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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Employment (01/26/12)

TITLE: Fluffy One!
By Allison Egley
02/01/12


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Joanne looked at the paper before she when to get the applicant from the reception area. This could be an interesting one. The referral was from the Probation and Parole Office. "Lucas Thompson? You can come on back," Joanne said, looking to the man in the reception area. Lucas got up and followed her back to her office.

"Hello. I'm Joanne Edwards. I'll be your Occupational Recovery Counselor. Occupational Recovery is an agency that partners with other agencies to help people with disabilities find jobs. Why don't you have a seat, and start off by telling me a little bit about yourself?" Joanne began, taking a seat behind her desk.

"Well, first off, you're beautiful," Lucas began.

Joanne's cheeks grew hot. "Uh... Well. Thank you," she stammered. She wasn't exactly used to being called "beautiful." Especially by ex-cons.

The interview continued. "Can you tell me how your disability makes it difficult for you to work?"

"You have a nice spirit," Lucas said.

"Uh... Thank you," Joanne said, once again. She wasn't quite sure she liked where this was headed.

"You know, after being in prison, now that I'm out, I need to hang out with people with nice spirits," Lucas continued.

"Uh huh..." Joanne nodded her head, hoping the fear didn't reach her eyes.

"Would you like to go on a picnic with me?"

"No."

"I mean, not right away. After awhile."

"No. And that is not an appropriate thing to ask."

"I'm sorry. I won't ask again."

The interview concluded. "Well, I'll be in touch with you, Mr. Thompson, and we'll come up with a plan to help you find employment, and discuss which service provider you'd like to work with. Look for a letter in the mail with the date and time for your next appointment."

*******

"Hello again, Mr. Thompson. Let's discuss your plan for employment."

"Did a cat bite you?" Lucas asked, pointing to a band-aid on Joanne's hand.

"Uh... no. I have a bad habit of picking at my skin." Trying to make conversation, she continued, "But I did have a cat once that bit me in the ankle hard enough to draw blood."

"Really?!" Mr. Thompson went on and on about cats.

"Uh... Lucas? Mr. Thompson? Can we please continue with this meeting?"

"Oh, I'm sorry. Sure. Go ahead."

"Thank you." Joanne and Lucas continued to discuss different options, and decided to work with a service provider who also provided training, to help Lucas get into a new vocation.

"I want a fluffy one." Lucas said.

"Uh... what?"

"A cat. I want a fluffy one."

"Okay then. Well. We've decided which agency you'll be working with. They'll be in contact with you to set up an appointment time for their assessment. I'll be in touch with you again after that."

*******

Joanne walked into the office, and the secretary gave her a knowing glance. Joanne stopped dead in her tracks. "Oh no. Not Lucas again?"

Alice nodded.

"Just when things were looking up for him, he lost that job, and then he threatened his former employer... And did you know he found my home number and called me at my house the other night?"

"Nu uh," Alice said, shaking her head in disbelief. "I think you'd better listen to this message he left on the voice mail last night."

Alice put the phone on speaker, and played the message. Lucas' voice came through, growing louder and more agitated with each complaint.

And I’m not going to take responsibility for my own actions until you find me another job. You hear that?

Joanne looked at Alice, shaking her head. "Well then, you won't be getting a job, I hate to say."

Alice turned to Joanne. "Somehow, I think Mr. Thompson has some more problems besides a broken leg that didn't heal correctly..."

Joanne chuckled. "You think? Now if only we could get him to see that."

************

Author's note:
This story is based on actual accounts from my job, all personal encounters, except the last, which came from a coworker. To fit better with a cohesive story line, the various events have been combined into one character, though the three events were actually three separate people. All names, including the agency name, have been changed to protect privacy.


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This article has been read 251 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/02/12
I liked this. It was nice to know they were based on true stories (and a bit scary) I was scratching my head that being an ex-con qualified him to work with an agency that helps people with disabilities get a job. (though I did see mention of a broken leg and wondered if that was it) It does sound like you have a fascinating job!
Amy Michelle Wiley 02/02/12
Hehe, I think I know who wrote this. Ug, glad I don't have that guy always at my work!
CD Swanson 02/03/12
Sounds like a very busy agency and very interesting! Nice job.
God bless~
Terry R A Eissfeldt 02/06/12
At first I thought this was humorous - is that a bone in the leg? LOL
And it was in parts - thankfully because it balanced the seriousness of the situation well.
Shell Vera02/10/12
I enjoyed reading this excerpt. I could feel the character's cheeks getting hot and her agitation with the questions. To improve it if you turned it into something larger, I felt that it could have been closed differently. Perhaps not bringing in the anger but closing with him finding a way to handle the interruptions and fleeting thoughts. I like that it was humorous and serious simultaneously. Thank you for sharing.