They turned the chair around for the big reveal. Her eyes widened, as she watched herself in the mirror: it was more than a fucking make-over. She looked nothing like herself. Shit! She looked decent. Like fuck! She…
“Annie, what do you think?”
Oh yes. She had to answer. The camera was there.
“Is that really me?”
They’d said to try not to swear. People laughed around her: it was fake. Or very condescending. She couldn’t tell. She hadn’t been around people in a while: well not around people who were ‘normal’, not living on the streets. She couldn’t help staring. Even though they hadn’t filmed all of it, they’d given her access to a suite in a hotel and she’d had a number of showers to clean herself thoroughly. Then a two-hour session at the spa for a complete scrubbing: that took care of any dirt she had missed. Then there was the facial and the pedicure, manicure. The stylist and finally the hair-dresser and make-up artist. Her dirty dreadlocks were gone for a pixie cut she hadn’t worn since high school. The dark circles under her eyes, from lack of sleep and hunger, were gone, even if there was no hiding the fact she wasn’t as filled up as she should be.
“So Annie, are you ready for your interview?”
Fuck! She hadn’t had a job interview since… well ever. The job as a waitress to pay for school didn’t count. And she didn’t even have a bachelor degree; she dropped out. And they wanted her to apply to a job as a paralegal? She was never going to cut it. She didn’t even remember her classes in legal. But they’d reworked her resume and she had to convince the HR Director that she was fit for the job.
“I don’t know…”
“Come on Annie, it’s normal to have jitters, it’s a chance to get out of the streets for ever.”
The one thing they didn’t really say when she signed the contract was what would happen to her if she didn’t get the job. Would she keep the shoes, the clothes, the money they gave her? She had to get that job. Was it how the other candidates had felt? That sensation of having lead in your stomach, the nausea; did it cripple them as it was going her? She’d never been afraid in the streets; she knew how to handle herself but here. This was another world entirely. Maybe she should never have signed that contract.
What Annie couldn’t know was that the “HR Director” was in on it. The interview would truly determine whether she got the money or not. If she was good enough to convince the interviewer and the audience, she’d get – maybe not the job – but the money and a chance to return to school. If she didn’t play her part… her chance at another life would be gone. Would she hear the freeing ‘you’re hired’ or not?
In response to Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie’s Tale Weaver prompt (un)Reality TV