Interview with a Felon


Hi. I’m here for the job. I’m sorry I’m late, but I missed the last bus from the halfway house because some of the other in-mates started throwing food around at breakfast. By the time the guards released us from lock down and found all the hidden knives, I had already missed my Thursday morning therapy session. Dr. Scheaselschwitz promised to write me a more powerful prescription so I can stop hyperventilating into brown paper bags every time I have an interview. But, it shouldn’t be a problem with this job.

I read in the newspaper ad that you’re looking for a mature, sharp-dressed, post-graduate educated CPA with extensive computer experience. Well, I don’t have any of those skills but I’m a fast learner. Just ask my cell mate. Besides, this place is only 5 minutes from the detention center, so I’d probably qualify for a work release program. My HVA meetings (Hostility and Violence Anonymous) are right on the way home, too.

I have a variety of experiences. I’m sure you’ll be able to find some of them useful at Mendelssohn’s Fasteners. I grew up in the Nelbert B. Tubbs housing project and ran my own gang before I was 12, so I’m experienced in supervising a wide range of personalities and delegating authority. I’m also good at rewarding quality work when I see it. For instance, one of The Mack-30 Daddies cheated me out of $50 and an 8-ball, so I told one of my homies to eliminate the problem. He did. As a reward, I gave him a nickel bag and let him spend the night with my little sister.

Evading the police has taught me how to think quickly on my feet, while developing unique solutions to everyday problems. Although my approaches to handling difficult situations might seem unusual to my co-workers, my parole officer encouraged me to apply for this job anyway. He said I’ve come a long way since the stabbings.

I’m a flexible team player and can work under stressful, adverse conditions. When I was a drug runner for the Latin Kings, four of us had to cram into a storm drain while the Vice cops sicced their dogs after us. I’m also comfortable lifting heavy inanimate objects. Once, I came up with a way to stuff 4 Grape Street Crips into the single trunk of a Toyota Corolla. Even the homicide detectives were impressed when they found them a month later.

I read at a 5th grade level, am fluent in ebonics and 17 other street-slang dialects, so if you have other people working here who used to be in gangs, I can help translate for you. I also embezzled over $200K from the 42nd Street Locos so I know my way around financial records, Excel spreadsheets and Quicken. You might want to start me out in Accounting or Employee Payroll.

You’re probably wondering about the tattoo on my neck. It’s a python squeezing the life out of a puppy. I got it when I joined the Aryan Nation at Chino and have been meaning to get it removed as soon as I can find a job with health insurance. In the meantime, I can wear a turtleneck underneath my suit and tie, so no one will notice it unless they rip my shirt off during a fight over the copier. Most of my other tattoos are on my back, chest, legs and around my genitals. The only way people will see them is if I have to roll my shirt sleeves up to beat the crap out of them. But that shouldn’t happen very often once my reputation gets around the company.

You’ll have to pardon the length of my hair, but I haven’t been able to find a barber that’s willing to work around a few lice. I used to wear it shorter, but I grew it out to cover up the metal plate and staples I got from all the beatings in the yard. On special occasions, like when someone got paroled or “made” into one of the gangs, I’d have Sylvester put it into corn rows. It looks real nice, and I didn’t see anything about it in your Employee handbook, so I might go with that. I’ll also start shaving again as soon as the trustees let me have access to razor blades, but I don’t get that until I stop stealing from the new guys.

My psychiatrist suggested that I apply for a job that’s away from other employees – at least for the first 6 or 7 months. I seem to work best in basements or other dark rooms with sensory deprivation, similar to solitary confinement. It should help cut down on my panic attacks until he can wean me off the Prozac, Xanax and Valium.

In answer to your question, “Why do I want to work here?” To be honest, I don’t care where I work, as long as I can earn enough to pay my court costs and visit my old lady in Sybil Brand. She’s due to be paroled September of 2075. I also need to support the 3 crack-babies we had while we were living together under the Vincent Thomas Bridge. That neo-natal intensive care gets expensive after a while.

Before we end for today, I need to ask you a few questions. First, how important are your background investigations and polygraph results? Would you consider a bad one a deal breaker? I’m sure you’ll agree that everyone makes mistakes and I wouldn’t want to lose a perfectly good opportunity at Mendelssohn’s Fasteners just because I exhibit violent tendencies or fail a drug test once in a while.

What about my personal references? I have some, but you won’t be getting much out of them because most of them are in lockdown or at the Norwalk State Mental Institution, where they don’t allow the inpatients access to phones, paper or sharp writing implements. The rest of them can’t speak because of the feeding tubes. But we’ll figure something out.

I’ve been looking at your company from the window of my cell for the past 15 years, dreaming of the day when I could come and work for you. I hope you’re one of those people who believe that everyone deserves a second chance. Maybe even a third or a fourth. After my medications level off and I get this electronic ankle bracelet removed, I think you’ll see that I bring a unique approach to everything I do. Thank you for letting me interview. You’ll find a little something extra for you in this envelope.


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