Posted by: fictionopia | January 14, 2009

1.08 – “Her mother would never let her hear the end of this.”

“I’m sorry, what?”

“Huh? Oh, nothing. I’m mean, you’re a career counselor,” Sarah said. “I could use some counseling, Max. Do you mind if I call you Max?” Sarah sat down and waited for Max, who seemed slightly dumbfounded, to do the same. Max obliged.

“What would you like to do, Miss –”

“Neel. Sarah Neel. Sarah.”

“What would you like to do, Sarah?”

“I don’t know. What do you have available?”

“You’re not working now?”

“No. I got laid off. That was before my apartment burned down, but after my boyfriend dumped me.”
Max was speechless for the second time in as many minutes. After a moment’s pause Max said, “I am really sorry to hear about all of your misfortune. If you don’t mind my asking, when did all of this happen?”

“Um, Monday.”

“As in three days ago, Monday?”

“Yeah, so, I’m living with my mom right now and I’d really like get back into my own place as soon as possible. So whatever you’ve got is fine.”

“Sarah, I would love to help you but I don’t function like an employment agency. I don’t keep a database of employers with positions open. What I do is help people plan a course for their careers by determining, first, what skills they have, and second, how best to apply those skills to achieving their long-term goals.”

“But…my goal is to earn a paycheck,” not certain that she and Max understood each other. Sarah was starting to feel a little silly about the impulse that had brought her to Max’s office but at this point she saw little hope for a graceful exit. Not unless Max had forgotten that she had wanted to use the phone.

“By the way,” Max asked, “didn’t you need to call your sister?”

No such luck. Sarah sighed before confessing, “No, not really.”

Seeing Max’s confused look she decided to come clean. She told him about her discovery the horoscope and how her mother put the idea in her head that it had been trying to tell her something. She told him about the fashion show and Greta Larocca and the kindness of strangers. And just in case he wasn’t thoroughly convinced of her insanity, she told Max about the cell phones in the coffee house and the hunch that had led her to him.

However surprised Max might have been by Sarah’s speech, it paled in comparison to her astonishment at his response.

“Well, I’d hate to be a poor instrument of fate. If you like, I could take a look at your resume.”

It was Sarah’s turn to be speechless. She could only manage a grateful smile. Sitting there, in Max’s office, Sarah realized two things. First, her supposed ‘north star’ was way too attractive. Second, her mother would never let her hear the end of this.

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