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Equal Employment Opportunity

by Alice Kemp

“I see from your employment record that you have had quite a few years of experience in cooking and serving.” James Peterson looked up from the application directly into the eyes of the attractive woman seated across from him. “Yet, if you don’t mind my saying so, you look too young to have so much experience.”

“I don’t mind at all, Mr. Peterson. I’m really older than I look, thanks to cosmetics and such, you know.” Ana Drew smiled faintly, not wanting to expose her more obvious characteristics too soon. Experience had proven that some of her differences tended to put potential employers off, making them less likely to hire her despite the equal employment opportunity laws.

“You missed filling in the reason for leaving your last position,” he said sliding her application across the desk to her.

“Oh, sorry.” She looked down at the paper, breaking their eye contact.

This allowed James to regroup with an effort. She was very attractive despite the cosmetic touches that looked as though she had applied them without a mirror. He also noticed with some surprise that she was sporting a pretty good tan until she reached for a pen on his desk. The pale skin of her wrist that was revealed below the long-sleeved blouse she was wearing contrasted sharply with the color of her hand.

She must apply makeup to her hands as well as to her face, he thought somewhat sarcastically.

After Ana filled in the appropriate box, James briefly scanned the newly added information. The reason she listed was common for most applicants like her: not being able to work any day shift were the grounds for termination she had written down.

She felt the need to explain. “I told them when they hired me that I couldn’t work day shift, but they still used that as an excuse to fire me. It was just plain discrimination.”

Her interviewer listened politely before commenting, “I suppose what most concerns me is your... ah, shall we say, dietary requirements? We do have a rule that all employees have to eat our food and not bring in anything else. And I don’t suppose you can eat regular food?” His face turned somewhat red at bringing up such an indelicate subject.

“You’re quite correct, Mr. Peterson. Liquid nutrition is the only kind I can take. No offense, but your sodas and tea and coffee simply won’t work for me. I’ll have to bring my own.”

She held up her hand — a hand with unusually long, sharp fingernails — to forestall the objection she could see her interviewer about to bring up. “Please, sir. I am well acquainted with the equal employment opportunity law that states that every reasonable effort must be made to accommodate an employee with disabilities. And my condition has been confirmed as a disability; I even have the verification papers from my doctor.

“Now what is so unreasonable about letting me bring my own lunch? Synthetics have made it so much easier to live with people who don’t have this particular handicap. And although synthetics don’t taste as good as the ‘real’ thing, I’ve found that flavoring it with wolf’s bane not only improves the flavor but also keeps those pesky wolves at bay.” This time Ana forgot herself and smiled broadly.

James shivered at the sight. He wasn’t totally convinced that she would stick to synthetic nourishment. Besides, he didn’t like her reference to wolves. Their chain did employ some with that particular disability. They just couldn’t work when the moon was full. Frankly he felt more comfortable working with overly hairy humans than with someone as attractive and hypnotic as Ana.

Seeming to read his mind, the interviewee added, “My references should confirm my claim that I have never... ah, hit up any of my former fellow employees. I have a firm ethical code that does not allow me to do that.” She held up the newspaper with the ad in it and pointed to it. “You did say in this ad that your strongest need is for third-shift employees, and that’s really the only shift I can work, as I’m sure you already know.”

“Yes, I do know about that limitation. However, you would be working with raw meat. How do I know you’ll be able to resist the temptation to... uh...”

“Mr. Peterson! I’ve been well-trained in hygiene and have adhered very strictly to all hygienic procedures in my previous food-handling positions. None of my previous employers could ever find fault with me in that department.”

Ana knew the real reason she had been let go from most of her previous jobs was that her co-workers were just too uncomfortable working with her. She was usually able to predict about how long that would take on any particular site, and forestalled being terminated by simply turning in her notice. However, she had slipped up on the last one and overstayed her welcome. Not being able to work any shift except third gave previous employers a convenient excuse to fire her.

Peterson studiously avoided looking directly into his applicant’s eyes. He had been lucky the first time but doubted his luck would hold. “Well, I’ll have to check your references, of course, and I do have other applications to go over.”

Standing up, he indicated the interview was at an end. “I’ll give you a call if I decide to try you out.” He did not offer his hand.

Back outside in the hearse where her lord and master patiently waited, Ana said angrily as she slid behind the wheel, “I don’t think that ass is going to hire me. There is just so much discrimination these days against us despite no real attacks against humans for years. No verified attacks anyway, although some jerk is always trying to make the headlines by claiming to be bitten by one of us.”

“Well, you’ll just have to keep trying, my dear,” the Count said. “We need the gas and synthetic blood money, and you know how opposed I am to going to work myself. There would be even more discrimination against me because of my advanced age. Besides, what would the people back home in Transylvania think if they knew their Count was flipping burgers in America? It just isn’t seemly.”

In her disgust about the unfairness of most humans, Ana floored the accelerator, leaving about a quarter mile of rubber behind them and rattling the two earth-filled coffins in the back.

Copyright © 2013 by Alice Kemp

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