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GRAPE IS SERENADED BY GRAESON:
Grape is in her backyard at night. Her brother, Brad, has just gone off into the woods to collect plants–Brad is a huge botany nut. Grape is staring into the distance, trying to see into the woods when she hears something behind her:
“Fancy meeting you here.”
“Calm down,” the vamp kid from school said, his hands raised in the air like a victim. He had switched his purple shirt for a black one and slicked his curly hair back as well. “It’s cool. It’s just me,” he said and reached out to grab her shoulder.
Grape pushed him hard in the chest, making him stumble backward. “Don’t touch me. What are you doing here?”
He regained his balance and rubbed his chest where she’d shoved him. “I wanted to see where you lived. That really hurt.”
She slit her eyes at him. “I’m glad it hurt. It was supposed to.”
“That’s not very nice.”
Grape grabbed the lawn chair and held it above her head. “Are you a stalker?”
“You’re sneaking around my house at night wearing all black.” She readied herself to swing the lawn chair. It was pretty light and wouldn’t do much damage so she decided to aim for a vulnerable spot—his face.
“No. I just thought... I don’t know. I thought you looked nice.”
“Do I look nice now?” She gave the chair a swing, missing his nose by inches. She hopped back a little and held the chair up high again. He got one warning shot, that was it. The next swing would break his nose.
“I’m sorry. I thought this would be romantic.” He reached into his baggy pants pocket and pulled out an iPod with a little set of speakers attached. “I was going to play a song for you.”
“No. Really, listen.”
He pressed play and an unholy mix of instruments blasted out in a tinny blare. He shut it off quickly. “Wrong song. One second.”
He looked up at her with heartbreak in his eyes. “I just need one second.”
“Shoo! Go! Off with you!” She shoved the chair at his chest, driving him backward.
He gave her one last dejected look and walked around the corner of the house toward the street.
I Wish I Were A Shark
Let me start with a confession: I am terrible at job interviews. Some people say that but what they mean is that they get nervous or they feel weird about selling themselves. I mean neither of those things. I have actually said these words during a job interview, “It’s okay if you don’t give me the job.” Why? Because I wasn’t feeling great in the interview and, hey, why not be honest? Oh, because I have bills to pay, that’s why. Ugh.
One of my absolute worst moments in an interview did, at least, lead to an “aha” moment. It wasn’t quite an epiphany, but we’re not entitled to too many of those in one life time. Picture it, me with my theater degree and background in customer service and film work, sitting at a table with three lab technicians interviewing to be a...lab technician. I had recently discovered a love of science and a deep need to not deal with the general public anymore. The two led me to a corporation who shall remain nameless but let’s say that I would have been dealing with blood, urine, and fecal samples. Sounds gross but, at the time, I thought lab work would be amazing.
The interview had seemed to go well. I’d been engaging and forthright and had spoken of my desire to switch careers and do meaningful work. I thought I really had a chance. Then they hit me with the last question:
IF YOU COULD BE ANY ANIMAL, WHAT WOULD YOU BE?
I stared at them dumfounded. This was something you asked your friends as a joke or to loosen people up at a dinner party, not something a hiring committee used to find a new potential employee. Why not ask me what books I would take to a deserted island? Sheesh.
I sighed heavily, knowing that this was not meant to be. “I know I should say something like I want to be a work horse, but honestly, I want to be a shark.”
The three ladies looked at me, their smiles sliding slowly into disapproving frowns. I had just admitted that I wanted to be a predator, and not just any predator, but the one most feared by humans. Who doesn’t step into the ocean and, at least for a brief second, think they’re going to be eaten? Who doesn’t read the summer shark-bite articles with enthusiasm, thinking they themselves had escaped such a fate? If you’ve seen JAWS, you fear sharks.
The ladies thanked me for my time and I was released back out into the world, jobless and a bit disappointed.
But, I’d meant it. Being a shark would be so cool. Sharks don’t sleep. They’re always on the move. They live in the ocean and travel miles and miles. I like all those things. I don’t want to fly or swing from branches, I want to swim and swim and swim. Okay, I’m not super interested in eating raw fish all the time, but I’d adjust. I like sushi. Plus, sharks are mysterious. We really don’t know much about them. Except that they cost us jobs. We know that much.
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