man was slightly handicapped as he walked as if his knees were turned around backwards, and the way his shoes were designed, it looked like his feet may have been deformed as well–almost like the hooves on a horse or a goat. He looked at his girlfriend and she didn’t seem to find anything wrong with her boss’ appearance, so he let it go.
“This is obviously a formality, seeing as we really need holiday help, but tell me a little about yourself, Lucas.” Jed said as he took his seat again.
“Well, I just wrapped up my final full semester of college. Psychology major. Just have to present my thesis in the spring. The scholarship isn’t going to cover that last part, so I’m hoping to earn enough over Christmas…”
Jed shuddered again.
“…to pay for a partial semester without adding to my student loan debt.” He looked over to Tricia whose grin let him know he was doing well. “That and I want to buy her a nice gift this year.” He wasn’t sure if that bought him any brownie points with Jed, but it certainly did with Trish.
“Do you have any retail experience?” Jed intermingled his fingers together, leaning forward.
“Um, a little. I worked at Target for senior year in high school. I know how to stock shelves and run a register.”
“Well, we strive to have excellent customer service, is that something you can handle?”
Lucas now beamed. “Yes. I was voted employee of the month, mainly because of a letter this lady wrote to the manager after I helped her load a 36″ TV into her Beetle.”
“Very impressive.” the district manager said, scribbling a few more notes.
“I had to bend the laws of reality to make it happen, but I got it done.” Lucas joked.
“Believe me, we have to do that all the time around here.” Jed laughed as well but he wasn’t joking. “Okay, now the elephant in the room. I take it Trish told you some of the… requirements we have for our employees?”
Lucas took a deep breath before answering. “Yes. She did.”
“And you’re okay with that? It’s quite a commitment.”
“I’ll be fine with it. My parents are going on a cruise so there won’t be a family celebration this year. I can work straight through the holidays.” Lucas stated.
“We’ll have our own holiday.” Tricia added, carefully avoiding the ‘c’ word.
Jed gave the lowdown, “It’s not that we discriminate against anyone. We don’t. We hire anyone and everyone that wants to be hired that’s qualified, but there is a company image we need to maintain.”
“I completely understand.” Lucas swallowed as he built up his courage. “I really need this job, so I’m willing to do whatever you need me to do.”
“Cheers then!” Jed raised his cup into the air. Lucas met his with a clink, and, for good measure, Tricia added her plastic water bottle in with a hollow thunk.
Lucas drank up the tea. “Mmm… this is delicious.” He finished it in one shot.
“It’s a special blend.” Jed grinned.
“So when do I start?” Lucas asked, hearing a strange rustling sound.
“You can start immediately if you want.” he smiled in anticipation as the young man’s skin color turned to a brownish grey color as he froze in place. The entire surface of his body became very dry and brittle, almost the consistency of leaves in the fall.
Then, on the surface of one of the statue-like arms, a hole punched through. Small fingers with dark purple nail polish grabbed at the fragile covering and pulled it away, revealing a thin pale arm attached to that hand. Soon the other side broke free as well, and the two slender appendages grabbed at the chest, pulling away the dried cloth and skin, revealing a torn black halter top made of leather–black bra straps on the shoulder blades that barely covered modest, but very perky, breasts.
With the breastplate gone, the thin cocoon covering the head fell away, Lucas’s dried out noggin disintegrated into dust, revealing a cute round face with a small upturned nose that had a small silver stud in one nostril. Wide purple hued eyes with a slight asian slant matched the color streaks of purple intermingled with shoulder length, spiky jet black hair that swept in front of the chin.
As Lucas stood up shakily on much shorter legs, tiny feet arched in thigh high boots with 3 inch heels, hips encased in a leather miniskirt and various leather belts that criss crossed with little rhyme or reason other than they looked good on this cute curvy little body, she looked down on herself in wonder. “Wow… this is… different…” she said in a high lilting voice that sounded even younger than she looked.
“Tricia, we need to get her a name tag…” he paused, “…and a name.” he thought to himself for a moment. “Lucas…? Lucia…? Lucinda…?”
“Lucy, maybe?” the new girl suggested.
“Sounds right to me… Lucy it is.” Jed agreed.
“And just think,” Tricia said as she brushed away the remaining dust and pieces of Lucas that still clung to the tiny little thing standing in front of her, “with this experience, you’re guaranteed to ace your thesis paper now.”
“What’s your thesis on?” Jed curiously asked.
“Gender studies.” Lucy said with a blush.