CH. 55 «Job #7»

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Alright, so I’ve got a line on a gig that might prove to be more of a steady one. I can’t make any claims that it’ll be any less odd a job…it actually to be a wacky one. Let’s just see what it’s like to be a Census Taker on Mars.

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I just had to sit in a hot classroom with a dusgusting cross-section of Mars’ degenerate population… I’m sure all part of the employment examination I just aced. If I don’t get the job after everything I’ve been through today…

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I missed a call last night, but my voicemail app transcribed the message and sent it to my comm in the form of a text. I’d taken down the number then and anxiously waited all morning for the time to call. I figured sometime after 9; knowing it was a government job but wasn’t affiliated with any other branch, they may not have to start at 6 AM or other obscure hour. It was important to get it in before lunch, too, so 11 would become the other end of my range. I sat ready, preparing myself for a few minutes past 10 in the morning when I would call in. I remembered hearing something about an interview over vidcall, and I wanted to present myself the best I could for the call. I actually took a shower this morning.

At quarter ‘til 10 AM, I swiveled open my texti, thumbed the wheel over to start the camera, and set it up on the table. It stood up with the imager and the view-finder screen facing me. With a nervous sigh, I hit the call button and found the contact to reach the Martian branch of the Bureau in Nuport.

Within one ring the other line patched in and a middle-aged woman appeared. One of those requisite awkward moments set in as both of us stared at each other in an initial limbo, not sure if the other was coming in all the way or not, and not sure if we wanted to say anything yet. She had raven hair that ended somewhere around the edge of the screen, and features that made me think she was Callitian, though her antennae pretty much guaranteed she was Martian. She still squinted at me with narrow green eyes.

Finally, I spoke up. “Hello?” I cleared my throat.

“Hel-hello?” she asked, I wasn’t actually sure if she was getting me now.

I continued, glancing over at my workstation to read over the copy of the message transcript forwarded to my inbox as I spoke, “Yes, hi. My name is Klay Lane, I’m responding to a call I got last night about my application, and I was given a record number to refer to,” I maintained a mostly calm tone and expression.

“Yes, please,” she responded, looking down at a keyboard or similar input pad off screen. She typed it in stiffly as I read it off to her, and then turned back to me, letting a little emotion slip finally as she said “I’m sorry, but could I have you hold on the line for just a minute?” She furrowed her eyebrows and puckered her lips slightly in the expression of pity or apology.

“Yes, of course,” I replied shrugging, still unsure of my fate in all this matter. I waited, even more anxious now, staring at the U.T. Census Bureau logo on a red background. It toned every eight nanos or so to let me know I hadn’t been bumped.

I remained connected for another two minutes before the lady at the census office came back on. She resettled into her chair, seeming to get herself ready for what was coming next and locked her gaze on her imager. “Alright,” she began, switching between glancing at me and looking at a screen with a long monologue displayed on. “So, Klay. You filled out applications and took our assessment test to become an enumerator for the Martian branch of the U.T. Census. Are you still interested in this position with us?”

“Yes, yes of course.”

She immediately livened up, relieved to not have me reject and hang up on her. Her accent became more apparent now that she wasn’t speaking in single syllables, she had more of a personality and seemed less like a vidcall answerbot. Although, this new saccharine attitude seemed just as synthetic. There was just something about her smile; it lasted too long to be genuine each time.

The Martian lady asked me a whole series of questions, which she read verbatim off a prompter app, or from something similar that I couldn’t see, pertaining to my ability to perform the duties. Was I available at these random hours? Would I have any problems using the PDA and other materials provided to each enumerator? Did I have transportation available and no issue getting into difficult to reach addresses? Would I have any problem asking personal questions to people of different races and customs? All seemingly simply questions to answer, but it really made me think about the strange, invasive profession I was about to walk in to. Also, how at other times of my life I may have not been able to give all the right answers.

She asked me finally if I’d be able to attend training seminars at some random date towards the end of the month, where I know I would be receiving personal, 14 hour extended versions of what she’d just subjected to me to over the vidcall interview I answered yes to again.

“Alright then, Klay, we’re almost done here,” she sounded cheesy. “I’m finished with all of my questions, but are there any that you have for us?”

I glanced over anything I’d written on the notepad open beside me on my desktop. “WHERES MY MONEY” was scribled in all caps on top, but I devided not to ask about pay.

I nodded, “Of course not, go on,” and let her proceed.
She cleared her throat and conjured up some flare “Congratulations, Klay, You have been accepted to become a Census Enumerator for the Martian territory of Amazonia.” I half expected fanfare to play.

Regadless I felt like a game show winner for a moment, but I kind of figured that’s where this was going with this from the beginning of the interview process. She continued “You will be notified 10 days prior to training and informed of the date and location, be sure to bring two forms of ID,” she said without her previous compassion, her forehead knotted in resolve, but probably still part of her shtick.

Needlessly cryptic I know. Some serious worry began brooding over whether or not the following instructions would arrive with a note saying ‘for your eyes only’ or ‘this message will self-destruct’ or something else drenched in espionage.

“Alright, that sounds great. I’m really looking forward to this opportunity with the Martian Census,” I said, realizing I was mimicking her plastic routine. She double-checked my contact details to make sure I would be on the list, and bid me a commercial rehearsed farewell, blinking out of my texti’s tiny screen.

I was rather excited to have a new job to look forward to in some undisclosed amount of time, and felt rather productive and relieved that I’d gotten that done before 10 like I’d planned to. I looked forward to the rest of my day with stars and dollar signs in my eyes.

Unfortunately, there’s a good portion I won’t be able to report to you about the job. I’m not going to be able to divulge personal information about the individuals I see on a daily basis for your entertainment, that’s not where this is going; this doesn’t just become the ‘Klay Lane – Census Enumerator Story’ over night. It would be unlawful for me to discuss any information given to me in trust of the Martian Census Bureau, and punishable by hefty fines and lengthy jail time, so I won’t really be able to tell you much more than what I have already.

Oh, and that I’ll be making a lot of credits for a little while. But it might be the last little while before I move back to Earth so it will probably be my last occupation on Mars. I could find another odd job to fill the gaps of this one though, assuming it affords me any free time to do so.

Who knows if there won’t be another exciting installment of the Job Odyssey taking place here on Martian soil.

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PREV: CH. 54 «Job #5»

PREV: CH. 54 «Job #5»

NEXT: CH. 56 «Scavengers of Space, Martian Day-Workers, and Me»

NEXT: CH. 56 «Scavengers of Space, Martian Day-Workers, and Me»






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The Zenith Bros. are shooting a wedding today and have hired me as a second…er..well theres two of them…so I guess I’m the Third Shooter. I don’t know if I’ll be able to use any of the shots in my portfolio (or if I’ll even want to) but this will be some great practical hands-on experience with image taking.

The families getting married are should I say? Religious? Puritanical? Boring? It’s a dry wedding-no booze. I thought I might not be able to handle all the merriment and matrimony without any alcohol. But Mrs. Zenith proved to be a champ, having thought to pack a bottle of vodka and jug of orange juice in her rover to share with us. She’s, like, the perfect mother to this family.

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