Wednesday, 19 December 2012



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                      
December 19, 2012                        

NR&GA Awareness Campaign: 1-(800)-555-DUMB

                                                                NR&GA STATEMENT

The NR&GA has enacted several measures to ensure that American citizens will never again succumb to the devastating effects of the attempts by the anti-American liberal cabal to restrict and diminish Americans' constitutional right to bear arms enshrined in the Second Amendment. The NR&GA has enacted two major initiatives to increase awareness of the importance of gun ownership by targeting the two most vulnerable demographic groups in society: geriatrics and preschoolers. 

Geriatric Gun Group

For decades, countless numbers of geriatric women have been gathering for the time-honoured tradition of collectively knitting lovely tea cozies, baby sweaters, afghans and scarves for family and friends. Although sweet in thought and while these soft treasures will keep their loved ones warm, such wasted efforts will never keep anyone safe and free from harm. Geriatrics, especially those living in nursing homes, are exposed as a demographic to the potential devastating effects of illegal guns and even legal guns that may be concealed by their personal support workers and caregivers.  Geriatrics living in nursing homes are sitting ducks for ungrateful children and grandchildren who, after years of pent up anger and resentment for having to deplete their financial resources to care for their aging and elderly relatives, could snap and take out their aggression by storming their relative's nursing home and taking out its residents with an assault rifle. While we know that would relieve the financial burden and strain on Medicare, we here at the NR&GA do not support gun violence to eradicate a segment of society that financially burdens the government and taxpayers. The NR&GA has also been advised that theft and the spread of venereal disease is on the rise at nursing homes and there is no better way to protect one's property and person than with some good old flintlock.  Thus, the only sensible course of action is to replace knitting circles with Geriatric Gun Groups at nursing homes across America. In each Geriatric Gun Group, each person will be given a semi-automatic weapon of their very own to keep, on which they will learn how to use guns safely and effectively, so that they never have to be afraid of being victims of elder abuse. The factual benefits of this program, in addition to self-protection, include:

1. Memory Exercises: Since the individual nursing home residents will have to be responsible for their guns, they will have to remember where they stored it. This constant exercise of having to recollect where the gun is at all times will help stave off the tragic effects of Alzheimer’s and Dementia.

2. Physical Activity: Target practice will keep our elderly spry as it will build their upper body strength by virtue of holding the guns themselves and withstanding their recoil.

3. Giving Back:  As a way to thank the NR&GA for their NR&GA-donated Glock "Safe Action" Pistol, each group will spend one hour everyday giving back to society by cleaning and restoring guns retrieved by local area police stations as part of getting illegal guns off of the streets. This charitable act will help the police determine the source of supply of the illegal guns by being able to examine a nice clean weapon.

The NR&GA would like to dispel any notion that the stymieing effects of geriatric disease like Parkinson’s and Arthritis could disable our sweet grannies and grandpas from pulling the trigger. The NR&GA has been working very closely with gun manufacturers to ensure that the triggers and safety mechanisms on each NR&GA-donated Glock "Safe Action" Pistol are more sensitive, so that our aging population will not have to exert more energy to actively engage their hardware to defend themselves. After all, we here at the NR&GA believe that no one, especially those with disabilities, should be discriminated against and prevented from owning and using a gun. The NR&GA Geriatric Gun Group initiative is fully compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Preschool Pistol Packing Program

Our second and most important initiative is our Preschool Pistol Packing Program because you can never be too young for self-protection! The NR&GA has graciously created an AR-15 fund out of which we will buy as many AR-15s as there are school children in America, so that each child is armed when going to what has become the most dangerous place on Earth: school. At the start of each school year, along with the government-sanctioned books given to children, the NR&GA will be hand out to each child aged three to seven their very own AR-15 with a 100-round magazine. Under the guidance of what the NR&GA believes would be a Charlton Heston-approved curriculum, the NR&GA will send highly-skilled instructors to every school in America to teach the importance of gun safety, gun use, gun cleaning, gun storage and target practice to our vulnerable youth.  At Christmas time, in honour of the birth of baby Jesus, the Tea Party has generously agreed to give each student annually the gift a new 100-round magazine. By arming our kids with guns at such an early age in life, no criminal background checks are required. Parents, all you need to do is remember to sign the release form that comes with each AR-15. Let the NR&GA do the rest! 

We know that there is no "one size fits all" approach to gun ownership, so we have worked with the gun manufacturers to create a range of personalized age and weight specific sizing for the AR-15 for kids aged three to seven. Taking the needs and interests of these preschool and early grade children into further consideration, the gun manufacturers have produced a line of AR-15s in bubblegum pink/fuchsia for girls and in camouflage for boys.  With the tenderness of their age, the NR&GA is aware that many of the psychological conditions that plague society may not yet have reared their ugly head, so the NR&GA has decided to send NR&GA-trained staff psychologists to schools on an annual basis to evaluate the mental health of all children in the Preschool Pistol Packing Program to ensure that only mentally stable children continue to own responsibly their NR&GA-given AR-15.  However, we do not believe in discriminating against those children who have fallen prey to the calamitous effects of mental illness. Rather, the NR&GA will replace the AR-15 of those mentally ill children with a single shot 22 and wish them God-speed. Heaven forbid those kids use their gun in furtherance of what their psychological demons tell them to, we can only pray that they use their single shot on themselves.

To help reinforce the goals behind the Preschool Pistol Packing Program, we have engaged a country music singer with an A-rating, who wishes to remain nameless, to write the following song that will be taught by teachers across America so that the children learn to respect guns:

She'll be coming round the mountain with a gun,
She'll be coming round the mountain with a gun.
She'll be coming round the mountain,
She'll be coming round the mountain.
She'll be coming round the mountain with a gun!

She'll protect you with her AR-15,
She'll protect you with her AR-15.
Oh she'll blast 100 rounds,
Oh she'll blast 100 rounds.
She'll protect you with her AR-15!

The Second Amendment will keep you alive,
The Second Amendment will keep you alive.
Stand up for the NR&GA,
And we'll protect your rights every day.
The Second Amendment will keep you alive!
Don't think we forgot about kids younger than three and older than seven. For the big kids who aren't packing heat, the NR&GA will offer a subsidy program to help parents pay for fifty percent of the cost for each child to have an AR-15.  As for our youngest members of society, since the NR&GA cannot rely on parents to have sensibly purchased guns for themselves and their children in furtherance of their Second Amendment rights under the Constitution, the NR&GA has worked closely with a toy company, who wishes to remain nameless, to create the Teddy Gun. When a new baby is born, each infant will receive a Teddy Gun that will be beneficently bestowed upon them by their guardian angels at the NR&GA.  Each Teddy Gun is equipped with a miniature AR-15 with a trigger mechanism in each of the right and left paws of the bear that can only be initiated if the Teddy Gun is facing away from the child. We have ensured that gun manufacturers built in the additional safety mechanism of owner facial recognition software so that the babies never fire on themselves.  Since children tend only to hug their plush toys and since such toys are played with only under the direct supervision of adults, the NR&GA remains confident that accidental self-inflicted gunshot wounds and deaths will be reduced to nil. To be 100% safe, each AR-15 only holds a 20-round magazine and is safely secured in the belly of the bear to prevent the bullets from becoming choking hazards. With each Teddy Gun becoming a baby's "lovey," parents can rest easy knowing that baby will also be safe while playing with a toy compliant with Code of Federal Regulations, Commercial Practices 16, Part 1000 to End (16CFR) and ASTM F963-07 toy safety standards. 

The children are our future, but not if they are not armed.

Remember, if everyone is packing then no one is pulling the trigger! 

For all questions, please call the number found at the beginning of this release.

© 2012. Naomi Elana Zener. All rights reserved.  Disclaimer: The National Rifle & Gun Association (NR&GA) is a fictional organization and is in NO way connected with the National Rifle Association. This is NOT an official National Rifle Association New Release and is in NO way connected with the National Rifle Association.  All views contained herein are my own and this is a work of fiction and do not reflect the views, opinions or policies of the National Rifle Association.

Friday, 14 December 2012

Animal Crackers by Naomi Elana Zener

For the past several months, the zookeepers had noticed that many of their residents from the animal kingdom had resiled from entertaining the crowds before them on a daily basis to becoming more forlorn and skulking in the shadows of their enclosures. Determined to cajole them out of hiding, the animals were given extra helpings of their favourite snacks. When that failed, it was decided that perhaps they required greater latitude to roam more freely outside of the watchful eyes of spectators, so public visiting hours were shortened. To their chagrin, the zookeepers' efforts were for naught and all they could do was hope that the animals would wake up one morning in the near future with spring returned to their step.

"Bing! Bing! Bing!" rang the lunch break time bell on a particularly optimistically sun-filled day.

Unbeknownst to the zookeepers, who toddled off to a special two-hour working lunch brainstorming session to resolve the depression epidemic that had befallen their beloved beasts, the animals snuck out of their respective cages and enclosures with some clandestine assistance from Auguste Van Der Zookle, the chief veterinarian. Unable to leave the liquid oxygenated safety of their waters, the fish and other swimming mammals gave their proxy to Polar Bear and African Penguin who were attending the meeting. Cloaked in the privacy of the Lion's den, which was under renovation, the animals gathered to meet as discreetly as possible to discuss what they perceived to be the zoo's discriminatory policies and practices.  Auguste was invited to attend the animal putsch as a special guest. His beneficence and Swiss-like neutrality was appreciated by the animals-at-large, not to mention his uncanny ability to communicate with them as though his native tongue was ESP.

"Stupid humans!" roared Lion. "We are not depressed. We are angry and ready to revolt."

"Shame on the zoo! Treating us like a sideshow," hissed Cobra. "Little does our captor know that my fellow serpent brothers and sisters have found a way to slither out of our aquariums and through the pipes where we could strike their paying dupes with one sharp bite."

"These humans fail to respect us. They do not listen to what we want or our needs," crowed Toucan.  "I'm tired of being asked if Pauly wants a cracker. Don't they understand that I am not a parrot?"

"What is it that you want?" Auguste inquired. "I will do my best to help you, but I need to know what your demands are."

The crowd parted like the Red Sea as Anaconda, the animals' union president, squeezed his way through the pride of lions, herd of water buffalo and two kangaroos. With the great weight of his girth and tightness of the space pinning him down, Anaconda tilted his head upwards to face Auguste.

"Auguste, we are fed up by the zoo's treatment of us. We have individual personalities and identities that go beyond our respective genotypes. Like humans, we animals do not fit into strict compartmentalized categories and it is high time that this is recognized and accommodated," Anaconda advised.

"I'm not sure that I completely understand," Auguste replied.

"Why does the Lion get to be king? I am more of a leader than he is. I hunt, bear cubs, cook and clean the den, but I get no respect!" Lioness roared. "This is the twenty-first century and it is high time that Lion stops being the focus of our enclosure. I want my own show!"

"And I am fed up with being called an elephant. From here on in, I will only respond if addressed as Wooly Mammoth!" trumpeted Elephant.

"But you have no fur!" laughed Auguste. "You are being silly!"

"You accuse me of silliness? J’accuse! You are guilty of bigotry just like the rest of the zoo workers. You are discriminating against my choice of self-identification," Elephant retorted.

"That was insensitive of me. I apologize," Auguste said softly bowing his head in deference to the gentle giant. "I do not mean to mock you, but I have studied animal history, genetics, veterinary science - you are in fact an elephant and that cannot be changed."
“Wooly Mammoth,” Elephant trumpeted.

"We demand that everyone who works at the zoo undergo transanimal sensitivity training!" Anaconda bellowed. "You are here today to take note of the animals demands, issues, concerns and personal stories and relay them to management. Otherwise, we are going to strike!"

The strident position of Anaconda resonated with the group emboldening them to step forward and share their stories with Auguste on whom they were depending to be their human voice.  Noting Auguste's acceptance of Anaconda's statements, the zoo's resident species formed a civilized line, each patiently waiting to have their audience with their personal Doctor Doolittle. 

"I resign my position in the family of Cacatuidae! I want to be referred to as a pterodactyl," the Cockatoo chimed enthusiastically.

"Although I appreciate your excitement, it has been proven that birds actually evolved from a group of small bipedal dinosaurs," Auguste whispered to a deflated Cockatoo.

"No matter! It is how I see myself and not how science or evolution does. Put me down as Pterodactyl," Cockatoo instructed.

"So noted," Auguste replied.

"I want to live with the monkeys," Hyena stated. Auguste's laughter was not the reaction the Hyena anticipated.  "What's so funny?"

"Come on Hyena, you must be joking?" Auguste asked rhetorically to a deadpan Hyena. "Ok, please elaborate for me how you believe that you can live with the monkeys."

"We hyenas are a funny lot, always joking around, as do the monkeys. Give me one good reason why we can’t 'monkey' around with our own kind?" Hyena asked.

"Just off the top of my head, um, hyenas are hunters. You kill ninety-five percent of what you eat. You've been known to hunt lions," Auguste replied.

"This is true," Lion offered. "When I lived in the Masai Mara, my brother was killed by a pack of your kind!"

"But, we've changed as a result of living in captivity. We could not harm a fly!" Hyena retorted with a Cheshire smile.  Auguste was not amused.

"When modern veterinary medicine has developed special genotype reassignment surgery, then you can undergo said procedure and live with the monkeys," Auguste advised.

"I do not understand your crazy talk, Auguste. What are you trying to say?" Hyena inquired.

"I'm sorry Hyena, but to allow you to live in the monkey cages would be akin to bringing in cocaine at snack time to a rehab facility," Auguste stated. "Who's next?"

"That would be me," hissed Python. "I feel camouflaged by my surroundings. I'd appreciate it if I could sport some pretty plumage like that of Peacock."

"Um, I am not sure I understand what you are asking for," Auguste interjected. "Are you suggesting that you see yourself as a peacock?"

"What an inane suggestion. I’m proud to be Python. I'm simply asking to wear Peacock. She's just so colourful," Python replied.

"You want to wear me?" Peacock shrieked. "Who do you think you are Hannibal Lecter? Keep that freak away from me!"

Auguste continued to listen to the litany of outrageous claims of various animals: some who felt that they were trapped inside the body of the wrong species; others who believed that the zoo was practicing genotype apartheid; and then there was Alice the Camel who believed that if she underwent hump removal of her lovely lady lumps she could be a horse. After four hours of trying to compute what acceding to the animals’ demands would cost the zoo, and how many of them were physically impossible to acknowledge, let alone comprehend, the other animals happy to accept the existences into which they were born could no longer remain silent.

"This is sheer and utter nonsense!" roared Grizzly Bear. "You had no control over the animal species into which you were born. The idea of Leopard changing his spots to Zebra's black and white stripes is insane! Where do you think you live? On the ‘Island of Dr. Moreau’?"

"Animal comrades, do you not hear yourselves? You sound ridiculous! " queried Penguin. "Ostrich, just because you have a long neck does not make you capable of being a giraffe!"

"You're one to talk Penguin," chirped Ostrich. "You and your gay partner over there are raising and nurturing an egg, which is not something two male penguins are 'meant' to do in nature. Yet, you have done it! All we are asking is a little compassion and quid pro quo.”

"I am not talking about animal sexual orientation. Permutations in sexuality is something that happens as part of the evolutionary process," Penguin shot back. "I am a proud gay male penguin, but I know that I am a penguin and that I cannot be Gazelle. What all of you are talking about is simply ludicrous!"

"Well if the Humans can figure out how to swap bodies, why can't we?" Cockatoo asked Auguste.

"Enough!" shouted Auguste. "You are crazy to think that we 'Humans' have it all figured out!”

“But, Auguste your kind already accepts the types of transmogrifications for which we are demanding recognition,” stated Anaconda.

“It is true that we have gay rights, but people keep fighting with the government to try to take them away. And yes, we have gender reassignment surgery to help those transcend into the body that they believe they always should have had. However, none of this has been accepted or truly tolerated in Human society. Now we have new rules that make no sense to anyone and have caused discord and tribulation. We are being forced to call transgendered people “zhe” and “hir” when all they want to be is the other gender with which they identify and not some bizarre hybrid ‘it.’ I can barely spell those words let alone pronounce them! Do you know what they mean? Can you tell me why I cannot call a transgendered male “he” and his female counterpart “she” when that is what they want to be?" Auguste begged. “Human science may have progressed in many ways to acknowledge nature’s limitations, which could not predetermine how life would absolutely evolve, but there are some basic things that cannot change. Just as I cannot become a Rhodesian Ridgeback, Alice remains Camel, Hyena is never going to be Monkey and Python is just creepy.”

“If that’s the case, then we are screwed,” laughed Hyena.

“Not necessarily Hyena. Remember, we are out of our cages. What the zoo and science cannot achieve, Darwin’s survival of the fittest can accomplish,” hissed Anaconda.

Awakening to the reality that if their demands could not be met through mediation, the animals decided to resort to good old-fashioned physical demonstrations that would send a strong message to the zookeepers. Auguste met a head on collision with a melee of discordant simians, birds, bears, pachyderms, marsupials, mammals, lions, canines and squamates who erupted into a full scale jungle war. Having barely made it out alive, Auguste swore that he would take a vow of monastic silence dedicating the rest of his life to meditating with the holy men in Tibet’s Tashilhunpo Monastery hoping to make sense of what goes on in the minds of God’s creatures.

© 2012. Naomi Elana Zener. All rights reserved.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Unemployed by Naomi Elana Zener

"Well, did you get my e-mail?" Jane asked.

"Yeah," Adam replied.

"And?" Jane pressed.

"And what?" Adam spat back.
"Will you please open the door and speak to me like a human being? I am your mother!" Jane ordered.
Reluctantly, Adam put down his laptop, rolled out of bed to unlock his door and then lumbered back to bed like a Neanderthal to resume his geriatric-like vegetative state. Jane swung the door open with purpose, immediately taking stock of her adult son's childhood bedroom, which appeared to have been hit by a tornado. Jane noted that the sheets on his bed were likely several weeks old, based on the stains glaring at her. Dirty clothes were strewn about the floor, as were a panoply of both empty and half-empty pizza boxes and fast food take out cartons, emanating a stench of partially rotting food.

"How can you live like this? You're a pig!" Jane cried to no reaction from her son. "So, what did you think about what I sent you?"

"I'm overqualified for that position," Adam grumbled without looking up from his computer screen.

"How's that?" Jane asked skeptically. "They are looking for someone with a high school diploma and two years of retail experience. You worked at the Gap for three years during high school, so you know how to fold shirts and pants. Not that anyone would know it by looking at your swamp of dirty clothes on the floor."

"Ma, I'm overqualified," Adam screamed. "Just leave it alone."

"Don't take that tone with me young man! You are thirty years old and living in my house, so show me some respect," Jane demanded. "A job is a job and you need an income."

"Ma, I'm a fucking Harvard Law School graduate. I was in the top ten percent of my class. I had offers from every blue chip firm on Wall Street. I have three years of corporate securities experience. I'm overqualified to be a stockroom inventory clerk at fucking Filene's Basement," Adam bellowed.

"Well, you live in a basement so..." Jane offered in attempt at injecting levity into the situation.

"You're hilarious!" Adam replied returning to perusing the search results on
"Honey, I know how smart you are, but the economy is in shambles and people are willing to take any job they can find until they can have the career they want. You of all people should understand that since you were an integral cog in the machine that helped to undo the global economy," Jane stated unnerved.

"Excuse me?" Adam queried scowling at his mother.

"Well you were part of the team that advised Lehman Brothers that asset-backed securities and credit default swaps were kosher," Jane replied. "Forget I said anything. That was the past. So you were a big deal for a little while. Now, you are no different than all of those innocent people swindled out of their life-savings from the fallout of the collapse of the economy. But, the reality is that you have no money, you have no home and you have no prospects in your profession of choice. Instead of wallowing in self-pity, you need to pull up your bootstraps, find a job even if it only pays minimum wage, shower, put on some clean clothes and become a contributing member of society."

"Thanks for the pep talk Ma," Adam muttered.
"One more thing. While you're browsing the Internet for a job, it wouldn't hurt you to sign up on one of those dating websites to find a nice young lady to settle down with. You're a catch!" Jane advised encouragingly trying to change the subject.

"Are you out of your fucking mind?" You've just told me I'm a bottom-feeding pig who was instrumental in destroying the global economy, ruining the lives of millions.  Your advice is that I should get a job doing anything that pays me minimum wage for which I'm overqualified as a result of wasting eight years of my life getting an Ivy League education for which I'm in debt up to my eyeballs. At what point in your motivational speech to me to boost my self-confidence did the idea that any of my current qualities that you have just described would be attractive to a person of the opposite sex?" Adam inquired rhetorically.

"Don't forget to clean up your room. I'm not your maid, not that you could afford one," Jane sighed as she left Adam's room.
Quixotic, Adam spent the next several days drowning out the sounds of his crowing mother, which filtered through the paper-thin walls of and door to his basement hideout, by blaring angry gangster rap. Immovable from the safety of his nest, partially due to the fact that his sheets had transformed into a second skin, Adam sent out hundreds of resumes to law firms and corporate legal departments, only to receive almost instantaneous 'please fuck off' letters thanking him for the opportunity to review his resume, but advising him that he is not the right fit for any of the jobs to which he had applied.

On a lark and having been celibate for too many years to count, Adam set up a profile on a few dating sites magically hoping against the odds that there might be a woman out there he could dazzle with his profile and Harvard gravitas long enough to get laid before she realized that he was not the golden goose promised in his online biography. Sadly, the wise and savvy women floating incorporeally in the ether of the worldwide web were able to deftly cross-examine Adam about his profile, unlocking the vaulted truth about his career retrenchment and Peter Pan-challenged dwelling situation, in both fewer questions and less time than it took Clarence Darrow to expose the truth of a witness under oath. Taking heed of his mother's 'words of wisdom,' Adam resigned himself to trolling the less reputable job search engines in the hopes of finding something that would set him back on his legal career path. Despondent and forlorn after eighteen months of celibacy, unemployment riddled with repudiations from every employer with a legal or tangentially-related position, and unwilling to accept the swelling possibility that he could be a lifetime rent-free tenant of his mother's basement, Adam came across a classified ad that held some promise:

Attention Unemployed: Are you highly educated? Hold multiple degrees in any of the areas of: law, finance, science or engineering? Are you literate and enjoy reading about current events, especially those concerning politics and the economy? Are you goal-oriented? Are you a natural born leader? Do you have good hand-eye coordination? Small fingers? Do you know how to ‘google’? Are you good at asking questions, but know how to follow instructions without question? Can you read a recipe? Do you like watching movies? Looking to work in a collegial team environment that allows for the spotlight to shine on your individuality and sense of independence?  Look no further because we have the job for you!  Please send us your resume by e-mail to: with an explanation of what makes you ideally suited for this opportunity. In anticipation of an interview, and kindly note we interview every candidate who applies, you should prepare by watching old episodes of MacGyver, Perry Mason, the A-Team and The French Chef, and spend a few hours per day playing the following video games: Duck Hunt, Gang Wars, World Domination, Grand Theft Auto, Air Force Delta Strike and Trauma Center: Second Opinion.  This job will earn the respect from your family and peers that you so richly deserve, give you a sense of belonging, restore your self-esteem, which will help you meet women, and offers a competitive salary, benefits package and bonus.

With great haste, Adam e-mailed his resume to the address provided, buoyed by the prospect that after submitting several thousand applications, finally he would be guaranteed an interview. Confidence somewhat restored, Adam half-smiled at the prospect of a face-to-face meeting, as he knew he always blossomed in front of an interviewer. Adam’s optimism grew as the notifying 'ping' from his e-mail notified him that he had mail.

Thank you for submitting to us your very impressive resume. We are quite eager to meet you and wondered if it would not be too presumptuous to inquire if you are able to come to our office tomorrow for an interview? Our address is 1351 Price Street and we would be delighted to meet with you at 3:00p.m.  Please advise.

Not wasting time, Adam replied with alacrity accepting the scheduled offering. Recognizing that the disheveled state of his bedroom would require extensive excavation in order to unearth a clean, unwrinkled suit to wear for the interview, he called upon his loving and supportive mother to look for one. Adam set about preparing furiously for the interview, which was in less than one day's time, per the advertisement's instructions. Plus, he still had to shave and shower. Flush with Red Bull coursing through his veins and a double hit of his ADHD medication, Adam spent the next eighteen hours without a speck of sleep sourcing and watching reruns of the delineated television series online and playing the required video games, which he borrowed from his younger brother. Semi-fresh, shaven and clean, Adam left the day of the interview confident that he would transcend his avocation drought and return home cocksure with fresh employment in hand.

"Good afternoon, Mr. Adam," Mila said cheerfully from behind the reception desk in the offices of 1351 Price Street. "Won't you please sit down? Mr. George will be with you momentarily."

"Thanks, but you can just call me 'Adam'," Adam replied taking a seat on a well worn in sofa.

"Very good Mr. Adam," Mila countered.

"Mila, please send in Mr. Adam," a static and muffled voice ordered via the intercom.

"Please Mr. Adam, through the first door on your left," Mila instructed. Adam took leave of the sofa striding assuredly into Mr. George's office.

"Welcome, welcome," Mr. George said as he shook Adam's hand. "Please sit down Mr. Adam."

"Thank you, but please, call me Adam, Mr. George."

"Ok. And you may call me Mr. George. So let's begin as I have many questions for you. First, how would you describe yourself?"

"Well, I would say that I am a highly educated lawyer, who stood at the top of my class at Harvard and is willing to work hard to achieve success," Adam offered.
"What episodes of each of MacGyver, Perry Mason, The A-Team and The French Chef did you watch in preparation for the interview?" Mr. George inquired.

"I grew up watching The A-Team, so I've seen every episode. But, I did see approximately ten episodes of each of Perry Mason and The French Chef," Adam replied.
"What was your favourite MacGyver episode?" Mr. George wondered.

"I liked the one where he uses an army knife, duct tape, a broken light bulb and a paperclip to blow up a helicopter," Adam replied knowing that he had only ever seen two episodes of MacGyver in his life.
"Very good. I especially liked Season Six's episode three entitled 'The Gun,' which originally aired on October 1, 1993. It was the episode where a police officer was shot with a gun used to assassinate a presidential candidate. I really like the ones where government leaders are targeted for execution," Mr. George explained. "However, I am not a big fan of Saturday Night Live's spoof called ‘MacGruber.’ To denigrate the impressive talents of a man who can make a bomb out of some gum, shoe polish and a twist tie is very insulting.  But, I digress.  What is your greatest weakness?" Mr. George asked.

"Chocolate," Adam advised deadpan to no reaction. "Ha, ha, I was only kidding. Perhaps, it is that I have too liberal a sense of humour."

"There is nothing funny in the work we do here," Mr. George retorted. "There are serious ramifications if you do not carry out your assigned tasks."

"I'm sorry, you misunderstood me. I take my work very seriously, but sometimes I like to make jokes to ease the tension," Adam offered.

"Ah, I see. I, too, like to make with the funny, but only on special occasions," Mr. George replied. "Perhaps this is a weakness that you can control?"


"And what is your greatest strength?" Mr. George asked.

"I will do everything necessary to get the job done to the satisfaction of my employer," Adam replied noting Mr. George's contentment with his answer.

"How many hours do you normally work?" Mr. George queried. "I make this inquiry because this is more than just a job, it is a lifestyle."

"As many as the job requires," Adam advised.

"How do you handle stress and pressure?"
"Very well. In fact, in my former job, where I was a securities lawyer, I had to deal with immense scrutiny from the Securities Exchange Commission to provide information under strict deadlines that would satisfy the regulator whilst protecting my clients.”
"Did you practice each of Duck Hunt, Gang Wars, World Domination, Grand Theft Auto, Air Force Delta Strike and Trauma Center: Second Opinion in anticipation of today's interview? And if so, what were your scores?" Mr. George demanded.
"Yes, I played each one and every time I played I always achieved scores in the ninetieth percentile or higher," Adam countered.
"Do you prefer to work independently or on a team?" Mr. George inquired. 
"Either is fine, but if truth be told, I do tend towards more independent thinking so I would say between the two I like solo missions," Adam advised.
"Good to know as we have many opportunities for unassisted assignments," Mr. George counseled. "Why were you fired?"

"As you know, the world economy collapsed as a result of a series of securities that flooded the market that had little to no value," Adam whispered.

"You mean credit-default swaps?" Mr. George interrupted.
"Yes. Well, I worked for a law firm that provided the legal advice that endorsed the use of such securities to the various financial institutions. When the crisis hit, we were all fired and ever since I have been wearing a scarlet letter of sorts tainting me in the job market," Adam replied.

"So, you are the one who helped to unravel the U.S. and western World economies," Mr. George whispered audibly to himself. "Impressive."

"You're the first person to acknowledge the magnitude of what happened in such a positive manner," Adam said with surprise.

"What have you been doing since your last job?" Mr. George asked ignoring Adam's remarks.

"Nothing," Adam replied. "I've been living in my mother's basement, not working and not earning a dime for close to two years now. I am desperate for work, as many Americans are."
"Then why have you not sought work at Walmart or McDonalds? Certainly if you are desperate you could have found paid labour. Why do you want this job?" Why should we hire you?"

"I respect that fact, but I also did not want to demean my education, abilities and expertise. I truly believe that there is a position out there that requires my skill set," Adam stated emphatically. "Based upon the information in your advertisement, I think that this job suits my experience. By the way, can you please give me some more details on what the job entails?"

"Let me see your hands," Mr. George instructed ignoring Adam's question. Mr. George beamed as he noted the slender, yet stubby nature of Adam's delicate fingers. "Are you willing to travel?"
"Definitely," Adam replied.

"How do you feel about lifetime job security?" Mr. George asked.

"I'd love it!"
"Have you ever sat in a dark closet in freezing temperatures without going to the bathroom for a continuous twenty-four hour period wearing four layers of clothing?" Mr. George asked.

"Um, no," Adam replied hesitantly. "Have you?"

"Oh yes, several times. In fact, if you accept the job, it will be part of your training," Mr. George explained. "What are your salary requirements?"
"I'd like to make what I did when I worked on Wall Street as a lawyer," Adam explained. "However, I recognize that I am starting from ground zero and I do not know what the going rate is for this job. Could you please share a few details about the job description?"

"How do you feel about alternative sources of remuneration" Mr. George asked paying no heed to Adam’s question.

"It depends on what you mean by 'alternative.' If you mean a comprehensive package that includes a lower base salary because there is a large bonus based on job performance, plus all expenses paid, generous vacation entitlement and a comprehensive medical-dental plan, then yes, I would be happy with such 'alternative' sources of remuneration," Adam advised.

"What will you do if you don't get this position?" Mr. George asked.
"I suppose I will return home to my mother's basement to continue pounding the pavement. I cannot imagine that I would become more hopeless than I already do. Perhaps if I don't find anything suitable to my background, I will have to apply for a job at a mall, which will likely lead to suicidal ideation landing me thrice-weekly on a therapist’s couch," Adam joked.

"More of that humour," Mr. George noted. "Is there anything I haven't told you about the job or company that you would like to know?"

"Well I'd like more details on the actual job. Also, why did I need to watch 'The French Chef'?" Adam inquired.
"Ms. Child's cooking show makes understanding a recipe easy. We want to know that you can comprehend and follow basic instructions," Mr. George advised. "Plus, each employee takes turns cooking for the team and we really like French food."

"And Perry Mason?"

"To learn how to withstand cross-examination techniques," Mr. George replied.
"Why did I need to practice playing all of those video games?" Adam queried. "And, why did you need to see my hands?"
"To determine what your manual dexterity and fine motor skills are like," Mr. George apprised. “With such high scores and perfectly proportioned hands, you are perfect for the work we do here.”
"Don't you want to know what my goals are for the next five to ten years?" Adam asked.

"Not really since we offer lifetime job security," Mr. George replied.

"Don't you want to know what was it like working for my last supervisor?" Adam queried.
"It is of little consequence to us. Your last supervisor does not work here and regardless, we have ways to deal effectively with employee discord that eliminates any turmoil that may arise," Mr. George explained. "In any event, much of this job does not allow for such disharmony to last long."

"How do you evaluate success?" Adam inquired.

"By completing your assigned duty, you are immediately promoted to the next level, thus, we will know you have been successful," Mr. George replied. "So, do you accept the position?"

"I think so," Adam said hesitantly as the job sounded almost too good to be true.

"Congratulations! You are the newest member of our sleeper cell's covert guerrilla task force. All of your meals, accommodation, medical coverage and travel will be paid for by the company. Upon the completion of your mission, you will become the hero you've always wanted to be, which will garner the respect and recognition of your family and friends that has been elusive to date," Mr. George advised joyously. "More importantly, when you transcend your planar existence, you will be rewarded with the commission of seventy-two vestal virgins."

"I'm confused. What is the exact job title?" Adam vacillated.

"Suicide Bomber to be precise," Mr. George touted.

Adam bolted from Mr. George's office at supersonic speed, faster than the speed at which Felix Baumgartner broke the sound barrier when he skydived from space, noting that he needed to quickly find the nearest FBI bureau in order to enter the Witness Protection Program.

 © 2012 Naomi Elana Zener.  All rights reserved.