Sidney closed his eyes and tried to focus. This was pretty much a nightmare. He had forgotten about the job interview today. If he had remembered he wouldn’t have decided to toke up in the employee bathroom. Of course, if he hadn’t gotten so high after he made the appointment, he might not have forgotten it in the first place.
Sid splashed cold water on his face and tried to clear his head. Instead he got distracted, watching the water drip down his forelock. Well, his eyes looked less red, but he still smelled of wet dog and popcorn shrimp. He looked around until he found the automatic air-freshener high up near the ceiling. Standing on the toilet tank, he stuck his head near the device and hit the button a few times. It was some candy-smelling apple spice crap; Vanessa from corporate probably chose it. Soon he was smelling like the gift shop at a Cracker Barrel and not like Sidney Finbar, 30-year-old stoner and unwashed loser.
“Sid, are you in there?” came Haley’s voice as she pounded on the bathroom door. “The guy is waiting in the break room for you!”
Sid shrieked and fell off the toilet tank, landing butt-first in the industrial trashcan, which tipped over. He was relatively unharmed, but unsure of where he was or why there were wadded up paper towels all over him.
“You okay? What was that?”
“Nothing” said Sid rolling to his knees and frantically shoving the trash back into the can. “Did…uh…Did he fill out all the forms?”
“He filled them out ages ago,” said Haley, admonition in her voice. Sid’s stomach twisted into a knot. He was always so careful to avoid his employees catching him smoking, but for some reason Haley was never fooled.
“Okay, I’ll be right out,” he said. He scrambled to his feet and yanked open the door. Haley frowned at him.
“I’m ready. Where is he?” mumbled Sid.
“He’s in the break room…like I said.”
A strange expression crossed Haley’s face, Sid only noticed because he generally liked looking at Haley’s face.
“The new guy? He’s…a little weird,” she said.
“Like pervert weird?”
“No… I dunno Maybe I need to be a little more broad-minded,” she added quietly.
Sid wanted to place a comforting hand on her shoulder, but restrained himself. “If he’s really creepy I won’t hire him.”
“Where is he?”
“In. The. Break. Room,” said Haley, shooting him daggers.
Sid rushed to the storage room, with a microwave and a 1998 model DELL, that was known to the employees as ‘the break room.’
The applicant was seated in a chair and threatening to break it. He was huge; like, ‘Biggest Loser’ kind of huge. The guy was a mountain in a dark overcoat, which looked way too heavy for the 90º heat outside. The guy was wearing a fedora. Sid blinked. He thought only Sam Spade and Indiana Jones wore fedoras. It was hard to see him; Sid never got around to replacing the bulbs that burned out. He tried to squint to get a closer look, but his eyes stung and watered. He mentally chuckled. A lot of things are burned out today he thought with a snort.
“So, you’d like to be an employee here at Blockbusters?” he asked the new guy.
“That’s right. I think I’d be a valuable employee here.”
“Now, keep in mind we’re only hiring for our late shift right now. We need to stay manned until midnight and I really need that to fit your schedule.”
“That’s fine,” said the guy.
Sid found himself growing nervous as the interview progressed. The new guy’s voice was unsettling. It was low and growly, but very powerful, like he was hiding subwoofers under his coat that were cranked up to eleven. Sid’s tortured eyeballs took in something else as his head slowly cleared: there were spiky protrusions underneath the guy’s coat. There was also a distressingly… animal smell around the applicant, like the elephant’s pen at the zoo.
“Um, do you have any experience in retail, er…Kyle?” Sid asked, picking the name off the applications.
“Well I worked at Barnes & Nobles for a while, Best Buy and I worked at the Furniture and Luggage section of J.C. Penny’s.”
“Any particular reason you’re not with them now?”
“I…er….you know…this economy’s really bad,” Kyle mumbled.
Sid noticed for the first time that Kyle’s powerful basso sounded unsure and timid.
“Alright,” said Sid with a shrug. Corporate had been on his ass about filling this spot, and it’s wasn’t likely Haley would have to work with him. “You start this afternoon. There’s a box full of polo shirts over there. Er...” Sid eyed Kyle’s bulk. “What size shirt do you wear?”
“XXXXXXXXXXL,” said Kyle, a little sadly.
Sid blinked. “Just wear a blue shirt then. We’ll work something out. Um…now we have a strict no coats and no hats policy, Kyle. Do you mind?”
There was a long pause, and what sounded like a sigh. Slowly Kyle rose to his feet. Sid Gasped. Kyle stood a towering eight feet over him, which made his girth even more awesome. With meticulous care, Kyle removed his coat and hat, and placed them gently on the now-warped chair.
“Whu-whu-whu?” babbled Sid, rooted to the floor in terror. “You’re an Ankylosaurus!”
“Euplocephalus, actually, but that is a type of Ankylosaur, so you’re not wrong.” said Kyle through bovine teeth. His large black eyes twinkled intelligently as Sid tried to control his bladder.
“But Dinosaurs can’t work at a DVD rental store!” Sid cried.
“Why? The rental store itself is becoming extinct, isn’t it? I think it’s appropriate.”
“I’m really very sorry,” Sid said, “but… I don’t think corporate would… Just… No. I’m sorry, but no.”
Kyle looked into Sid’s red eyes. Sid felt a pang of sympathy for Kyle as the dinosaur sighed, picked up his coat and hat and lumbered to the door. Sid, feeling very shell-shocked took the rest of the day off, sick.
The next day, the residents of Gainesville saw a strange sign on their local Blockbuster’s chain.
This photo courtesy of failblog.org