I wrote this story a long long time ago. It's ironic now that I have re-read it, that I am going through the same type of scenario, company and position being phased out through a merger. Except, I probably won't find an ad, like the character in the story does. But then, there's always wishing... Hope you like it. Larrbear
The ad was simple.
“Wanted: Volunteers for testing of new products. Paid for time invested. Qualified applicants needed for long term evaluations & commitment. If interested contact the nearest Bureau of Industrial Testing center”
The ad was placed in various papers through out the country. The Bureau Industrial Testing had at least one location in each State. The demand for testing of various new products was high, and the Center produced excellent results for the major companies that invested in its output. The Center’s results were sought after by many others, and so the need for applicants was never ending.
Larry looked at the ad. He was getting desperate. He had just lost his job due to ‘downsizing,’ and Christmas was around the corner. Searching for a new job was on his mind, but he had to come up with some cash if he wanted to have a descent Christmas. He picked up a paper, scouring the wanted section, looking for a source that would maybe provide an answer, and a quick fix.
“Paid for time invested...” Larry mumbled to himself. “Well maybe this can get me a little cash for the time being.”
Larry looked at the address listed under the ad. He smiled when he realized that the Center was located only a few miles away, on the other side of the city. “What the hell. I need the money, and it can’t hurt to check into it.” He said to himself, making a mental note of the address, and tucking the paper under his arm. A few minutes later Larry was on bus, heading toward the address.
Walking a few blocks from where the bus had dropped him off, Larry found himself standing outside what looked to be a well-secured complex. A simple sign was on the side of the building “B.I.T. Center” In front of the fenced off building was a security blockhouse.
Larry walked over to the blockhouse. There was another person standing outside, talking to a security guard. As Larry walked closer, he saw the guard clip a badge on to the Green Bay Packer NFL jacket the young man was wearing, and then pointed to an entrance. The young man waved thanks and walked through the gate and towards the entrance.
“Can I help you?” The Security Guard asked, as Larry stepped up to the blockhouse window.
“Yes, I hope I am at the right place. I am here is response to this ad” Larry commented, showing the security guard the paper, pointing to the ad.
“Did you call for an appointment?” The guard asked, scanning a computer screen, looking for a name.
“No, I am sorry, I just saw the ad, and thought I would come over and apply.” Larry replied.
“Larry Lukas” Larry replied.
The guard typed the name into the computer, checking with Larry for spelling. After verifying the name, the guard picked up a telephone receiver. “Just a minute.”
The guard was on the phone for a few minutes, giving the person on the other end of the receiver my name. After a few nods, looking at the computer screen, and looking at Larry, the guard hung up the phone, and pressed a button on the computer. A hum was heard. A piece of red paper labeled ‘Visitor’ and below it ’Larry Lukas,’ appeared out of a printer next to the computer. The guard took the piece of paper and puts it into a clip on badge, and turned to Larry.
“Wear this at all times when in the building.” The guard clipped the badge to Larry’s winter coat. “You can enter through that door. A reception room is there and you can fill out an application there. You are not allowed in any other part of the building, unless you are cleared and given another badge on the inside.”
Larry thanked the guard, and walked through the gate towards the entrance.
Entering the reception room, just as the guard told him to do, Larry was greeted by the receptionist.
“Hi Larry,” the receptionist smiled. “Welcome to B.I.T. I was told that you came in response to the ad.”
“Yes, I saw your ad, and would like to inquire about the volunteer position.”
“That’s great!” The receptionist smiled again. “Well then, we can start by having you fill out this application form.” She handed Larry a clipboard with a pen. “You can sit right over there at that table and fill it out, as complete as possible. When you are finished, you can give it back to me, and I can set up and interview for you.”
Larry smiled back, and took the clipboard. He looked around the room. The young person he saw earlier, was sitting down in a chair thumbing through a magazine. Larry spotted the badge that was attached to the NFL jacket. It was a different color than his own. The young man’s badge was blue, and bore the name ‘Tim’. The table was over in the other corner of the room. Larry walked over to the table and pulled a chair out to sit. Looking at the application, Larry set to the task of filling out the information it asked.
A buzzer rang, and Larry looked up from the application. A woman in a white lab coat walked into the reception room and walked to the young man sitting in the chair.
“Hi Tim. Welcome to B.I.T. My name is Denise” The woman extended her hand to the young man. “I see you are ready for work!”
Tim stood up and shook the woman’s hand. “Yes I am, I can’t wait to get started!”
“Well, we’ll have plenty of time and many items for you to try.” The woman continued. “We can go in, and get started.”
“Great!” Tim replied
Denise led Tim back to the Reception’s Desk, and said something to the receptionist. Larry turned back to the application after watching Tim and the woman exit through the open door.
Larry continued filling out the application form. He hated application forms. They always wanted to know the life history of the applicant. Filling in the blanks on the form, the application was soon filled. Larry returned the clipboard and pen, with completed forms back to the receptionist.
“Great!” The receptionist smiled, looking at the application, and then back at Larry. “If you would like, I can set up an interview for you. Would today be okay?”
“Sure, today would be great!” Larry smiled back.
“Well, why don’t you have a seat, and I’ll se what I can do for you.” The receptionist replied.
“Thank you.” Larry responded, and headed over the chair. He sat down and looked at the magazines on the table next to the chair. There were several, but none that really interested him. Titles like ‘Parents World,’ ‘The Mother’s Corner,’ and ‘Clothing for Kids’ really did not do much for him. Larry looked around the room. On the wall next to him was a huge display case and a plaque listing the various companies that were prime investors in the company. Among the names were companies as Proctor & Gamble, Kimberly-Clark, S.C. Johnson, and Carter’s. He looked over to the receptionist, who seemed to be rattling off some information about him over a telephone receiver. The receptionist motioned him over to the desk. Larry walked to the desk.
“Could you stick around for a few minutes? An appointment canceled at the last moment, and one of the staff members could see you now.”
“Sure” Larry smiled. His luck seemed to b changing for the day.
“Great, have a seat, and someone will be right out to speak with you.” The receptionist beamed back.
Larry returned to his seat. He picked up a magazine, even thought he really was not interested in it. He thumbed through a few pages, then looked at the cover to see what he had picked. It was the ‘Clothing for Kids’. “Strange” Larry thought, looking at some the ads in the magazine. Most of them were for diapers, and infant clothing. “You would think they would have some more grown-up types of magazines.”