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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "A Man is Known by the Company He Keeps" (without using the actual phrase). (01/31/08)

TITLE: The Interview
By Kori Philipp


While riding in their car on the way to the restaurant, Steven seemed a bit fidgety. He apparently had something to say, but he just didn’t know how to say it. Emily noticed, even before they left home, that Steven’s mind was preoccupied. She figured it probably had something to do with his job interview earlier that day, but she wanted him to bring it up first, so she didn’t ask. Just then, Steven broke the silence and blurted out, “I really want this job, Emily!” There was so much excitement in his voice she jumped in her seat.

Now I can ask questions, she thought, right after she gave her heart a moment to recover from Steven’s startling announcement. “So, how’d the interview go today?” she asked.

“It was good,” Steven answered. “I was really impressed with the company. They have quite a reputation for putting family values and good morals first in their advertising. That’s something that’s hard to find anymore, especially in a company that size, and especially in the advertising industry.”

Steven had worked for several smaller advertising companies in the area, but this one was much larger and well known around the world. This could be his chance to shine.

Still driving, he began to drift off into his own thoughts. Emily spoke, but Steven didn’t seem to hear her. She said his name again, “Steven?”

“Oh, I’m sorry. I guess I was daydreaming about the new job. Did you say something?”

“Yes, honey, I did. I said we just missed the turn off for the restaurant.”

Steven carefully turned the car around and drove back up the street, and into the parking lot. Once inside the restaurant, they saw their friends, John and Charlene, whom they were meeting for dinner. They were already sitting at the table. “We are with that couple over there,” they told the waiter.

“Right this way.”

As they pulled out their chairs to sit down, Steven noticed a gentleman he recognized from his interview, sitting at a table near them. The gentleman noticed Steven as well and waved. Steven returned the gesture and then leaned over to Emily to tell her who he was waving at.

“Where…?” “Oh yes, now I see him. That’s awesome, honey, that he recognized you too.”

“I’m a little worried now, Emily,” Steven continued to whisper in her ear.

“Would you please excuse us?” Emily asked.

Steven and Emily got up from the table and walked over to the waiting area near the restaurant entrance.

“What’s wrong?” Emily asked, in a curious and concerned voice.

“I’m worried that John and Charlene are going to drink too much again tonight, like they did the last time we went out to eat with them. We can’t afford to have that happen tonight, Emily, not with that guy from my interview sitting right over there watching,” Steven explained.

“I know they can get loud sometimes, sweetheart, but they’re our friends, since high school. Let’s just give them another chance, ok?”

“Ok, I guess, you’re right,” Steven said, still somewhat hesitant. “I just hope their behavior doesn’t affect my chances of getting that new job. I don’t want anybody here thinking that we drink like that.”

“It’ll be ok,” Emily said looping her arm around Steven’s as they walked back to join John and Charlene at the table.

“So, John…what time did you guys get here?” Steven asked.

“We’ve been here for ohhhhh…over an hour already (hiccup) I’d say!” John’s answer was so loud, that their table started getting the attention of several other restaurant patrons, including the gentleman from Steven’s interview. “We just kl-illed a little time in the bar, til’ you-oooo guyz…z got here. We’re cer-ler-tainly feeling it now! Hey, waiter (slurp), wha-tever your name iz, bring my frrrr-iends here sommmm-thin’ to drink!”

“No thanks, John, we’re good. We don’t want anything.”

Things went from bad to worse. What Steven had hoped would not happen, did. John and Charlene ended up calling a cab to take them home. But that wasn’t until they were escorted out of the restaurant first.

Steven received a phone call from the advertising company the next day. “I’m sorry, but we are really looking for someone whose lifestyle will be represented in their work; someone who will more closely match our company’s values. I’m calling to let you know that we’ve chosen another candidate. We will keep your resume on file.”

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Member Comments
Member Date
Laury Hubrich 02/07/08
Very well-written story. It was highly engaging, too. Good job and you were right on topic!
Hanne Moon 02/09/08
Good story and dead on topic. Your dialogue is great. Keep up the good work!
Karen Wilber02/12/08
You nailed the topic with this well crafted story. Very readable, with a likable main character. You made me empathize with him through his various emotions. It hurt that he didn't get the job - but that's the way the proverb crumbles. Keep on writing!