Nathan wonders what he’s doing there.
He first thought it was a hoax, when he came across the LinkedIn ad. However, the correspondent he had by email seemed serious, expressed himself without questionable spelling mistakes, then the secretary on the phone seemed to him cold and devoid of emotion, like a real civil servant.
Even the building is official, if that makes sense: sober, boring, sanitized. A few posters, magazines and other leaflets adorn the waiting room, the only touches of color provided by the “company”. As for the other candidates… No matter how hard he searches, he doesn’t see a pleasant term, or even a neutral one, to characterize them.
When someone waves a flyer in his face, Nathan forces a smile that seems to him more of a grimace, but which seems to satisfy the man who hands him the paper. When Nathan reads it, he feels annoyed by the predictability of it: the same one you find in every mailbox, once or twice a year.
Marabout, voodoo, witchcraft: return of the loved one, success in exams, placement on the stock market, promotion, penis enlargement, flowering of hydrangeas. Call me at 45…
And these people actually think they are taken seriously? He purses his lips. Well, it’s because of people like these that he’s ashamed to reveal his real job to those around him. For six months, he managed to make his ex believe that he was mining Bitcoin on the internet.
In front of him, a young girl waits, inspecting her long fingernails. She must be in her twenties, a lot of jewellery, plant tattoos and woolen clothes that look itchy, judging by the rash on her arms – probably alpaca hair from Peru, woven by hand or he doesn’t know what bullshit yet. One of those new Wicca witches, no doubt. All the same. Well, on the religious side, he has nothing to say about it, but can’t she dress a little more strictly, for a job interview? Between that and the pink hair, how can she expect these people to take her seriously?
And yet, it is one of the least worst. The interview room opens. A stunted little old woman reeking of incense, with a shawl and at least ten amulets around her neck, comes out, accompanied by a government pundit in a suit and tie. He throws the traditional “We’ll call you back!” » and returns to lock himself in the office, this time with the marabout. Madame Irma hums as she leaves the building.
“Well, there are a lot of charlatans here, don’t you think?
It’s his neighbour, comfortably installed on his plastic chair – as comfortably as one can be, in any case, on this kind of folding things – who has just addressed this introductory sentence to him. His dazzling smile might have inspired confidence, if he weren’t wearing a large white toga adorned with gold patterns. Fifties, bald.
“What are you?”
The guy holds out a hand that Nathan doesn’t take, responding:
“I am Nostradamus, the cosmic priest of the stars of the firmament.
A cult leader, then. So that’s the pompom. In the end, the other scammers don’t do too much harm: if they manage to steal a few tickets from petty bourgeois wishing to speak to the ghost of their poodle, good for them! In this economy, you have to find tricks to survive. But this brood…
Fortunately for him, the door opens again on the suit and tie. Given the length of the interview, the marabout did not convince him. It’s not really surprising. This guy really manages to make a living with this kind of shenanigans?
Finally, the recruiter says Nathan’s name and Nathan springs to his feet. He does not flinch even when he feels analyzed from head to toe and enters the small windowless office, where he is asked to sit down.
He doesn’t know what exactly this “job” he is applying for consists of, but the announcement comes from the government, just that! The description was vague and contained the words: paranormal, witchcraft, afterlife, special powers. It must be a section of scientific research on everything related to the unexplained, like what the CIA set up in the last century. The sort of thing that’s a little immoral around the edges.
But Nathan has no more morals than all those fortune tellers. Oh, he prides himself on doing his job properly, without lying to anyone! Only, here, the customers do not jostle with the gate… So, this job, it is a godsend for him.
He got ready for the occasion, shaved, dressed in his best shirt and updated his resume. He’s serious, not like those clowns strutting around in the waiting room!
The suit-and-tie executive goes through his papers, then raises dull eyes to Nathan, with an eyebrow arched to the middle of his forehead as if not taking him seriously.
— Good. Tell me about yourself.
— My name is Nathan Daot. I’m a paranormal consultant.
The eyebrow is still rounded, if possible.
— Consultant?, repeats the recruiter, articulating each syllable.
— Yes. It’s mostly about determining if people are haunted by a ghost, a demon, or just paranoid.
The guy writes something about his stationery. He takes his time, the bugger. Nathan stirs.
— I see. And what is the difference between these… three scenarios?
He takes on the skeptical tone of anyone Nathan explains his job to. Oh, he didn’t expect it to be easy anyway!
— Demons are aggressive and vicious. Everything they do has a purpose: to drive you mad, to hurt, to kill… Ghosts are just residual energies after death. If their manifestations hurt anyone, it is only by pure coincidence. As for paranoia, it’s simple: doors slamming due to drafts, strange noises that actually come from the plumbing… I don’t need to draw you a picture.
“What are you doing to send these…entities back to the afterlife?”
— It’s impossible. The demons are here because of a pact, and nothing will stop them until it is over. As for ghosts, there is no technique to make them disappear.
This guy is really going to twist his eyebrows from raising him.
“You don’t help these poor people?”
— What do you want me to do ? I advise them to leave the haunted place, at best. If a candidate hands you the Ghostbusters vacuum cleaner, kick them out, please!
The joke does not make the recruiter laugh. Nathan swallowed.
“Anything else to report?” he asks in his drawling tone. Telekinesis, telepathy, communication with the beyond…
“Bullshit, all that!” Uh, no offense.
Damn, he spends so much time getting annoyed about all this that mustard naturally goes to his nose every time he talks about it. Reflex.
— Good. We will call you back.
What, is that all? So he’s not believable? Nathan stands up, annoyed, as the recruiter walks him to the door. Finally, he is much more believable than the other imbeciles! He returns to the waiting room, while the fiftieth – the supreme priest of Jupiter or he does not know what – comes forward to succeed him.
Why didn’t he convince them? Should he have introduced himself as a wizard? Bah ! Too connoted. The term conjures up ridiculous togas and pointy hats. Wizard ? Even worse ! He doesn’t do sleight of hand!
Blasé, he leaves the building and leans against the wall. There, he pulls out a cigarette which he wedges between his lips, then snaps his fingers to make a flame appear at the end of his index finger, which he uses to light the tube of tobacco. He shakes his finger to put it out, blows a whirlwind of smoke skyward.
Really, what a hassle, to find work.