A timely opportunity

The ticking of infinite clocks was almost deafening. Evelyn opened her eyes as the ticking slowed down. Clocks of every shape and size imaginable lined the walls, or would have if there were any. Everything seemed surrounded by a molten black void that swirled wildly within itself. She reached out to touch it but pulled away at the last moment. This was a very weird dream, but she had a feeling it would turn nightmarish if she touched that stuff.

Something was ticking out of time. She looked around at the clocks nearest to her but they all seemed to match. Wandering amongst the seemingly infinite clocks she finally found the one that was off. There was a reasonable sized grandfather clock the looked like a much loved antique. It was moving too slow, just barely out of synch with the rest. She searched around it carefully, trying to find some way to wind it. There was a something shiny and silver in just visible on the back, perilously close to the void. She reached for it nervously, trying to turn it without brushing against the void. The key finally stopped turning and she released it, stepping back and away from the void again. It began ticking at the same time as the rest of the clocks and she smiled a little.

“What a weird dream.” She patted the front of the clock.

“I had a feeling you’d be a natural.” A man’s voice from behind her startled her and she whirled around to face a young man holding a rolled up bundle of papers, “Your resume was quite interesting.”

“AHHHHhh!” She didn’t remember having a purse before but one appeared in her right hand and she began beating the stranger with it, “Get out of my dream! No strangers in the weird space!”

“Ow! Wait-” The man held up a hand to shield himself, nearly dropping the papers he held.

“Ahhhhhhhh!” She caught him hard with the purse and he fell backwards, barely catching himself with his hands.

“Oof…” He rubbed his bruised tailbone with one hand and tried to scoop up the papers with the other, “You could just say no, ya know.”

“Ahh-” She lifted her hand to swing the purse at him again but stopped, finally seeing the papers. “Is that… my resume?”

“Yes-” He scooted aside as she snatched the papers up, staring at them wild-eyed, “As I was saying, it’s quite interesting.”

“Nonononono…” She crumpled the papers against her chest, “No I didn’t put this out, it’s not ready yet. You can’t have this.”

“It’s right there…”

“You can’t have this and you can’t be here, nobody else is in my dreams.”

“Are you sure you’re dreaming?”

“Oh don’t you dare!” She looked ready to hit him again and he flinched, “No! There is no room full of void and clocks in reality, this is a dream and you’re not supposed to be here and why-do-you-have-my-resume!”

He waited a moment to see if she would continue, then cautiously stood up, “It’s pretty customary to have a copy of the resume on hand during an interview, to verify information.”

“Interview?” She looked down at the crumpled papers pressed against her baggy fleece pajamas, and up at him in his neatly pressed suit.

“Merely a formality, the fact that you made it this far means the job is yours if you’d like.”

“Job?”

“It’s a bit hard to have a conversation one word at a time… Would you like to sit down?” As he spoke a plain looking desk appeared with cozy armchairs on either side. He gestured for her to sit on one side and she flopped into the chair, looking bewildered. He sat on the other side a little tenderly and pulled a second copy of her resume out of one of the drawers, “Now then, Ms. Laurel, if you are interested we offer salaried positions, full time, pay is negotiable and raises are performance based. Night shifts, obviously…”

“What?”

“I… uh… I’m sorry which part has you confused?” He wasn’t used to this response.

“What is this? This is the weirdest dream I’ve ever had. I know I’ve been stressed about finding a job but imagining up an awesome one and an interview in my sleep? Have I just gone insane?”

He sat back in his chair and studied her thoughtfully, “Tell you what, if this is a dream you have nothing to lose.”

“I… suppose.” She was clutching the crumpled copy of the resume like a lifeline while staring at the fresh one on the desk.

“And I’ll even put you down on a trial basis. If you decide you don’t like the job, which I highly doubt, you can quit no questions asked.”

“That’s…”

“And you do need this job, don’t you?”

“I… I need a job, I’m not sure…”

“Then welcome aboard, Ms. Laurel.” He reached his hand across the desk and grabbed her hand, shaking it. She was too startled by how warm and real it felt to do anything but let him shake it.

She woke up in bed surrounded by the crumpled remains of her resume. She’d fallen asleep proofreading it again. The bagel she’d saved for dinner sat uneaten on her desk and her stomach growled. She looked at the hand the man had shook and frowned. It was such a vivid dream, but she never usually had other people in her dreams.

“I need a break.” She said aloud to nobody. The clock said eight am and the sunlight peeking around her curtains confirmed that. She sat up, pushed the resume pages into a pile and drowsily stumble her way to the mail slot. A few bills sat on her floor next to a large nondescript bundle with no labeling. She scooped everything up, tossed the bills into the small but growing pile on the coffee table and set the bundle down in the clear area before remembering the bagel.

Bagel in hand she turned on the news and opened the bundle, pulling out a hefty stack of papers. It was easily several dozen pages and she picked the first one up to read.

“Greetings, Ms. Evelyn Laurel, we are pleased to welcome you as our newest night steward. Enclosed are your employee-” She dropped the paper as if it were suddenly on fire and sat as far back as possible on the couch. The news babbled on about a bike race in the background, and she shrieked as the phone rang before fumbling to answer it.

“Evelyn, I’m so glad you’re up!”

“Oh, Holly, yes I’m up.” Evelyn couldn’t take her eyes off the stack of papers as she spoke.

“Are you all right, sweetie? You sound out of it.”

“Sorry,” Evelyn shook her head, trying to gather her thoughts, “Rough sleep last night…”

“Well I’m sorry to hear that, job search still not going well?”

“Actually… I think i just got an offer?”

“Really? That’s wonderful! Why don’t we meet up for lunch and you can tell me about it?”

“Can we make it dinner? I have a lot of paperwork I need to look at.”

“Absolutely, I’m so excited for you! I’ll meet you at your place around five?”

“Sounds great.” She waited until Holly had hung up to pick up the paper again, holding it in her left hand while taking a bite out of her bagel. The page still said the same thing and she sat staring at it as the bagel turned to mush in her mouth.

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