Leo paced the floor. He was anxious, but knew that his anxiousness was only causing him to be more anxious. It was cyclic, he told himself, but still he was unable to control it. And the more he paced the worse everything seemed to get.
All of that, plus that fact that he knew it would only be a matter of minutes that he had to prove himself. Not much time, but then that was the nature of the business. No one was given much time to prove themselves. He’d been through this for years and it never seemed to get any easier.
Leo knew that there were people who breezed through these things as if they were just a stop on their way to the grocery store. And there were others who barely even noticed and didn’t seem to care. They were the ones who could really put the whole process aside, go through it and then forget it. He wished he could be like them, but he wasn’t.
For Leo every second seemed an eternity and as each person came out of the room and another went in his anxiety increased.
Why did he do it, he regularly asked himself? Why did he put himself through this torture? It wasn’t for fame or glory, it was simply a job. Of course he needed the job. He wanted this job, but still, it was only a job and there certainly were others. Or were there?
In this business there weren’t that many jobs and there were too many people hoping for each one. It would have been so much easier to shift gears and go into another line of work. But he knew that, for him, like so many like him, that wasn’t possible. He was born for this work. Born to do what he did. And he knew he did it well. It was just a matter of surviving the process, getting the job and going on until the job ended and the process began all over again. For Leo today was another day in a long line of days like this.
“Leo,” the tall blonde girl in tight jeans and a tee-shirt that read Today Has Not Been My Day on it, called. “They’re ready for you.”
Leo walked through the door to face what, to him, felt like another inquisition.
Two minutes later Leo walked back out of the same door with a huge smile on his face. It was over and he knew he’d done well. He felt certain from his own sense and from their comments.
The tall blonde girl had gone into the room and immediately returned and called his name again. “I’m glad I caught you,” she said. “They’d like to see you again.”
Leo smiled at her then walked back inside.
Fifteen minutes had gone by and everyone else waiting began to panic. The pacing of the floor nearly reached a stampede. The tall blonde girl watched them and felt sorry, but there was nothing she could do.
Another ten minutes passed and then the door opened. Leo walked out, shook hands with the man who had accompanied him to the door and, as he left, thanked the talk blonde girl.
Now, instead of frantic pacing, Leo nearly skipped across the floor toward the exit.
The tall blonde girl watched as the three remaining people anxiously paced in front of her. She called the next name and the next person went through the door.