I adjust my coat and tie. Ties paint a desperate need. Coats add obligation.
The second woman, the executive, is so taut the air in her corner office hums. She twists her necklace and studies my application. Her hair is blonde surrendered to roots. She has a constriction at the base of her left-hand ring finger where an entire past used to be, perhaps until recently. She has a big desk and a big monitor. She has a nameplate that reads Judy Rothman. Judy Rothman, Vice President of Technical Support. She has a framed 5x7 of a cat on her credenza. I know her type. I can see the Powerpoint graph of her career and relationship curves, divergent over time.
"Why did you leave your last position?" she asks.
"Religious reasons", I answer.
"And are you available for periodic travel?"
"You write on here, under "Tell Us Something About Yourself", that you’re faith is Christian, but you spelled it wrong. I’m not supposed to ask about creed, but since you volunteered it, and you can’t spell worth shit, I think it’s appropriate. I won’t hire a technical writer that technically can’t write."
"It’s spelled correctly", I say. "Not Christian - Christianne, as in the name."
"I don’t get it", she says.
"You would if you met her", I say.
"Why are you telling me this?" she says.
"Because I’ll probably need to take some days off every now and then", I say.
"To do what?" she asks.
"Worship", I answer.
She’s obviously not getting this at all, tugging on her jewelry and staring at me and starting to get up from her chair and I’m seconds away from being shown the door, so I let fly, so I ask her: "Ms. Rothman, if you could tongue the sun without burning your own face off, if you could just taste that magnificence, wouldn’t you do it? Wouldn’t you tear off hunks of it and cram as much of it into your mouth as you could?"
She sits back down in her chair.
"Ms. Rothman, forgive me, but if you knew of sex that could be like rolling naked in warm shards of starlight, like drinking the entire Renaissance distilled into a cup, wouldn’t you take whatever oath and pay whatever tithe just to keep it? You’d chain yourself to that altar and play the acolyte, just like I do. And if the sun wanted some things done around the house, you’d do them. And if the sun needed more money and told you to quit trying to be a novelist and go get a real job, you’d find yourself in some office just like this one, begging for a chance."
She’s twisting her necklace so tight that it looks like the thinnest of leashes around her neck. Her eyes are liquid.
"I’m sorry", I say. "I shouldn’t have said all those things. I’ve got to learn to stop praying in public like this."
"Shut my door", she says.
I smile, and obey, and this is no longer interview, but conversion.
Yes, ma’am, I’m fine with that, let’s cut the crap.
What do I really believe in? Well, I’d say goddesses are defined on all sides by their loneliness. I’d say religions are convergences of need, like waves collecting on oceans, which I guess makes all worship transactional. So that’s basically what I believe in. Transactions.
She buzzes Human Resources. I’m sending someone down, she tells them. LS