A Good First Impression

— a Journal Entry  (A good first impression.)

27 September 2013

     It wasn’t supposed to be this way. 

      I  got up this morning. I wore a faded blue button down blouse over a dark grey camisole with my dark grey skirt that has the slit in the back. My shoes and purse matched. I was ready to make a good first impression.
      It was raining a little, no big deal. It was damp enough to start my hair to frizzing. I got off the bus and entered the building. I knew where I was going. After three interviews even Old Mrs. Crane would know where to go.
      I took the stairs. Each step reminded me how tight my skirt actually was and I was starting to second guess my choice.
      That is when the first series of shots rang out.
      They didn’t actually ring, that is just what people say. It was a muffled sound from one of the hallways just above. Like, those little firecrackers, red, woven together. You light one, drop it and step away and the rest of them go off.
      The sound was above me, I was pretty sure it was on the floor where I would report to my new job.
For a second, I told myself it wasn’t a shooting. There wasn’t a man up there spraying office workers with an automatic weapon. My imagination was running wild.
      Besides, that kind of stuff happens to other people. Not me. Not on my first day.
      I reached the top step. I paused and considered heading back down.
 Then, I heard it again. It was on the floor I’d just left, below me this time. I didn’t want it to be true. Just in case, I pulled out my phone.
      What if I was wrong? The 911 operator would send the SWAT team out and I’d look like a total idiot. Some first day that would be.
      It must have been all of the metal in the stairway creating a dead zone. My cell wouldn’t connect.
I could do a number of things. I could let myself onto the floor and face the horrors that lay beyond. I could stay put. Hide in the dead zone. I could go down one level and rush out toward the bus stop.      Once there I could make a call.
      I don’t know how long I stood at the door. I hadn’t heard any more shots. Everything had become very still and dead silent.
      I ticked off my choices again.
      It wasn’t bravery that led me to open the door. It wasn’t a since of honor, either. I wasn’t thinking I was about to save a life. I didn’t want that. I just wanted to make a good impression.
      As it turned out, I did survive, no one sprayed me with bullets. The lady at the reception desk was slumped, motionless. Her hand was on the phone. There wasn’t much blood at all.
      Two men in work-a-day suits were laying in the hallway. Their blood pooled and mixed on the floor. One man had reached out and hooked the cuff of the other man’s suit.
      I turned back and checked the other hall and saw Mr. Fredricks, the man who had so thoroughly interviewed me. The man who knew more about me than I knew, myself. He was trying to get back into his office chair but it kept rolling on its casters.
      I set my purse beside the waste paper basket and stepped over to help. Mr. Fredricks was heavy but he was still alert enough to help me help him. I got him into his chair. The chair kept rolling and made it difficult to keep him in place so I picked up my purse and jammed it under one of the casters. I positioned his legs that had gone all catty-womped.
      I used his phone to call for help. While we waited, I tidied the files on his desk.
Everyone thinks I did a brave thing, today. I don’t think I did. I am dead sure I didn’t do anything brave. After all, there had already been several calls to 911 made by survivors downstairs and first responders were already showing up when I made the call.
      The press keeps calling for interviews. I have no idea what to do.
      I was only trying to make a good first impression.

Don’t touch anything sharp!

By Sally

Sally Franklin Christie Blogger and Author of If I Should Die and Milk Carton People.