FICTION: Is This What You Wanted? (A Quiz)

You have been working at this agency for twelve years and no one has thought to promote you, even though it was you who birthed the idea for the $12.5 million fast-food print campaign called “the sky’s the limit,” depicting a child staring up at a bright blue sky filled with a variety of fried chicken pieces for clouds. This makes you feel

a) Angry
b) Invisible
c) Unsurprised
d) All of the above

So when you find out Jeff is resigning to move in with his girlfriend in Des Moines (a bad idea, really, because Jeff gets cold and “can’t focus” when the AC in the conference room is turned lower than 70 degrees), leaving the Creative Director position open with only three current employees—including you—qualified enough to fill it, you

a) Crack open a pint of Cherry Garcia at your desk and sweat through your bra
b) Ask Jeff if he knows when he’s leaving, not because you want him to or anything, but out of curiosity
c) Tell yourself that aspiring for things is stupid and you’re probably going to die a copywriter
d) All of the above

As everyone is leaving for the day, you finally get up the nerve to go to the boss’ office and see if he has anyone in mind for the position, but he says, “not really, we’ll probably do an outside hire,” which causes you to

a) Forget every word you’ve ever learned
b) Stammer, “If you hired someone, from, say, our existing marketing department, I feel like, you know, they’d probably go above and beyond to do a good job here, right?”
c) Tremble in the doorway for a full minute
d) All of the above, plus worse

To which the boss just kind of raises his eyebrows, making you feel like a(n)

a) Imbecile
b) Child
c) Waste of time
d) All of the—whatever

So you decide to prove your worth by staying late every day for the next month, working on the accounts that none of the other senior copywriters want to bother with, and you get two brands to sign with you again even though they left you for your competition last year. Finally, the boss notices you and says “Call me Craig,” and when he asks you, over a one-on-one dinner meeting, where you see yourself going with the company, you

a) Flush until your cheeks are that god-awful magenta that your mother says embarrasses her when Uncle Al asks at family reunions why you don’t want to date anyone
b) Word-vomit at him that you’d really like to be Creative Director one day
c) Oh, God, that’s so forward, did you really just say that?
d) Oh, God, Oh, God, Oh, God

And when Craig replies that he’ll see what he can do, but that you’ll have to work a lot of late hours with him, so it isn’t the best job for someone with distractions like hobbies or children or love, you

a) Tell him that you don’t mind, you really, really don’t mind
b) Wonder if the only reason you didn’t get offered the job in the first place is that somebody thought you had hobbies and children and love
c) Wonder why it matters anyway, and if it’s a bad thing that you don’t
d) Is it a bad thing that you don’t?

But when you arrive at work the following week and Jeff’s office is empty and Craig takes you by the arm and guides you towards it and it’s actually yours, it’s yours yours yours, you relax, and think

a) !!!!!!!!
b) !!!!!!!!!!!
c) !!!!!!
d) !!!!!!!!!

And on Friday, Craig tells you that you have to stay late with him to work on the Nike account, so you go to his office, and he closes the door and laughs at your dumb basketball jokes and orders you Thai food, and when you’re done eating, he tells you that you’re a talented employee and that he should have promoted you earlier. This makes you feel

a) Redeemed
b) Seen
c) Flattered
d) Something else that you can’t quite name

Then, he stands and stretches and walks up behind you to put a stack of papers away, and on his way back he pauses and brushes his hand against

a) Your chair
b) Your hair
c) Your shoulder
d) Your neck

And his hand is slightly sweaty, and you can smell the chili pepper on his breath, which is so warm in your ear when he says “We shouldn’t” but leans closer to you still, and you’re not sure you remember how to move, and the one thing you’re sure of is that you are a

a) Fool
b) Fool
c) Fool
d) Fool

And you are frozen in your chair, despite the heat of his body, when you feel his lips make contact with your ear, and you

a)
b)
c)
d)

And wonder to yourself

a) Is this what you asked for?
b)
c)
d)

Is this what you want?

Kyra Kondis is an MFA candidate at George Mason University. She is also the proud owner of three (3) small cacti. Some of her work can be found in or forthcoming in Synaesthesia Magazine, Matchbook, Jellyfish Review, and Honey & Lime Lit.

 

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