THE INTERVIEW

Sam Jackson stood patiently in the clinically oppressive elevator, his livelihood about to be decided by what someone else thought of his life experience boiled down to a sheet of paper. He wondered how long it would take to be brought up. It. The elephant in the room. His name. Sam practiced his laugh in the mirror, hoping beyond hope that his disdain wouldn’t come through when the interviewer inevitably riffed on the goddamn name.

He decided he’d be a good sport and laugh along with it, but get off the subject as soon as possible.

But should he? Realistically, Samuel L. Jackson is a pretty popular actor. Chances are good that the interviewer might be a fan. Maybe Sam could slip his work experience in between a casual review of Pulp Fiction and a discussion on the man’s versatile use of the f-word.

At the end of the day, though, it all came down to that sheet of paper. That nakedness on the page. He didn’t have much experience, there were no two ways about it. If he could get the person on the other side of the desk to laugh, that was fine, but it would still come down to that fluffed-up, generic crap that he’d obsessed over for weeks and still not been happy with.

DING.

The door’s light proclaimed “42.” This was it. Sam’s heart leapt into his throat.

But for some reason, the door wouldn’t open. A few seconds passed by, enough time for Sam to nervously gulp twice, but still it wouldn’t open. Was he stuck here? That’d really be his luck, to blow it before he even stepped through the door. It’d be back to subsisting off ramen for sure.

CREAK.

The whole elevator lurched, ready to drop.

Oh God, don’t let me die here. I’ll let you take the interview away, but at least let me live.

There was a loud snap, like a gargantuan thread had been snipped by the world’s largest pair of scissors. The bright, digital forty-two stood out in sharp relief, every detail of its shape stuck in Sam’s brain as his eyes desperately took everything in.

WHOOSH.

The forty-two disappeared, replaced at once by forty-one. Sam was too scared to yell. The numbers were plummeting faster still. Now twenty, now fifteen. Sam clamped his eyes shut as it counted down to one. And then…

NOTHING.

Sam opened his eyes. The numbers still flashed brightly as they counted, but this time they were seemingly getting larger as opposed to smaller. That is, until Sam noticed the little digital minus sign in front of them. The elevator just kept falling. First Sam’s eyes caught a glimpse of “-23,” then “-67.” The numbers climbed into the double digits, past “-248,” then “-946.” He thought he was going to be sick.

SWISH.

The elevator suddenly came to a halt with the delicate touch of a mother placing her baby in a crib. Sam gulped for air like a fish out of water, his pits as soaked as if they were just in water themselves. His shitty resume lay in a crumpled mess at his feet, desperate shoe prints stamped all over it. The little digital number proclaimed “-1234.”

DING.

Sam’s eyes went to the door, wide as could be. Time crawled slowly by on all fours. The elevator door quivered, as if it was just as scared as the elevator’s occupant. And then it opened.

Before Sam Jackson was a massive subterranean metropolis. There were pillars and caves, buildings and spires, waterfalls and bioluminescent bugs that glowed brilliant colors as they whizzed by. There were reptilian, winged beasts and many-eyed, furry creatures that were riding them.

The latter of these sights, the beasts with many eyes and thick, coarse fur took immediate interest in the new arrival. They halted their conversations, landed their dinosaur-like rides and all just stopped and stared, poised to strike.

There were several possible courses of action for Sam Jackson, but none of them seemed to him to be too promising at the moment. He could try his hand at escaping through the elevator, but experience had already proven that that hell-machine was not to be trusted. What’s more, there wasn’t even a button to open the damn thing’s door back up.

He could drop to his knees and cry, beg for mercy to creatures that he wasn’t even sure would understand him.

But fuck that. He was sick and tired of all this nonsense. He’d worked his ass off on that resume, a resume he wasn’t even happy with, only for it to be ruined by some faulty, supernatural elevator. What’s more, he just missed out on the interview of his life all because of some freak occurrence. And he didn’t even get to discuss Pulp Fiction.

The beasts sprinted toward Sam, bellowing a battle cry as they went. A second passed. Then another. Before he could stop himself, Sam ran headlong toward them too. His battle cry was a little less impressive than their mighty roar, but at least he was trying.

Without a second to spare, Sam spied one of the winged beasts alone, set free from its now-sprinting owner. In one fluid motion, Sam ran to it, leapt into the air, and landed precariously onto its back.

With a swift kick he had it flying away, above the heads of his pursuers. Another kick and it sent flames barreling out of its prehistoric mouth. Bolstered, Sam turned the monster back toward the furry beasts below and swooped down for them. He kicked the beast, sending flames spilling forward.

SLAM.

Sam smashed into the ground, dazed. He got up, clutching his head. Sparks issued from his downed steed. Its scaly skin was ripped away, exposing electronics and wires.

“Enough.”

One of the furry monsters held up a remote control. It reached toward its head and pulled it off. A pleasant-looking man smiled within the now-revealed monster suit.

“You’ve got the job.”

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