I couldn’t believe it - I was fired before I had even heard about the job! This was one more firing to add to the long list: fired from McDonalds for believing in ghosts, sacked from my friend’s Auntie’s solicitors business for looking up Tumblr porn on her phone, discarded from Coras Iompair Eireann for filling a City Imp with mannequins (so as not to have to stop for anyone), and snapped off the payroll of Pengiun Books IRL for publishing a novel by a woman without grey hair. This took the biscuits though - took them, made a cheesecake base with them, and flung them out a window of the top floor of the SIPTU building.
I had walked into the building brimming with confidence. I knew I looked the part. I had bought a white shirt in Penney, found my school tie, borrowed a pair of my Dad’s plastic nylon slacks, and smoothed a black sac over my runners to make them look “patent”. Gunning up the stairs to the manager’s office had made me feel, well, Real. I rapped on the door with a mixture of politeness, confidence and impatience, sweeping in with an air of enthusiasm when admitted.
‘I like working on my own and as part of a team’, I announced as I entered. ‘I also have a plethora of hobbies like walking, reading and going to cinemas’.
I sat down and introduced myself, before moving on to an account of my lengthy skills in customer caring.
‘You know this is a professional clinical hypnotherapy position?’ asked the interviewer.
‘Of course I do!’ I replied, utterly caught off guard.
‘It’s just that you don’t seem to have any qualifications.’
‘I do! I have a FETAC level 1, awarded by Raoul Watson.’
Beads of sweat were beginning to roll into my eyes and mouth. I had taken a few liberties with the truth here. I had a FETAC level 1 alright, but it was from a course I had done in standing still. I hoped she wouldn’t penetrate any further with this line of questioning.
‘Oh, ok. So what year did you graduate?’ asked the manager.
‘This,’ I answered, sweat pooling on my upper lip.
‘That’s very impressive,’ said the manager. ‘Professor Watson is a leader in the field. I think it’s safe to say you have the job! We don’t normally get students from the Watson Academy looking for jobs here! What’s your primary method?’
I shifted awkwardly, prompting a sweat-squelch from between my buttocks. ‘I don’t really remember.. We were learning so many things so quickly. The FETAC man was always there staring at us to see what knowledge was actually going in. We were under a lot of pressure..’
‘That’s no problem’ said the manager. ‘You did it so recently that you’ll still be fresh for hypno-recall. We require all our practitioners to undergo regressive hypnosis before starting anyway, so I’ll just pop you under and we can see what you went through with Professor Watson.’
‘Oh I’m not so sure that’d work. I’ve had a cold since then, doesn’t that cloud the memories?’ I asked, standing up slowly, but not quite to full height.
‘Don’t be absurd!’ she answered. ‘Now just sit in that hypnocratic chair there while I get the light.’
With little choice, I moved over to the chair she had pointed at. It looked a like a big black fruit gum. I hated fruit gums, they pulled your teeth out, almost.
‘Are you sure this is necessary?’ I asked. ‘What if I get stuck in a memory?’
‘Nonsense,’ replied the manager, taking out a little pendulated torch. ‘Ok, just relax. Give me a date you were studying with the professor and we’ll have a look at what you were doing.’
‘Eh the fifteenth of January,’ I said.
‘Ok, Sunday the fifteenth of January,’ she said and started pendulating the small light. I tensed in frustration, angry at myself for picking a Sunday. Who does FETAC on a Sunday? Who does that?!
But before I could berate myself any longer, I was slipping out of contemporary consciousness and sliding towards the fifteenth of January, guided by the omnipotent voice of the manager.
‘Go to the fifteenth of January. Tell me what you are doing,’ she suggested soothingly.
‘I’m in bed,’ I answered. ‘I’m in bed and my penis is engorged. I’m watching a Beyonce video on MTV Black. There’s a bag of Skittles beside me, full of Valium. My penis is engorged loads.’
‘OK, let’s jump ahead a bit. What are you doing in the afternoon?’ asked the manager.
‘I’m still in bed, but I’m asleep now. There’s a fly annoying me ever so much. It keeps hitting off the window and buzzing around, but I’m too tranquilised to exterminate it.’
‘Oh. Oh when do you go to see Prof Watson? Is it in the evening?’
‘No, the only knowledge I have of Professor Watson is the signed photo of him on the wall I notice when walking into your office in nine months time. I’m still in my room in the evening, but I have a nosebleed. I’m using my penis for pleasures again, but there’s nothing on TV, so I’m looking out the window to see if any of the neighbours are around outside. The smell of the window is making me feel really lonely.’
‘Ok, come back to today, come back to today please,’ said the manager urgently.
I opened my eyes and looked with dismay at the infuriated face of the manager. I tried to explain myself. ‘Please, you must understand, I was very sad at that time-‘
‘Get out of my office!’ she yelled. ‘Never in all my years hypnotising people have I ever come across someone so disgusting! You’re beyond repair!’ She threw a tissue at me.
‘You can forget about this job too - you’re fired!’
Devastation and contempt erupted inside me. ‘Fuck you Alan Sugar!’ I shouted, getting up and fleeing from the office.
As I ran down the stairs and out the front door, red hot tears belched out of my puffy eyelids. The words ‘failure, failure, fucking disgusting failure’ strafed my mind as I ran. You’ll never work again, my mind shouted above the din of failure - you’ll never work again. Not to worry, screamed my sense - just about audible over the other yells - you can always fly to the USA and start again! But just as that thought threatened to settle me, I tripped and fell onto the road in front of an oncoming LUAS and was smashed into a vegetative state where the only cognitive possibility was the looped recall of the moments just prior to my birth.