The Interview
Story by
Robert Winter

With a burst of static, Justin’s screen pixilated itself into a pattern of oversimplified rectangles, then resolved again into clear focus on Garrett Ridgemore.  A handsome man with an air of casual vitality despite his graying hair, Ridgemore sat at a sleek modern desk in front of a large window overlooking a lushly landscaped corporate campus.

“So tell me, uh, Justin, what have you got to offer Omnivore Enterprises?”

Justin swallowed and adjusted himself in his seat, hoping he had cleared the clutter of his apartment far enough out of the range of the camera.

“Well, sir, I’m hardworking, I’m a quick learner, and...”

His interviewer chuckled.   “No, not that kind of thing,” he interjected. “We’re looking for something more tangible.”

“Oh—sure.”  Justin cleared his throat.  “Well, let’s see…I’ve got my bachelor’s degree in business administration, I got the highest grade in my class on introductory statistics…”

Garrett waved away his response with another good-natured smile.  Putting his hands on the desk in front of him, he leaned in and gazed searchingly at the camera.  “What can you offer that we might want to eat?”

Justin drew in a sharp involuntary breath, his eyes darting frantically around the screen for nonexistent clues to what might constitute an appropriate response.  “I’m sorry,” he finally replied.  “I didn’t realize there was a custom of bringing food to the team.  Actually, I’m not much of a cook, but I’d be happy to stop off every now and then on my way in to pick up some doughnuts, or whatever…”  

Ridgemore tossed back his head in a delighted laugh, then forced his features into a more serious expression.  “Uh, that won’t actually be necessary,” he replied gently.

“Then, uh… I don’t get…I mean, what…”

He gave Justin a benevolently patient smile.   “Just tell me what you think are the most appetizing parts of you.”

The whites of Justin’s eyes became visible all the way around as his mouth formed an uppercase O.  His head spun.

As he struggled to collect his wits, he hit on the idea that possibly this was some sort of weird joke.   He gave a nervous laugh.  “So you’re telling me you’re all cannibals.” The look in his eyes, intended to be knowing, was in reality closer to imploring.