Flash Fiction · Short Short Stories · Writing


Zoo – Word of the Day Challenge

#flashfiction #shortshortstories

We were walking briskly through the park. My guide clearly knew where she was going. She had done this multiple times before.

I met her at the gate punctually at 9am. “Hi, I’m Aimee. Are you Brittany? I’m Mr. Andelm’s assistant and will take you to your interview. I know what you’re thinking….odd place for an interview.”

Was that a smirk? That thought had crossed my mind when I got the callback. I was relieved to finally get a call after being fired from my last job. Of course I lied on my application so that it wouldn’t be used against me. When the woman confirmed where we would be meeting, I had to repeat the location twice. It never occurred to me to not go, although I knew it would remind me of my work at the research lab.

“Mr. Andelm just loves the zoo and finds that he can make the best selection in this environment. He says ‘it shines a light on who the person really is.'” Aimee smiled widely, but I had a difficult time discerning whether it was sarcastic or genuine.

We walked on for at least ten minutes. I questioned whether I should ask how much longer. How would that make me look? Would Aimee care? Did I care what she thought about me? She looked as miserable as I was feeling. At 9am, it was already oppressively humid and the smell of animal waste made my nose burn. What was I doing here? What kind of a kook holds interviews for a corporate office job at a zoo? This setting would show my true colors, she told me. A true litmus test of my person. But this made me nervous. I had carefully crafted my resume and application to hide my true colors, particularly my last position. I couldn’t afford to let my guard down. God, just please let it not be in the monkey house. The smelly, putrid monkey house.

“Where are we headed?” I finally asked.

“Just a little bit longer. Up ahead. Mr. Andelm rents out some rooms in a special area of the zoo.”

Special area? What makes an area “special” at the zoo? And there was that smirk! I wasn’t seeing things. At this point, I’m sweating profusely through my suit, not just because of the weather but my increasing paranoia about what is actually going to go down.

We approach a red brick building next to a pavilion and food court. It’s early, so the grounds are still empty. The sign on the door says restricted access. Aimee types the code on the key pad and the door unlocks. We walk down a nondescript hall to a larger room, a lab or infirmary. From there, I’m ushered into a smaller room off the side.

“Welcome, Brittany. You may recognize some of your former co-workers.” Mr. Andelm smiled warmly and extended his hand.

I did. They knew everything.

“They’ll be assisting me on the interview panel. So let’s begin. Tell me, how do you feel about monkeys??”

I could hear monkeys screeching from a back room.


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