Chapter eleven: the job interview.
When we arrived I left Azul in the parking lot while I approached the tent. He have me an encouraging nod and waved.
I went inside just as Mr. Gone was ordering someone to sweep the spilled popcorn on the ground. I wondered if they already got a new popcorn seller.
“Um, excuse me, sir, my name is Rosanna and I was wondering if you could give me a job here.” The night before, I had planned out what my fake name would be. I also spoke in a softer, shyer accent than my “regular” self would have.
“Well, if you are open to a popcorn selling job that would be wonderful. Ever since I fired the other one I’ve had to sell popcorn myself. Nasty little thing she was.”
I was kind of shocked to hear that he was referring to me, or rather, my other me as a nasty little thing.
“Well, I am so sorry sir, but I am allergic to corn and even if I smell or touch it I get an allergic reaction.”
“Oh dear.” Mr. Gone sighed. “Well, I suppose we could fit you in somewhere. Why don’t we sit down for a cup of coffee at the coffee shop here? They have rather nice black tea as well.
I hated coffee, but what choice did I have? And, I was lying... this was literally the first time I had ever made a lie! Gosh, I must really want this job.
Mr. Gone owned a bright red sports car. I sat in the back seat because if I sit in the front seat I might get carsick. Not because of the view, because Mr. Gone smokes. A lot. So I just held my breath all the way to the coffee shop, where Mr. Gone threw away the cigarette because of the NO SMOKING sign on the door. Thank goodness.
Once inside Mr. Gone ordered two black coffees with extra sugar. While we waited we began talking about what work I would do, how much pay I would get, etc.
“So, Rosanna, what jobs do you have in mind?”
“I’ve always wanted to be an acrobat, or a juggler even. Mostly an acrobat.”
“Hmm. Do you have any experience at all?”
“I’ve climbed a few times, but that’s about it.”
“Well, you look rather skinny and short, not a very good build for an acrobat. How old are you?”
“Eighteen.” I said. I decided to fake my own age as well. It was so strange, being able to lie in front of Mr. Gone when I couldn’t even tell him that there was no such thing as a man with a blue beard. What was happening? I was sort of changing, and I was not sure I liked it.
“Aren’t you a little too young for that, dear?” he chuckled.
“No. I finished high school and I am stronger than you think. With a little training, maybe I could be good enough.”
Then our coffees arrived. This was easily the hardest part of the meeting, as I hate the taste of coffee and gag when I drink it. So I had to satisfy Mr. Gone by taking the tiniest sips possible. It was honestly disgusting.
If you have never tasted coffee, then I advise you to not. Some people love it, but if you think you won’t, don’t bother trying it. It’s bitter and gross and disgusting.
After we (or rather, Mr. Gone) had finished drinking, he said:
“Well, maybe we could train you up a bit. However, you do know that these training sessions will cost money. Since you are so young I will give you a 25% discount. That leaves you to pay me $15 every time we train you. Alright?”
“Alright. When do I start?” I asked excitedly.
“In three days, once we’ve finished packing up to go to Switzerland. Be sure to pack up as well. Good day.”
Once I got out of the coffee shop, I realized something: I had no money to pay for those acrobat lessons. I was so disappointed that I felt like crying. Now my dreams were shattered once and for all.
I found Azul right where I left him, in the parking lot. I told him everything that had happened and all he did was hold up three fingers. I was confused.
“Um, three time’s the charm?” I guessed. He shook his head. He held up three fingers again.
“Um, three something?” I asked. He nodded. Then he pointed to the sun. Then he pretended to fall asleep.
“Um, three… days!” he nodded. Then he pointed to me.
“I know I have three days.” I said. “But that’s not enough time to make about two hundred dollars.” Azul nodded. No matter what he said I couldn’t make enough money for enough lessons.
Or maybe I could…