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Positions Available, Part 2


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Silberman's Books. Wednesday, Novermber 30th, 2016. 11:00 am


Even though it was probably her riskiest hire ever, Lynn was optimistic about hiring Merge; coverage would not be much of a problem anymore, and she felt that once she adjusted her groove a bit to match the tone of the store, the colorful duplicator would bring a lot to the team. But as tempting as a full staff of Merges was (Oh, the looks on the faces of the old Jews of the neighborhood; it would almost  be worth  it!), the changeling knew she still needed a few more warm bodies.


The store was starting to slow down a bit from the morning coffee-and-danish rush, but a handful of regulars were still sipping their coffee. Maddy had the morning off, so it was Lance and Gretchen behind the bar/counter while Lynn walked the floor; today, she wore green curly toed shoes, a bright green sweater and comfy jeans under her brown Silberman's apron, all topped with a red Santa hat and a pair of cute 'elf ears' (nudge nudge, wink wink). The store was decorated in old-fashioned Christmas decorations, including a big Scotch pine covered in lights, and a train set chased itself around the table in the children's section.

Edited by Heritage
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Elias showed up.  He was good at being there, even where there is undefined.  He shifted as his bike coasted by the door, standing on one pedal, before coming a stop before the little bike rack and stepping off and then guiding it in.  In a couple moments he had the bike locked up, and undid the little velcro band wrapped around his calf to hold up a pant leg.  He straightened himself to some degree before he moved to the front door, pulling a folded piece of paper out of the front pocket of his hoodie.


He had on a bright blue windbreaker on, over a heather grey hooded sweater, his messenger backpack strapped over both.  A pair of black reinforced jeans, and combat boots to complete the whole ensemble.  Though in his defense, today they were all arranged nicely.  Mostly.  He stepped into the place and stopped, blinking his bright eyes and taking all in.  It was habit, often times a little unnerving, but it was habit.


After a moment, he walked up towards the people in 'uniform' and with that severe expression on his face, and asked in that accented voice of his that could be Canadian, could be South African, it was hard to say, "I am here about the the help wanted ad?"  Holding the folded copy from the nickel-ads in his hands, fidgeting and slowly rotating the square of paper there.  

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"Oh, great, thanks for coming in," said the woman wearing the elf ears; she was quite beautiful, really, and somehow looked like she could pull off those ears year round. She offered up a firm handshake and a warm smile. "I'm Lynn Epstein, the owner; why don't we step into my office?" She looked over to Lance and Gretchen. "You guys be okay out here?"




"We're good."


"Cool, cool; follow me...I'm sorry, what's your name?"


The store's office was small and seemingly crammed full of books; shelves made of heavy wood covered all four walls, and a massive matching desk also bore stacks of them. There was also a somewhat dated desktop computer and a green-shaded banker's lamp, as well as a candy dish full of fun-sized chocolate bars. In addition, thrre were odds bits of bric-a-brac on various shelves, and an antique pair of firearms, a revolver and a lever-action rifle, were mounted to the wall above the desk.


"Please, have a seat, and help yourself  to some candy," said Lynn as she indicated a pair of leather guest chairs. She herself sat in a huge, high backed swivel chair behind the desk which matched the guest chairs. "Tell me a bit about yourself." 

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He took her in, in a way that seemed like he always looked a little too hard.  Judging from the way his gaze shifted to the other people as she addressed him.  Then he blinked, and he seemed to visibly relax.  "Yes."  And he followed after her.  "E-lias Silvestri."  As he moved, he unbuckled the messenger bag, and let it slide down into his grasp.


His head tilted to the side as he looked around the room, until she spoke, and he moved into the chair without looking at it, and eventually his head turned back to her and his gaze settled back at her.  "No thank you."  His voice distant and monotone, though surprisingly deep for his size.  "I was most recently working as a bike messenger, until I got injured.  Beyond that, I had to deal with... immigration, I am from Toronto, originally.  I had a side job in high school working for a sandwich shop.  I plan to start picking up classes at the college, once I am able to."

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Lynn nodded thoughtfully as Elias described his previous experience, her ridiculous hat bobbing as she did so; so far so good, though of course all the immigration paperwork had to be in order. It was encouraging to hear he had some previous experience, especially a job that required you to operate without direct supervision for hours at time.


"My first real job was as a bike messenger; it's a good job for a kid, with all the freedom and exercise. Also a great way to learn a new city. Do you have family in the area, or are you on your own? Oh, and would your injury proclude you from any kind of lifting or turning?"

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He frowned,  it was a small expression on a severe face, as he looked at the woman.  He looked young, and was maybe twenty, if he had a day.  "I've been here a little while."  It was a pretty flat statement, but it was true, he had been here... what 5 years? Almost.  Seemed as much.  "I am alone... I have a roommate, though.  No, I can lift, and turn and all of that."


His papers were taken care of, as far as he knew.  He shifted a little bit in the seat, gripping at the arms and scooting like it made the small of his back uncomfortable.


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Lynn swallowed; had she struck a nerve? She sensed there was perhaps some hidden pain related to his family, either estrangement or even a loss of the boy's parents. Of course, assuming his paperwork was in order, it was 100% not her business, so she decided to move on. 


"Do you have a resume with you? If not, it's okay; we can always have you fill out one of the genetic applications. We're looking to fill two different kinds of positions, sales floor and coffee bar; both require a great deal of customer interaction, but the skill set is a bit different. Can you tell me a bit about the sandwich shop? Was it busy, and did you mostly do register, or did you help make the sandwiches?"

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He shifted the backpack into his lap, and unzipped it, before looking down and pulled out a folder, he opened it up, with drawing a resume printed on parchment style paper, with a green card, and food handler's permit clipped onto the one page thing,  He slide it across the table, and then added his passport as well.  It all looked in order.


"I worked on the weekends and some evenings.  It was busy during lunch and dinner rushes.  I worked both, and both positions."  He tone matter of fact as he looked at her for a moment.  If he was bothered by her inquiry, he didn't show it, and didn't broach it in the slightest.

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Lynn quickly scanned the documents and nodded. "Great! Having this is a plus," she said as she held up the permit. "Well I have to say, you're actually one of the most qualified people I've seen apply. How would you feel about training to be a barista? I think a lot of the skills you learned at the sandwich place would transfer, and Gretchen and Lance are both really good, so you'd be learning from the best."


She set his documents aside as she continued. "I start people at twelve an hour, which is well above the New Jersey minimum wage; you also get to split tips with whoever's working bar, and we offer decent benefits, too. Are you interested?" 


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There was a moment, his nose crinkled briefly, but he nodded.  The resume stating he was a high school graduate, specifically of Claremont Academy, not that he was valedictorian or anything special like that, listed the places, the references.  "I feel fine with that."  He said it simply, with that same deep, sonorous tone, at odds with his average height.   It made him seem older than he was.


"I can start as soon as you'd like, my schedule is mostly flexible."  Maybe the Kline's would care?  But... he'd probably politely decline their offer.  He was self-aware of how he was, and at Christmas he was a downer, to say the least.

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The pretty store owner nodded. "Okay, there's just two other things we need to sort over; first I need to bring in my partner and make sure she's okay with bringing you on, and then there's...this other thing." She picked up her phone and called out to the front of the store. "Hiya Gretch. Can you come into the office for a few minutes? Yeah...yeah, exactly. Okay, cool. Thanks." She switched off her phone and looked back at Elias, her hands on top of her desk.


"Okay, so. I don't if you did any research into our store, but from time to time...things happen here. Usually nothing too crazy, but, well...this store was opened by my great-grandfather back in the Forties, and it's had a very colorful history since then, so..." She sighed. "Would the chance of encountering weirdness be a deal breaker for you?"


Meanwhile Gretchen stepped into the office just in time to hear this last question asked, and she stood behind and to the left of Lynn. The young man could now get a better look at the young barista (and apparently Lynn's partner); she wore a sleeveless black Velvet Underground shirt, which exposed her pale arms with bore what looked like tattoos of musical notation. Her ears bore many piercings, and the eyes behind her black plastic framed glasses were heavily made up. A pair of black jeans and some beat-up Doc Martin's completed her ensemble. "Hey," she simply offered; she cocked her head to one side, apparently waiting for the potential new hire to answer Lynn's 'weirdness' question.

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He shifted and squared his shoulders a bit in response to this, as his eyes flicked between them.  And then they seemed to snap into hard focus from Lyn and then Gretchen, it was not unnerving, but the stare was intense, and he was quiet as it happened.  






"It isn't appropriate to list on Resumes, but I have been held up before in my previous job.  I've also been mugged as I live in the Fens.  My injuries were collateral to weirdness.  So I suppose the next thing..."  He frowned, an expression that seemed to fit him so well, "... is to ask what the stance on self-defense is?" His brows raised as he looked back at Gretchen, though without the previous level of fierce scrutiny.




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In response to this question, Lynn looked somewhat worried, while there was just a hint of a smile from Gretchen. The two exchanged a set of very meaningful looking glances, almost as though they were communicating on some deeper level.


"Well, the state of New Jersey has pretty clear laws on self-defense, " Lynn finally stated. "And as an employer within that state, I would hope my employees would follow those laws. There are three things the law requires: that the threat be immediate, that it's unlawful, and that the force of the response be appropriate. So like, if someone tries to punch you, and you decapitate them, that would be seen as an overly-aggressive response."


"Just a bit."


"Here's the thing," Lynn continued, leaning foward slightly as she shaped her words through hand gestures. "Traditionally, an employer will always tell you that if the store is being robbed, you should do pretty much whatever the robber says, y'know, barring anything suicidal. Give 'em all the cash in the drawer, let 'em steal whatever they want, etc, because your life is more valuable than anything in the store and everything is insured. And that's true. However-" And here the store owner seemed to be picking her words very carefully. "I am aware that Freedom isn't like other cities, and that things happen here that don't happen anywhere else. And there are people here who aren't like people anywhere else; people who can do things, or possess special skills or training. I would hope that any such people who entered my store would respect it, its employees and its customers as they would in their own home. Because this is our home, in a way; actually literally in our case, because me and Gretch live upstairs." A short pause. "If they entered my store."


Gretchen took a step closer and placed an hand on Lynn's shoulder; it was protective, but non-threatening. "Does that answer your question?"

Edited by Heritage
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He sat there, looking from one to the other.  "You said there is weirdness.  Meaning either excessive sort of crime involvement, which isn't likely as Dee-oh-jay's information on this neighborhood puts it at 13% less than average for the rest of this part of Freedom City.  Or, what comes here involves something else, either empowered individuals or entities.  Given the proximity to Lantern Hill the chance of this being classified supernatural increases by a factor of ten."


Elias rolled his shoulders, "... but given the history and nature of this store, it has to be 'weirdness' in the latter category.  I still do not have issue."



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Please tell me you're not serious.


What, you don't like him? So he's a little intense.


'A little intense'? You cannot be that bad at reading people. This kid is a coiled spring. I think he might have knives under his skin.


Well, we can't not hire him just because we don't like him; there may be really good reasons why he's that way.


Yes, you can. You can not hire someone for a wide variety of reasons, as long as you're not discriminating against someone. Not hiring someone because you're partner thinks he's terrifying is a legit reason, I assure you.


You're probably right; I just...I just think everyone has a mom who loves them, y'know?


And his mom may be in the crawlspace under his house.


Suddenly Lynn cleared her throat as she showed the resume to her partner. "If you want to, uh, look this over-"


Gretch looked at it briefly before crossing her arms and speaking very directly to Elias. "Mr Silvestri, though your previous experience is certainly applicable, I don't think it would be best if we hired you at this time. We appreciate your time, and thank you for coming in."


"Um...yes, that's actually true. Thank you for coming in."

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There was a small smile on his face, as their little inner dialog played between each other, and he was nodding before the rejection came.  He even leaned forward to put his hand on his resume, gently taking it from Lynn's grasp.  Insistent, but not upset or... anything.  "Of course."  And then there was a note of empathy that didn't appear in his previous words, as he if he totally got how he appeared, and seemed accepting of the reaction he got.


Rising smoothly from his seat, he zipped and put the backpack back on.  He wasn't going to say anything further in his defense, but he saw the closing of Gretchen's posture, and the almost hostility.  He flicked his eyes back to Lyn, "Have a happy Hanukkah," then a pause as he looked back to Gretchen, "... and a merry Christmas."


"I'll see myself out, then."  And he turned and left the office.  Gretchen's dislike, or distrust, for him was writ as large as a billboard.  And he moved back through the store without a glance back, and out to his bike.  Where a woman in a navy pantsuit waited, and that did actually get a resigned sigh, a display of emotion, as he hesitated at the door for a moment, before stepping out to deal with that.

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"See, now I fell like s###," said Lynn as she threw his hands up in dismay.


"He was amazed he got as far as he did," stated Gretchen matter-of-factually as she continued to stare in the direction he left. "Usually they stop him at the door."


"Doesn't it bother you to be so cold? You're pretty socially awkward; how come you're not more sympathetic to a guy like him?"


If she was bothered by her girlfriend's estimation, she didn't show it; instead she merely shrugged. "I believe in protecting the few things I care about in this world. I don't trust him around you. No amount of sympathy is going to change that."


The changeling rubbed her face and sighed. 'I guess...guh!" She looked over at the young barista and shook her head, a sad smile on her face. "A tiny Terminator of my own; how many other girls can claim that?"


That elicited a coquettish little half smile. "And I come with so many labor-saving attachments."


"Oh, don't you dare- Ahhh, stop, stop!"


The tickling continued until morale improved.

Edited by Heritage
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