Dorris found the head of customer relations to be intolerant and prone to temper tantrums at the slightest hint of unproductivity, but he listened right away to her entire story. Much to her dismay. To be fair, given the situation, it couldn’t very well be avoided.
There were three young men in the lobby of TD Bank, outfitted with ghost detectors, thermal cameras, recorders, and something called a spirit box. They were all looking at Dorris asking her to speak to the woebegone souls who couldn’t leave their financial troubles behind. It warranted explanation.
Her voice came out shaky and soft through pursed lips. “There have been a lot of good folks losing their jobs in the last few months.” A furrowed brow from her boss made her nearly swallow all of her confidence.
“Due to difficult times in a struggling economy,” he said, visibly stiffening under the accusation. “We’ve done the best we could. I don’t see what this has to do with them.” A dismissive gesture at the wanna be-ghost busters, who were standing with their recorders at the ready. One observed the scene through an infrared headset.
“Well, I’ve been applying for jobs just to, I guess you could say, hedge my bets,” said Dorris. “I love working as a bank teller. And getting to help all sorts of people. And work with such nice folks like yourself. But with the way things have been, sir, I thought I should have a plan in case anything ever went south. I like to think of it as having a backup chequings account for emergencies.” She hoped that the tie-in to their recent advertising campaign would win him over.
It didn’t. “Start from the beginning Dorris.”
And so she did.
The posting for a Ghost Investigator had actually been listed under the “Casting Calls” section. Dorris wasn’t even sure why she looked at other pages than “Help Wanted” other than to satiate her curiosity. Then there it was. They’d included a picture of Slimer from Ghost Busters, peering out from behind a film reel. The advertisement read as follows:
“Are you good at improvising, reliable, SPIRITUAL, pro-active in problem solving and able to work in a team environment with multiple pieces of groundbreaking technology?
No experience needed, any nationality. Pref female.
Please apply with pictures and resume.
Dorris made sure to apply to at least five jobs a week. She didn’t plan on accepting any of the positions. She just wanted the option there incase anything happened with the bank.
This would be her magical fifth application before she’d be free to close the tab and open a new game of Bejeweled. She made sure to include her choir experience in Bethlehem Lutheran Church to prove that she satisfied the ‘spiritual’ requirement. She also noted that she knew how to operate a DVD player, cell phone, computer, was a social media expert after achieving a near legendary status on Farmville, and had a typing speed of 45 wpm. There was something about drafting cover letters that made Dorris feel proud of herself. It was beginning to become addictive. Looking over all of her accomplishments, she knew that the Ghost Investigators team would be very impressed. With a self-satisfied click of the mouse, she hit ‘send’.
“Gosh darn it!” Dorris swore. She’d forgot to include a picture. She didn’t even know if she had a picture. Her Facebook profile shot had been taken by her son twenty years ago. She’d just have to go down to the office and explain. That way, they’d be able to get a good look at her as well as see how keen she was on following up with people when she made a mistake.
She picked up her knit shoulder bag, adjusted the Remembrance Day poppy on her blazer, and wrote down the address from the ad.
Ghost Investigators Inc was based out of a storage locker. There was no reception area, only long plastic tables cluttered with computers and pieces of equipment. Dorris shyly tucked a strand of copper hair (recently permed) behind one ear while she waited for someone to notice her.
Nobody did. Two men had their faces nearly pressed up against their computer screens, rewinding footage over and over again. They were pointing at motes of dust that kept floating in front of the camera lense. “Definitely supernatural,” they kept assuring one another.
“Hey, Evan,” the one with the dark spikey hair called over his shoulder. “Get a load of this.” Out of the corner of his eye, he finally noticed Dorris and swivelled around in his office chair.
She offered her most welcoming smile and clasped her hands in front of her. “I came about your job posting.”
The one who must be Evan rose from a box of technical supplies with some strange contraption in his hands and power cords resting around his neck. “Right. You’re probably Dorris,” he said. “I’m Evan. This is Chad. That’s Henry.”
Henry, blond and bespectacled, waved enthusiastically from the computer station beside Chad - the dark haired one.
“I had a look at your resume,” Evan said. “We’re really looking for a stronger female presence on the show, but you know. Well. The thing is, we might be looking for someone.. I don’t know how to put this.”
“Younger,” Chad stated.
Dorris felt the colour drain out of her face. She was glad she’d taken care to apply blush that morning to cover her mortification. “Younger? Well, I never! This is discrimination. Are you fellows aware of that? I could..” she fumbled for words. “I could sue. I could file a complaint to..” Who would she file a complaint to? “I could just..”
“Dorris,” Evan said. “Sit down. We didn’t mean to hurt your feelings.” He shot Chad a look while helping Dorris into a rolley chair.
“I’m so mad that I could spit!” Dorris threatened.
“I know, I know. It’s not your age. I wouldn’t say you’re a day over sixty five,” Evan soothed.
“I’m sixty!” spat Dorris.
“Right. A young looking sixty at that. I bet you still get IDed,” he smiled.
“I do,” she insisted.
“We’re just looking for a girl with a little bit more..”
Suddenly the contraption started going off in Evan’s hands, picking up radio signals and buzzing as it switched from channel to channel.
“Get the cameras!” Chad shouted.
Henry launched a heavy looking camcorder onto his shoulder. “We’re live streaming!”
“Hello? Who’s there?” Chad demanded of the empty storage locker.
Dorris looked around. It was still just the four of them.
“Fuck! Something just touched me man, right on my shoulder. It felt like death. It didn’t feel right,” Chad said, his dark eyes bulging out of the sockets.
“Are you here to fuck with us?” He asked the room. “Why are you here?”
Dorris cringed at his choice of language.
“Maybe it’s here for Dorris,” Evan said, the contraption still buzzing violently in his hands.
Henry swung the camera around the room wildly.
“Dorris, say something!” Chad hissed.
“Hello, this is Dorris speaking,” Dorris said in her best bank teller voice. “How can I help you today?”
“Apples,” said the contraption in a robotic voice.
“Apples! Evan! It knows we had apples yesterday!” said a terrified looking Chad.
“Apples. I always get the best ones from Save-On Foods,” said Dorris. “My son likes the Golden Delicious, but I always preferred the Granny Smith. You look like him,” she said to Chad. “My son. You both use too much dippity-doo in your hair. Though he has better manners by far,” she sniffed.
“I’m picking up a heat signal!” said Chad, after hitting a button on a separate camcorder. “It’s standing right behind Dorris!”
“Bye,” said the radio contraption. The buzzing stopped.
Dorris looked behind her, but saw and felt nothing.
“It’s gone,” mourned Chad. “Did you get that all on video?”
“It’s already on the website,” said Henry. He hoisted the camcorder down from his shoulder and eyeballed the computer monitor. “There’s already tons of responses. Our followers can’t get enough of Dorris and her golden apples.”
“And then I left,” said Dorris. “Asking a lady about her age. It was simply profane.”
Chad, Evan, and Henry stood in the bank lobby and continued rolling, waiting for spiritual activity to occur. Evan adjusted his headset.
“Why are they here now then?” asked her boss. “They’ve chased away all of our clients. This is simply unacceptable. We put a lot of trust in our customer service reps and for you to bring in a situation that would jeopardize TD Bank’s reputation really puts us all in a difficult position here. I hope you understand that.”
“We came in hoping to get another shot of Dorris interacting with a spirit,” Chad said. “The bank’s location was on her resume. Dorris, can you say something to any beings that might be in the room with us right now?”
“I’m sorry,” said Dorris to the entire room. “This is awfully embarrassing.”
“Listen,” her boss straightened his shoulders. “I’m going to have to do a lot of damage control over what happened here today. I’ll have to issue you a warning at best. I want you to think long and hard over whether you want to continue a career here. Do you understand?” He towered over her, mustache trembling with irritation.
And she did. It didn’t take her long to consider what her answer would be.
She walked over to Evan holding the radio transmitter and said the magic word. “Apples.”
It buzzed to life with a million ethereal voices all lamenting their unpaid bills and high mortgage rates and being eternally hungry for apples.
Dorris’s boss looked very afraid.
This has been an entry for therealljidol
. Many thanks to my sister Sydney, ellakite
, and kathrynrose
for inspiration and edits.
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