So this one time a few summers ago, I got a weird phone call out of the blue from some random asshole I don't know. I had no idea who he was, and still don't. Here's a long (and maybe boring) detailed account of that conversation. I was unemployed and, after waking up at 1pm, I spent the afternoon talking to Jonathan (my cat) so I was pretty out of it when I got this call and just thought "fuck it... this is better than talking to Jonathan cause he's getting boring" (sorry Jonathan). It's basically word for word from what I can remember so just be aware that I am sitting on my bed in my pajamas bullshitting through all of this:
I picked up the phone. It's an unlisted number. I don't know who is calling me (I’m in red, he’s in blue):
“Hey…how’s… it … going?” (So far I still don’t know who this is. I don’t recognize the voice, but maybe I’ll figure it out in a bit. The guy on the line obviously knows me. He knows my name.)
“It’s going good. Real good. Ya know, just dickin’ around. No big deal. Gettin’ shit done. So listen, I was just wondering if I could ask you a favour.”
“Umm… sorry, who is this?”
“It’s Les. Anyways, so I put in this application for a job and I’m wondering if I can use you as a reference?”
“Umm, yeah, maybe… sorry,... WHO is this?”
“It’s Les! Les from Capri?! Come on Sophia, what are you having a brainfart or something? Jeez. Who is this? Haha… I can’t believe it. Your fuckin' crackin' me up”
So… Just to be clear, I have NEVER met anyone by the name of Les. Nor do I know anyone that has ever worked at “Capri” which I assume is Capri Films or something. So basically, I don’t know who the fuck this is, but he seems to really know me and thinks that I am, like, his best friend or something. He then goes on about a 'Rachel' that I am also aparently supposed to know… Anyways, it’s getting a bit weird. So then I start thinking that maybe I DO know this person and maybe I’ve just blocked him out from my memory for some reason and maybe I really am having a “brainfart” (his words) and I’m just being really rude by not acknowledging him. Actually HE is becoming more rude by the minute and I can’t seem to convince him that I don’t know him. Plus he got my phone number from somewhere, so what the fuck is going on?!? A normal person might have thought “I’m just going to tell this guy that I don’t know him and hang up” but no… I say:
“Cool. Glad to hear Rachel’s doing well.”
“Yeah, so anyways, fuck Rachel. But yeah...I applied to this job at Starz Media and I gave them your number so the guy might call. He’s probably not gonna call. I’m like almost 100 percent sure he’s not gonna call cause my interview went really fucking great so he’s probably not gonna have to check up on me or nothing, but if he for some reason does call, ya know… with their company policy or something, just give them a good reference for me. Cool?”
“So like, tell them I’m fuckin’ awesome and shit and a rockstar and that I’m gonna fuckin blow them out of the water if they hire me and shit. Tell them that, okay? Just don’t fuck it up. Tell ‘em I’m good, okay?”
“Okay? Good. Alright, well good then. So I guess I’ll see you later. Thanks. I’ll tell Rachel you said hi.”
“Yeah. Do that. Okay bye ...Les…”
“See ya, Sophia.”
And then I hang up. And I sit there thinking about everyone I’ve ever met and trying to place this guy. WHO THE FUCK WAS THAT?
The phone rings again. Out of habit I pick it up without looking at the caller ID, still in a daze.
“Hello, is this Sophia?”
“Uhh… yes. Yes it is”
“Hello, my name is Walter, I’m head of HR from Starz Media. I’m just calling about a former employee of yours, a Les Williams”
Oh fuck. It’s the fucking guy. From the job interview. Fuck. What do I do?Well, fuck it… might as well just go with it.
“Yes. Les. umm... yeah... I hear you’ve had an interview with him. How did it go?”
“Oh fairly well. He’s a bit of a character, but he seems to have the credentials. Now, we were just wondering if you could tell us a little bit more about him and what his duties entailed at Capri?”
“Yes, well… what did he tell you about his former employment? Just curious to see how former employees look back at the experience, heh…heh…”
“Well he said he quite enjoyed working there. You were his… Project Manager, it says here?
“Yes. Yes I was. Indeed. Project Manager. Managed a lot of projects.”
“Oh, which ones?”
“Oh.. you know… this and that… here and there… hard to remember them all, but yes. SO, back to Les. He’s quite a guy.”
“Yes, so how was he in the work place.”
“Well he was punctual. And always finished his projects on time. The projects that I was managing. You know.”
“Oh, so he had a creative hand on the projects? I thought he was just a PA?”
“Well yes, of course. He was just a PA, but you know… we at Capri like to give people we trust more responsibilities.”
“So what shows did he have a creative input on?”
“Oh, well… he didn’t really, umm… I mean he brought us coffee and sometimes he would make it flavoured. Hazelnut Vanilla. Or Something… That kind of thing…creative you know. But also he made sure the paperwork was organized and all. Just general stuff.
“Right, and what about his character?”
At this point I’m getting a little tired of this, but I’ve been going so far, I can’t stop know. So I figure, Fuck you Les.
“His Character… well… sometimes he’s a bit much. A little aggressive if you ask me. Sometimes he just doesn’t listen and keeps talking. And he’s a bit over-eager. You know how it is when you’re just starting out. Trying to get your hands into everything and get ahead in the business.
“Yeah, I remember those days… haha… been awhile hasn’t it?”
“Yes. I know I’m over it. It’s funny how kids can be so excited, then you do it for 25 years and it’s just another day on another job.”
“I hear you. I definitely hear you. So are you still at Capri?”
“Me? Oh… uh… no… it’s… you know… it’s been tough with this recession. They had to let a lot of the senior staff go because we weren’t getting enough new projects. But not a problem. I’m just taking it easy. Enjoying my time off with my kids.”
“Oh, that’s good. How many kids do you have?”
“Two. A girl and a boy. 7 & 9.”
“It’s good to have some time off during those formative years. Are you going on any trips this summer”
“Yes.. I think probably to the east coast. My husband’s family is out there, so, you know. It’ll be nice to be back there.”
“Oh! My wife’s too! That’s great. I would kill to have some vacation time this summer. Well listen, It’s been a pleasure talking to you and I hope you find some work sometime soon. Thanks for taking the time to talk to me. All the best.”
“Oh, the pleasure was all mine. Take care.”
And that was that. I had just bullshitted through two conversations with complete strangers and I think it went pretty well.
The phone rings again. Walter is calling me back. I can’t do this a third time so I let it go to voicemail. Here’s his message:
“Hi Sophia, it’s Walter from Starz Animation again. So great talking to you earlier. I just really appreciated your honestly. It’s rare to find someone that gives an honest reference. I don’t think we’ll be hiring Les for the position after all. But, I was just thinking about your lack of work and realized that we need someone, a project manager actually, for a new show we are starting in a month. I don’t know if it conflicts with your vacation, and I know it isn’t as exciting as film, but animation has its benefits and well, give me a call and we can discuss. We need someone with your years of experience. Thanks and take care!”
Obviously I couldn’t take the job because he’d figure out that I’m not in my 50’s with two kids and a husband, and he’d easily find out that I didn’t actually work at Capri EVER so, shucks. Would have loved to have had the job. Sometimes honesty does pays off. Except when it doesn't get you any money. Then it doesn't pay at all.