“August 14th, 2011. Subject Benjamin Cole Hitchens. Alright, let’s begin. Tell me Mr. Hitchens, why do you want to work for the Central Intelligence Agency’s Special Activities Division?” the agent asked with a snicker, his eyes purposefully fixated on the lie detector’s outputs and not the strange applicant before him in a bright orange jumpsuit.
“Because, if’n I didn’t, you all was gonna leave me in the joint,” Cole replied with a grin, staring at the slightly older Caucasian man in a dark blue suit seated across the table from him. Cole lazily scanned the small room and he exhaled through his nose. “Ya’ll government people like everything painted plain white don’t you? It’s kinda boring. You really need a couple big ol’ fish mounted to the wall right over there or something...Buck’s head, maybe?”
“What the...?” The agent shook his head and slapped the table with his right hand. He turned his body to stare into the two-way mirror behind him. “Alright, I can’t do this!” the man said with a lop-sided grin. “C’mon, you guys are pranking me, right? I know this fellow has to be a joke.”
“Joke, mister?” Cole inquired, returning his attention to the lie detector operator.
“Where in the hell did you dig this hillbilly moron from?”
Cole glared at the man and then leaned forward angrily. The chains around his ankles reminded him that making this stuck up asshole pay for disrespecting him was not in the day’s cards.
Static. “Please, just continue the test, agent.”
“So, you’re not kidding. Wow. Fine, but it’s obvious this fellow is light years from anything Ivy League quality,” the agent said arrogantly.
Once more the intercom squawked to life, “He took down four Ivy League quality FBI agents, numerous local law enforcement officers, and was about to disable two ATF personnel when he was finally apprehended.”
“Don’t worry fella, I didn’t kill any of ’em. I just knocked them out. I ain’t a murderer, ya know?” Cole said attempting to reassure the clearly shaken agent.
“Ahem, well then, tell me about the expectations that will be asked of you by working at the CIA?”
“Hurt people and break shit?”
“Note, subject is not lying...” the man mumbled, marking the results on the machine’s output.
“Alright, provide me an example from your recent professional or educational experience where you successfully navigated an ambiguous situation.”
“Ambiguous situation...forget it. Describe for me a situation where you needed to complete a task and you did it in an organized fashion?”
Cole shifted in his chair, the chains tinkling as he moved. “Um, well, my wife’s daddy came down with this here coal miner’s disease and he needed medical treatment and it cost an’ arm and a leg, right? Well, I was owed some money by a friend...erm, ex-friend of mine. So, I knocked out two of his men, disabled his security system, made my way into his office, cracked his safe, and made off with the money...” Cole laughed. “I did it in less than thirty minutes, too. Anyways, I paid the doctors and got my father-in-law treatment. Will that work?”
The agent stared at Cole. “I suppose so.”
Cole grinned. “Cool, I got this ya’ll...” he said and lifted his hand to give the mirror a thumb up.
“Please put your arm down, sir.”
“Oh, sorry. Go on, mister. Next question.”
“Please describe an example of a time you were in a leadership role and failed. What were the lessons learned and your subsequent change of behavior?”
“Leadership role, huh? Alright, so, me and a couple other Virginia Free Militia guys were tapped to go run a shipment of AK’s up to New York. This was the first go ’round for me to be in charge. When we got to our meeting spot, some old warehouse, no one was there, or so we thought. I had a gut feeling something was up, so, I made the decision to split just as several motorcycles showed up and blocked our way out. Instead of being cool and finding out what was going on, I jumped the gun and pulled my weapon. Trust me when I tell you them bikers they don’t like that shit...anyways, my reckless bullshit got one of the men under my, erm, command killed and it’s something I have to live with to this day. It took the Militia a few months to mend relations with those guys.”
“Oh, come on, sir? Is this necessary?” the agent asked the shadowy men behind the mirror. “Do I actually have to read this next question?”
“Agent, this is the last time I will say this, continue with the questioning,” the voice behind the mirror commanded.
“Yes, sir. Sorry.”
“Look fella, I don’t like you too much either, if that’ll make you feel any better.”
“Subject not lying...” The agent sighed and marked the machine. “In what ways have you recently or currently served others?”
“I put some change in one of those bucket things on the counter at a convenience store?”
The agent slapped his hands on the desk’s surface and laughed aloud. “Seriously?”
Static. “That’s enough, thank you agent.”
Cole grinned and politely jutted his hand out for the man to take it. “I appreciate your time, too, mister. Did I pass?”
The man stared at Cole as if he were an alien.
Cole retrieved his hand and shrugged. “Aiight, no problem.”