The Interview

Béatrice Hotel, Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo | © Noé Diakubama, Google Maps

Today was a new day.

Today was starched suit, shined shoe, best suit.

It was borrowed cufflinks. It was smart knot in the bow tie.

It was leave early and walk slow, before the heat of the day could squeeze a rash of sweat along his hairline and make him seem nervous.

It was sit up straight and wait. It was smile and shake hands when the man came out to talk to him. It was make a good impression. It was yes sir and nod at all the appropriate places.

And when the man in the khaki suit the very color of his sallow skin smiled his very fake smile and said I’m sorry that position has been filled

It was a day to try hard;

it was a day to try very, very hard

not to be


140 words

This has been an edition of What Pegman Saw. To read more stories inspired by the prompt, click here.


  1. God that made me shiver, I hate an interview!


  2. You tell that story beautifully, Karen. You found a wonderful voice for it. The repetition gives it power (brave woman! I’m not sure I would have dared!). Kudos!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Penny! I’m glad it worked for you. Your praise means a lot!


  3. Wonderful piece. I could feel the heat and the disappointment both


  4. Nice story, Karen, let’s hope he is not too disheartened. I love the way we do not know what the job is or whether he is a match for it or not, just that he looks smart.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Kelvin. I like that you liked that aspect of it! Thanks for reading.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Dear Karen,

    I have the feeling the deck might be stacked against the interviewee and he’s well aware of it. Loved the sallow skin the same color as the khaki suit. A lot said in a very few words. I’m with Penny, the repetition strengthens the piece. Well done as always.



    Liked by 1 person

  6. I really like the ‘internal’ voice of the man being interviewee, in so few words you tell so much. I also really like the last few lines, spaced out suggesting they’re said through gritted teeth. Good story.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Francine! It’s gratifying to hear my intent came across so well for you. Thanks for reading 🙂


  7. Something tells me he gets this same response every time. I can picture the disdain on the face of the khaki man and the interviewee’s grace under fire.
    So well done.
    Now if only I could come up with something… (And there’s Kelvin with not one, not two but three stories? Sheesh I suck…)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aw Dale, I have a feeling the muse is lurking nearby (I hope!) Looking forward to your story. Thanks for reading mine!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It actually just got released! I am almost done 😉 Guess I had to whinge about it for it to come… 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  8. so realistic!
    and just last week I was at a place where two job hunters were at because there was supposed to be recruiters in the building.
    I walked off an elevator and the two folks asked if I was with the company. No, I replied and then the receptionist started making calls – etc. I guess they were a no show – but the reason I shared that is because the guy that was there – well he really fit the character here in your story.
    He was ina suit and I just had the feeling that he did not dress that way all the time – no borrowed cuff links – but

    leave early and walk slow

    felt like his MO

    nice take on the prompt

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aw poor guy. Thanks for reading.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. yeah – deflating (and hope you have a nice week)

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Loved the structure and tone of this. As others have said, the repetition works well to reinforce what has happened through the day. There’s a sense of trying so hard in that opening (the polished shoes and borrowed cufflinks – that last a detail I love) but the paragraph beginning ‘And when the man in the khaki suit’ sums up what our man is up against. He’s genuine and trying hard, they reject him with hardly a second thought. Well done Karen – great writing

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Lynn! It’s not an approach I’ve used for storytelling before so it’s great to hear it worked for you 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It worked very well, I’d say! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Like everyone said above, love the rhythm to this. You can hear him reminding himself with constant nudges, not ncessarily completely verbal. And the ultimate irony, telling himself to try even more, after all that trying! Definitely think his own skin does not match khaki.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your kind words & yes, I think you’re right about him 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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