Kermit O’Dermott, an elf who talked to hamburgers.The sun was coming through the windows and searingthe tile ﬂoor and the plastic vines and rhododendrons.I said, “It looks very cheerful in here today.”He said, “Isn’t it nice? Corporate Headquarters justsent us some new signage. It’s very effective, don’t youthink? Now.” He had a clipboard with him. My applica-tion was on it. I felt very nervous. I thought to myself,
Green sateen. Green sateen.
I thought this for private reasons.There are times when you have to hide what you’rereally up to.I said, “So.” The cardboard Kermit O’Dermottwas playing his magical harp. In commercials, it madebeverages dance.He said, “So. Could you tell me some things you couldsay about yourself?”“Yes,” I said. “I could tell you I’m sixteen—”“Can you drive?”“Yes,” I said, “but I don’t have a car. I can walk herefrom home.”“Do you have any previous work experience?”“Yes,” I said. “I had a paper route for three years.I know that isn’t making burgers or anything, but, you know . . . ”He was looking out the window over my shoulder.There was a Kermit O’Dermott–themed jungle gym outthere, and some kids were playing on it. He turned back tome and grinned. He said, “Good, good. The reason youwould like to work at O’Dermott’s? Just a few words.”I could not tell him the real reason. I had prepared a