Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of “A Bird in the Hand is Worth Two in the Bush” (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (01/10/08)
TITLE: Predator in Disguise
By Betty Castleberry
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Jack had been looking for something better than his dead end job. Being an auto parts salesman paid the bills, but he wanted more.
He put the newspaper down and picked up the phone. A recording gave him instructions on how to proceed for an interview. Grabbing his car keys, he headed out the door to see what the ad was all about.
When he reached the building, a table stacked with job applications and brochures awaited him. The photo on the front of the folder showed a young couple wading in the ocean. Curious, Jack opened the folder. There were columns of figures inside.
A brunette woman approached the table and took a brochure. She looked at Jack. “Do you know what the job is?”
Jack ran his hand across the top of his head. “Sure don’t, but I intend to find out.”
“Me too. Good luck.” She picked up an application and walked away.
Jack took an application and filled it out. It seemed pretty standard until he got to the last set of questions. He found them disconcerting, but answered them the best he could.
A man emerged from an office in the back and glanced around the room. “Sorry I wasn’t out here to greet you two. We’ve had a lot of people in today, and I was seeing to some details.”
He shook the woman’s hand, and then approached Jack. His eyes were piercing, and there was something almost sinister about them. Jack couldn’t look at him squarely. He offered an oddly slender hand to Jack. “Who was here first?”
Jack spoke. “Me.”
“I’m Claven Wardsman. Please come with me.”
Something tugged at Jack’s conscience, but he followed the man into the office anyway.
Mr. Wardsman took a seat behind a desk and motioned for Jack to sit across from him.
The interviewer asked Jack for his application. He studied it a minute, then asked, “So you want to improve your status?”
“You aren’t happy in your present job?”
“I don’t hate it, but I know I could do better. I haven’t had a raise in two years.”
“If you should decide to join our team, you won’t have to worry about raises. You will have a steady stream of income that is probably beyond your wildest imagination.”
“Just what does your team do?”
Mr. Wardsman smiled. “I don’t give out details until I’m sure the applicants would fit into our team. Trust me when I say it requires very little effort from you. People are skeptical when I say that, but it’s a proven plan. It does involve bringing others into our team. All you have to do is live your life any way you want to. You’ll have people begging to join.”
“I don’t understand.”
“You probably noticed the photo on the front of our brochure.”
“Mike and Ella are a young couple who started with us less than a year ago. They’re already making enough income to cruise the Caribbean whenever they want to.”
A feeling in the pit of his stomach was prompting Jack to leave, but he ignored it. Instead he answered, “Does everyone make that much money?”
“No guarantees, but the potential is there.
“I’d like to go over some questions on your application.” He flipped to the back page. “You feel you can influence people?”
Claven Wardsman studied Jack. “I’m not seeing the enthusiasm from you that I would like. Surely the money sounds good?”
“Yes, but I’m feeling very uncomfortable.”
The interviewer‘s face hardened. “What are you having a problem with?”
“I’m already living my life the way I want to.”
A thought popped into Jack’s head and escaped through his lips before he had time to stop it. “Do you know Jesus?”
At that moment, Mr Wardsman’s cell phone rang. He excused himself to take the call. Jack left the office, then peered back inside. To his surprise, the office was empty. There wasn’t any way out that he could see except through the door where he was standing, but Mr. Wardsman was nowhere in sight.
Jack got his application and tore it up. With each rip, a flood of relief swept over him.
He left the building, silently thanking God for his boring salesman job.
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