#1
Part 1 is in my sig.

Alex sat nervously in an old black office chair across from Jordan in the office connecting to the booth. The office was just like the booth, covered in tiles. Two desks, one with a computer, were on either side of the room. On the vacant desk Alex couldn’t help but notice a small stack of application forms just like the one he had turned in. Alex wrung his hands in a continuous motion, as if he were washing them. Don’t be nervous. Alex was trying to remain calm as Jordan looked over his dossier of questions. He is just looking over the questions, he isn’t trying to read you, he is just looking over the questions. Alex noticed how cold it was in the booth, how it made everything seem, unfriendly. Jordan looked up. “Sorry I was just looking over your application, before we got started”. “Yea, no problem”, Alex said. Why did I say “no problem?” wouldn’t that imply that there was a problem in the first place and that the only way it would be absolved is if I were here? Why did I say that? Jordan smiled and looked back down at his dossier. Alex physically washed his hands of his mistake. They sat in the silence of the office under the white florescent lights while continuous humming of the carwash reverberated from a door, opposite from the door leading to the booth. Not just humming though. There were faraway shouts, blasts of water. That damn bell, why is it making me so nervous? Jordan looked up again, “Alright, so tell me about yourself”. Alex sat for a moment. He didn’t quite know how to respond to such a broad question, but was determined not to let it daunt him. “Well, my name is Alex but you already know that. I go to Plymouth high school and, well, I like the color Orange?” Jordan laughed, “Well you’d be seeing a lot of that here”. “Haha, yea”, Alex was glad to have broken the ice, even if he did so awkwardly. “So do you like it over there at Plymouth?” Alex thought for a moment. “Well, yea, it’s a good place to go to school. I do well in my classes there so it suits me well… well.” Don’t tell him about your joke. Four years ago you were the new kid, four years later you are still the new kid. Don’t tell him how everyone at my school looks in the same direction. How it’s all one big contest to see who could try the least and do the best. The truth that even Alex didn’t fully understand, was that when he came to Plymouth he tried to belong with everyone, so he didn’t belong with anyone. He didn’t know anyone well enough to call, or break his loneliness. The only reason he got out anymore was for job interviews. So not only did he need this job for the paycheck, he needed it to find a respite from his days of empty boredom and loneliness. Alex placed his hands together in his lap. Then he began to silently wash them.
“Well that’s about it for me”, Jordan said. The interview had taken about an hour and by the end of it Alex was exhausted. He had tried to smile continuously to appear as friendly as possible, and now his cheeks were burning. Jordan began writing illegible notes on a notepad resting on the desk. “So do you have any questions for me?”, Jordan asked. “Uum”, Alex saw this as a chance to now set Jordan off his guard. Maybe even make his application a little more memorable than the others in the stack. “What was your first job?”, Alex asked this with the hope of appearing bold. Jordan smiled. “Right here”. “At this carwash?” Alex said. “Yep, except at the time it wasn’t a Fast Wash, it was my fathers and it was called In and Out”. “You don’t say”, Alex paused, “what happened?”. Jordan answered this with the demeanor of a man who had seen better days. Though he was still reserved and wouldn’t let it become a sob story “I worked this carwash under my father for a number of years, and learned how to run it inside and out. So I ran it when he left. Then Fast Wash came and offered us a price, albeit a low one, but I knew we couldn’t compete so I sold out. Since I already knew how to run everything they offered me a position as assistant manager.”. Jordan was looking at his notes he was superficially smiling but it almost appeared as if he were hanging his face over them. The lines near his eyes looked deeper. Though he had a long, skinny face it suddenly appeared as if it was sliding down to his chest. Though the carwash was loud, Alex heard Jordan sigh over lost times. Alex didn’t want to be here. He couldn’t bear the cold. The white office lights were too bright. All of the shadows in the office began to sharply jump out. I didn’t know! How was I supposed to know that he had been put out of business? I just, can’t, win today.
Jordan looked up then paused. “What was I going to say?”. Alex wanted to break the solemnness of the moment “I dee kay?”. There was silence. Jordan frowned. “Oh yes, do should we contact you about our decision at your home, or cell phone number?”. A faint glimmer of hope flared up in Alex. “Cell phone please”. Jordan jotted this down.
They shook hands. Alex walked out of the booth and was relieved to be in the sun again. He felt the humidity surround him like a comporting blanket. The office was becoming unbearably cold and awkward, filled with Jordan’s old memories. One of the employees cast Alex a furtive glance. Alex didn’t see his face. All Alex saw was that he too was a teenaged white kid. This too gave Alex hope. The carwash was still running, still performing its magic. It displayed a machine like efficiency. Everyone was a single cog in this steamy clockwork. The whiffs of hot, soapy spray drifted off with the wind, shadows of it raced across the parking lot beyond the street. One of them was directing the cars onto a roaring conveyor. He shouted a few commands, spayed the front, pressed a few buttons on a control panel then a metal roller appeared from the underground and pushed the car’s tire into the wash. The orange clad worker then swiftly moved onto the next car. He paid no attention to Alex. He turned and began walking to his car with Jordan’s words stained in his mind. “We’ll contact you in a couple of days”, he had said. What does that mean? Would a couple of day means they were considering me? I guess a single day would mean I’m not hired. Or that I’m definitely hired. Who knows, to them I’m just another application in the stack. I hope they hire me. Alex passed by the sales employee in the lot beside the wash. He was in a deep discussion with a customer about the hot weather we’ve been having lately.
A week later Alex heard the answer on his message machine.