I wants to make your flesh creep
More tales from the job hunt front. This one from Imo, who has finished school and is handing out resumes.
Does your neighborhood have an officially creepy building? When I was growing up there was an old house with a turret which, we believed, was owned by witches. I remember walking past it one Wednesday night on my way home from choir practice (this was during my brief flirtation with organized religion, a story for another day -- briefly, I was attracted not by the theology or music but the prospect of a monthly salary) when the front door opened and a tremendously tall thin lady emerged. Her face was chalk white, bloodless from being drawn up to the full moon. I ran as from a hound of hell. Here's a picture that looks something like the place.
There's a tiny restaurant on the main street of my small town. To the best of my knowledge, no one has ever crossed the dusty threshold. My children hurry past the place, faces averted from the fly-specked front window that always displays the sign: OPEN. So I was surprised to hear that Imo had applied for a job there. Ed was not surprised. He was ... I don't know what.
Flabbergasted. Dumbfounded. I know no word strong enough to express the strength of his gob-smacked-ness.
You went inside the Mid-Town Restaurant? he said.
Imo nodded. I was walking past it and I thought, Why not? she said.
(Quick sidebar: How many horror movies have begun with the words, Why not? I'll just check on that noise in the creepy dusty attic. I'll run down to the abandoned campground where the kids were all murdered years ago. I'll investigate that funny thing I saw in the corn field. Why not? ) I couldn't help wondering what kind of tips Imo could expect in a place with no customers, but I wanted to encourage her. Good for you. What happened? Do you think you got the job?
She sat down and clasped her hands together. Gathering our attention.
I walked in, she began slowly. The floors were sticky. The air was clammy, with smells of rot and mildew and old old grease. No one was there except ...
She paused. The kitchen clock ticked loudly.
Except what? asked Ed.
Except an old man in a table off in the corner. He looked up from his cigarette, his face wreathed in smoke, and said (making her voice all raspy) , They're waiting for you ... in the back ...
Ed's eyes were the size of saucers.
What did you do? he whispered.
I ran, said Imo. I'm never walking down King Street again.
I didn't feel like laughing. The place sounded awfully darn creepy.
I wonder if the library is hiring storytellers this summer. Imo would be a natural.