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Sunday, 10 June 2012

Dogged by choice

Admitting me five minutes earlier,
the necklace reached to just below the knees.
Shortened now to three loops round her neck,
she moved the beads like they
were on some sort of abacus -
and would continue so to do
throughout the interview.

Reclining on an ancient chesterfield,
no model ever gave more thought to matters
of the pose,  before she'd motion me
towards a leather easy chair.
The shaggy hound who'd followed us
from the front door, now took up residence
stretched out upon the floor
between me and my only exit.

For interview she trotted out the
necessary questions: how would
you organise the math for, say,
a class of ten year olds? I gave -
I think - the necessary answers:
Somehow it felt unreal, like we were acting
on a stage before an audience we could not see.

And then the unexpected question: Would I like
a brandy or Dubonnet? The punctuation mark
between the formal and the chat.
And all the while the clock ticked on
I was planning my escape.
There seemed no chance - until
the necklace broke. Some beads rolled out
across the floor, but most had disappeared
into her ample cleavage. I saw my chance.
No hesitation, I was on my feet,
palm raised in front of me. Don't move!
I cried. I'll find my own way out!

Remarkably, I got the job. Years later, though,
I learned: The dog it was chose me.
He'd liked me from the first, she said -
and that was good enough for her.
...........................................................
Brian Miller at http://dversepoets.com/ has set the subject Choice

27 comments:

The Elephant's Child said...

The brandy or the Dubonnet offer should have been a give away as well. You don't waste such things on those you will never see again.
There is no such thing as pity brandy, much less pity Dubonnet.

ordinarylifelessordinary said...

Well they do say that first impressions count and you obviously made an impression!

Brian Miller said...

there is an interesting layer of temptation underneath this...and that is a choice that we all will face at some point...and often....it is interesting the dog chose you and she put stock in that as well...cool story dave.

Tabor said...

Was this real?

Carl said...

Wonderful story dave. I enjoyed the scene.

Sue Judd said...

I loved the scene you painted here..surely not true? Brandy or Dubonnet lent a very unreal/surreal note

Jenny Woolf said...

Rather an alarming encounter. I'm also wondering what kind of a school board this was - or was it one of those strange little private schools people write about in novels? :D

A Cuban In London said...

I agree with Brian Miller. There's a little teasing going on here, and not just between you and her (more from her than from you, I gather). It's also between you and the reader. I quite liked it. I wasn't expecting te offer of alcohol. That was clever, within the poem, I mean, not in real life.

Many thanks.

Greetings from London.

Laurie Kolp said...

Oh, dear... at least she had the dog. But my question is- how was it to work for someone like that?

manicddaily said...

This is a lot of fun! The descriptions are so spot on and yet they are also very original - I guess I mean that we can place them right away, but with a great twist and spark of your own. Terrific. I hope that you enjoyed the job! k.

David Cranmer said...

I hope this was real. Great either way.

Daydreamertoo said...

Haha..this dog chose you. Love it!
She sounds like a nightmare..but.. at least you got the job :)
You always write things that I can 'see' in my mind... fabulous!

Heaven said...

I enjoy the story Dave. A bit of temptation there with the job offer. How much is the price to work with her? I am glad the dog chose you, and your choices led you to where you wanted to be in the first place.

Chazinator said...

I've never had an interview like this, and I don't think I want to. I like the strange notion that the dog was the one who made the decision for her. How odd to think that one's future and present can be determined by seemingly accidental moments like that. On the other hand, I wonder whether she was testing you in some form of sexual propriety, a kind of behavioral test. Anyway, I'm like you, I'd want to get out of there, and fast.

hedgewitch said...

Absolutely love this one, David. It has so many layers of what goes on in our minds as opposed to what's really there--and how what we perceive is often so one-sided as to not be accurate evidence, yet is a valid part of the process, despite that--also love the ending and couldn't agree more on the trustworthiness of canine over human opinion.

Ygraine said...

A truly engrossing story, Dave.
I loved the seduction undertones - or were they?
Not being quite sure is always intriguing to me.
But, ultimately, it seems the dog is boss!!

Mary said...

I enjoyed this. The woman constantly fingering her necklace would have driven me crazy! I wonder if she was testing what your reaction would be! Anyway, at least you passed her tests, whatever they were. And dogs generally are good judges of character!!

zongrik said...

dogs know good people from bad people, that's for sure!!

Tommaso Gervasutti said...

This is narrative poetry of the most surprising and glittering kind.
Pearls joyfully still scattering in the mind.

kaykuala said...

It's amazing how decisions were made.She had chosen herself but attributed it to the dog just to be a little light hearted.Nice write, Dave!

Hank

Claudia said...

haha...so very cool..you can always trust the dog and better stay away from her...smiles

DQPoetry said...

"The dog it was chose me.
He'd liked me from the first, she said -
and that was good enough for her."

I love the end David, especially the light hearted not to what was otherwise a fairly serious piece about temptation. Can only hope I'd be as strong!

You might enjoy my poem as well, inspired by Frost's 'The Road Not Taken'
http://dqpoetry.blogspot.co.nz/2012/06/i-couldnt-decide-to-go-or-not-one-way.html

Dave King said...

The Elephant's Child
Do you know, in all the times this event has run through my mind, I've never once looked at it like that! I'm sure you are right, the back story is that I was doing a diploma course, one year full time, at London University. I had palled up there with the deputy head of this school. They were wanting a teacher for a more senior post and he had spoken to her about me. It was the kind of interview that couldn't happen now. Not exactly a foregone conclusion, but I would have had to have blown it with the dog to lose it - though I hadn't realised that at the time.

ordinary life less ordinary
On the dog, yes!

Brian
And the third element is that after all that I still chose to accept the job offer.

Dave King said...

Tabor
Sure was! (Didn't feel real at the time!)

Carl
Thanks

Sue
Very, but absolutely true - and there were many more surreal occasions to follow!

Jenny
No, indeed, it was what we would call now a Special Needs School run by the L.C.C. (London County Council). It was for children of all ages, and to the best of my memory it had about 140 pupils.

A Cuban in London
Well, it was all true, including the offer of alcohol. If there was any teasing it came later - much later - when she told me why I'd got the job. But knowing her, I'm inclined to believe it.

Laurie
I think Ican best describe it as: tricky at times! She was a great fighter for the kids. Talked to the parents in their own lingo - including all the obscenities. Trouble was, it was her natural way of speaking also, so she was inclined to talk to everyone in the same way. She would be on the phone all day to get the water or the gas or whatever reconnected to a home that had had it cut off. I liked her. Her heart was in the right place. As I said above, this was four decades back. It couldn't happen now - or so I believe!

manicddaily
I did enjoy the job, yes, though it had its moments! I was slightly sheltered at first, by my friend the deputy!

David
It was real. very real - as I was to discover!

Daydreaker too
I'm almost tempted to tell other anecdotes about my time there! Thanks.

Heaven
I shall always be grateful to that dog!

Chazinator
I've had a few very peculiar interviews, but nothing else to match that one! As to the sexual propriety angle, this is the second suggestion amongtoday's replies that has never oddurred to me in the past, but seems a possibility. At the time I was afraid that it was a straight-forward "come-on"! I was young(ish) and remarkably green. Thanks for the thought.

hedgewitch
Many thanks for these thoughts, which resonate quite strongly with me.

Ygraine
I wasn't - am not - quite sure whether they were seduction undertones or not. If so, they were not repeated in any form during the four years that I worked with her.

Mary
Yes, I guess I did pass the test, but it would have been nice to know what it was and how I passed it!

zongrik
Lucky for me, eh?

Tommaso
Really good of you to say this. Many grateful thanks.

Hank
Yes, that's a real possibility!

Claudia
I did my best!

D Q Poetry
Thanks for this. Shall certainly be along to read your poem.

aprille said...

Love it from beginning to end, whatever it was based on. So pacy and full of original viewpoints [ahem].

Bodhirose said...

Gosh, it was as though an invisible audience was there..she posed, lounding...love the focus on that necklace and then your opportunity for getting away when it broke. Good doggie!

My Inner Chick said...

~~~~~Fabulous.
I love love love this. <3

I can hear the beads falling to the floor & see them clearly stuck inside her cleavage.