There Have Been Worse First Jobs

Three weeks after graduation, three one hour phone interviews and one three person face-to-face interview and little Barry Barstowe had his first job.

It was a long haul getting there.  He sent out scores of applications, most did not event warrant a “No Thanks” from the potential employer. He had four other interviews that were D.O.A. in his eyes, and the phone that did not ring proved him correct.  But when OmegaPlex Industries called him, of all people, to extend an offer; little Barry Barstowe grinned for days.  He called every one he knew, he posted the news to Facebook, tried to make #BarryGotAJob trend, started a tumblr to repost gifs of people dancing in the streets.  Barry was excited.

He did not have an answer to the one question everyone was asking; what does OmegaPlex Industries do?  The entire interview process had been about him.  He forgot to ask what he would be doing.

Orientation day came like a flash.  One day he was an unemployed 18 year old, not even registered to vote yet, and the next he was being issued an ID badge.

“Oh neat, I like the silver logo.  And these are crazy intimidating! All black ID cards.  Better not mess with OmegaPlex!” he said, laughing, as the ID badge was handed to him by a silver-haired frown apparently named “Bertha”.  Barry put the ID around his neck and smiled wide.  His first ID badge that did not inform the viewer of his grade level.

Barry was escorted to the training room.  His guide, a tall 20 something lady with long hair and a walk that made it clear she was far and away out of Barry’s league, lead him while two guards, or maybe gorillas, Barry was not sure, kept pace behind him.  They were armed with shiny guns that looked better suited for a covert-op than the halls of a corporation, but Barry thought it was ‘pretty cool’ nonetheless.

In the training room, more guards stood next to a gated storage area full of the same shiny weaponry that now seemed to be standard issue.

“Oh man, those are crazy looking!” Barry said.  His guide was unimpressed with the youth’s enthusiasm.

“You will sit here for the next hour and complete this exam.  When you have finished, give the exam to Guard Stone who will bring you to your first assignment.  Work fast, work well.  There is no luck here at OmegaPlex; you are the result of your actions.” The guide handed him a stack of papers and left the room.

An hour passed.  He reviewed his answers to questions such as “Survival of the -fill in the blank-“, “The only good (blank) is a (blank blank)”, “Theft is fine if done for the following reason”.  He thought the questions were a bit odd, but so long as he was getting paid, Barry did not care.  He handed the test to Guard Stone.  Guard Stone grunted and nodded his head to the exit.

Barry was on his way to his first assignment.  As they walked by the cage, Guard Stone stopped and removed one of the shiny weapons from its hold and promptly handed it to Barry.

“Oh, wow, am I a guard?  I must admit, and now I’m going to sound like just another dumb kid, I was not sure what the job description really meant when I filled it out.” Barry was hesitant to take the firearm.

Guard Stone rolled his eyes, which was an impressive feat to relay to Barry as his eyes were well covered by sunglasses.  Barry looked around and noticed all the guard were wearing sunglasses.  Inside.

“Do I get the cool shades too?” Barry said with a chuckle.

Guard Stone pushed the gun into Barry’s arms and lead him down a long, winding hallway.  The lights were rather bright.  Barry felt a sudden understanding.

They two stepped into an enormous open room.  Wall to wall, over what felt larger than a football field, were giant vats of bubbling chemicals, men and women in lab coats running around and spinning dials, duct work running all over the ceiling.  Barry was impressed despite his confusion.

“Follow me,” Stone said.

“I was already doing that,” Barry said.  He felt another nasty look from behind the glasses.

Stone took Barry to the center of the room where a number of guards were already standing in a semi-circle.  At the center of the circle was one man in a nice suit; black, three buttons, no obvious stains, Barry was 18 and unfamiliar with what made a suit look nice.  The suited man had his hands raised in the air and was in midst of exchanging witty banter with a man who looked quite familiar.

It took Barry a moment, but he recognized the laughing man, the one without his hands raised, wearing a floral patterned button up shirt and cargo-shorts, as the CEO of OmegaPlex.

Barry felt another bit of sudden understanding.  He leaned to Guard Stone, who was now aiming at the well dressed, but distressed man and finally asked what OmegaPlex does.

“Stone, are we evil henchmen?” Barry asked.

“Just stand in the background and collect your paycheck kid.  It’s all we can hope for,” Stone said.

Barry raised his shiny weapon and followed Stone’s lead.  Gotta give it at least six months or it hurts the resume he thought.


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