“Do come in, Ms Winton.

[It’s also Dr and Mrs, but she would rather neither were highlighted: the first because she doesn’t want to put herself forward or make him feel the need to compete; the second because she is private and somewhat feminist – also, she can flirt more easily this way]

I’m afraid I’m running late this morning. Work has been frantic.

[He got chatting with Elaine French, also interviewing for this position, who has recently completed a year-long sailing trip. Since he is also an avid sailor, they were soon on the floor of his office, retracing her voyage on his charts. This encounter makes it unlikely that Kathy Winton will get the job]

I also have to leave sooner than planned – some crisis at head office.

[His wife reminded him about his son’s soccer match this morning over coffee. He promised to attend it and, having broken the last two such promises, intends to keep this one if possible]

Can we reschedule the interview to tomorrow, same time?”

“Of course. That’s fine.”

[She’s not sure whether it is, but it will have to be]

“Thanks. I’m really sorry for all this. I hope we didn’t put you out.”

“Oh, don’t worry, you didn’t. I have some shopping to do here anyway.

[To get here, she had to change trains twice and catch a bus. She wants to get back to watch the end of the Buffy episode that she lost track of time with before having to leave for the interview, sure she was going to be late and so desperately worried for the entire, wasted journey. Also, she can’t afford to even think about shopping here, so will be going straight home]

See you tomorrow.”

“Until then, Ms Winton.”

8 thoughts on “Interaction”

  1. This is great – it’s what I would have wanted to write but could not get the ideas organised! I love the insight into their heads and all the little deceptions that govern everything they say – everything we all say all the time. Very lovely and low-key peace, and of course I’m a big fan of the interludes in brackets!

    Minor quibble – would have put a full stop before closing off each square bracket, the sentences look incomplete otherwise. But really not a big thing!

    Thank you!

  2. Really enjoyed this. I like the very light tone it takes – like a happy, cynical fly on the wall; as opposed to the dark subject. (how extraordinarily dishonest we all are under perfectly ordinary circumstances)

    I like the way none of the characters is terribly horrible or very weak – they are all normal people who have reasonable, moral and rational motives for their actions – and they all lie. For me this quality (that in a similar situation to any of the characters I might similarly lie) makes this piece both very amusing and slightly disquieting – an excellent combination.

  3. Nice piece. I nearly tried writing something very similar! Glad I didn’t. This piece highlights the differences between our overt behaviour and our covert intentions.

    I was interested with your choice not to punctuate the end of the italicised, bracketed sentences. I don’t think it’s a bad choice. My preference is to punctuate, though, since it seems more complete that way. I liked how you handled the broken paragraphs of speech by not doing the standard thing of punctuating the beginning of them with a quotation: I think it might have made it difficult to follow who was saying what, since there was no speech attribution and the italicised paragraphs interjected between the paragraphs breaks the flow of the speech, making it harder to follow. Anyway, in short, I blather on because I approve of your punctuation in a rather interesting spot :)

    > He got chatting with Elaine French
    Seems to me that this should have been in the past tense: “He’d got chatting…”

    I enjoyed the characterisation, and that while both people are misdirecting the other, neither thinks much of it. It felt very typical and true to life.

    1. Thanks. I’m glad you think that the punctuation choice works – I spent quite a long time trying to decide what would work best. I’m quite pleased with the results, but would probably put full stops at the end of the brackets next time.

      About “He got chatting” – don’t think mine is horribly wrong, but yours is more technically correct and sounds as good. Thanks.

  4. Wow… This piece reminds me of situations I’ve found myself in. Most of them to do with job interviews, much like Ms Winton. I found it a bit difficult to enjoy with my negative connotations but I thought it well written.

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