The Perfect Fit | By: Dallas Releford | | Category: Short Story - Horror Bookmark and Share

The Perfect Fit

THE PERFECT FIT By: Dallas G. Releford Elizabeth Morgan could think of a thousand reasons why she didn’t want to be at work on this cold, December morning. Unfortunately, she’d just learned the first reason. After having been employed with the Genesis Marketing Corporation for five long years, this was her last day. She had come into work on a Monday morning after a long, bitter weekend only to be called into the HR Director’s Office almost as soon as she had arrived. “I’m sorry Elizabeth,” Mary Keating had told her, “this is one of the worst of my many duties as a Human Resources Director. Having to sit here and tell one of my most productive employees that her job has been eliminated is the worst part. In fact, your entire department has been eliminated because we have decided to outsource all the work that your department has done in the past.” How she had come to hate that word, outsource and everything that it stood for. She had seen other departments get the ax in the last few months but she never figured that her job as an administrative assistant would be in jeopardy. But here she was facing the worst day of her life. She figured she could find another job but the question was when? Other people she had known had searched for months before finally landing a position. She couldn’t survive that long on her meager savings and the company wasn’t about to let her collect her unemployment. She looked at Mary Keating and wondered if she really didn’t like her job as the chief hatchet person for Genesis. The expression on her face must have revealed some mistrust and complete hate for the person who had taken away her means of survival. Elizabeth just wanted to grab her by her long blonde hair and pull it all out. Someone once told her that, “two wrongs don’t make a right” but she was quite willing to test the theory. “But Mrs. Keating,” Elizabeth began pleading, “what have I done to deserve this? Haven’t I always been on time and gave this company my all? How am I supposed to make a living?” “Well Elizabeth,” Mrs. Keating said unemotionally, “that isn’t my problem. I know you’ve been a good employee and we have really appreciated the time you have given to us. Unfortunately, you don’t have much recourse. Since we’re eliminating the position we will have to give you unemployment and a good reference but in return we expect you to sign these papers stating that you will not take any kind of action against the company or participate in any actions that will cause the company harm. Do you have any problem with that?” “Yes, I have a problem with this entire operation --- it totally stinks and I won’t sign any of your stinking papers. You can take this job and shove it. I’ll have my stuff out of here in a few minutes and you’ll hear from my lawyer.” Elizabeth was furious. All she could think of was the years she had spent there. It was her second home and she had felt secure in her position and in her life, until now. She felt totally betrayed by the bandits that had taken her time, paid her little and now they were even trying to take the unemployment that would hold her over until she could find other work. “Well, that’s up to you and we have lawyers too,” Mrs. Keating said sternly. “It’s highly suggested that you sign the papers and forget about attempting to do anything against the company.” “We’ll see about that,” Elizabeth promised, “you just can’t deny me my unemployment since you eliminated my job through no fault of my own.” Mrs. Keating didn’t say anything so Elizabeth got up angrily from her seat, kicked the desk and walked furiously out the door. In twenty minutes, she was escorted out of the building for the last time by a security guard. She had never been so infuriated in her entire life. This morning everything had been bright and she was full of plans and hope for the future but now she had very little hope. By the time she reached her car, she was raving mad. How could they do her that way? That question and many more entered her mind as she drove toward the suburbs and her new home. She was twenty-seven and had accomplished much including owning her own home, a new car and she was still single. She didn’t even have any likely prospects in that area. She dated occasionally but had never met anyone that held her interest for very long. She was alone in the big city, a recluse from the rest of the world. All the family and friends she had were hundreds of miles away. She decided then and there that she would have to make it on her own. She turned the key in the lock and opened the door only to be greeted by Miranda, her yellow cat who was always hungry and always seemed to want her attention. She picked up the cat and walked to the kitchen. “I guess you want something to eat, huh?” Two cans of cat food got the creatures attention and she walked over to the cabinet and took out a bottle of brandy. She hadn’t had any alcohol for several months but this seemed like a good time to try some. She dropped a few cubes of ice in a glass, poured in a little brandy, turned on the television and she was ready to relax and put her troubles aside for the moment. But her troubles didn’t go away. All they were talking about on the “tube” was about the recession and how so many people were out of work. Yeah, she thought, people wouldn’t be out of work if companies weren’t so downright dirty. All companies thought about was making as much money as possible, eliminating jobs, destroying lives and sending the work to China and Mexico. Businesses weren’t much interested in making a “marginal profit” anymore. They had to make millions a day or they weren’t interested in doing business. They had gobbled up the small “mom and pop operations” and now that people had to depend on them, they did people any way that they wanted. She wondered who they would sell their “crap” to when nobody in the good old USA had a damn job to buy their “crap” with. The cat finally got her awakened at four o’clock in the morning wanting to be fed. Her head hurt and her stomach growled from not having any food since yesterday. A cold glass of milk helped but she didn’t really start to feel better until she had prepared a full breakfast. Of course, her breakfast had to wait until she had fed the cat. Alone in the darkness of the early morning dawn with a splitting headache, she pondered her fate. She switched on the television but decided that she didn’t want to be depressed even more with the early morning news. Someone had told her to check with the unemployment office for jobs and so she decided to try that before getting too depressed. By nine o’clock she had bathed, dressed and was on her way to the state employment office. Her first discouragement came when she saw the long lines extending from the entrance of the building down to the corner drugstore a couple of blocks away. She really didn’t feel like standing in line all day to be told there weren’t any jobs available so she decided to head back home. Back at home she switched on the computer and dialed into one of the many job boards on the Internet. There must be a job out there somewhere that someone else hasn’t taken yet, she thought. At two o’clock in the afternoon she still hadn’t found anything that she thought would be suitable and she had worked right through her lunch period. Frustrated, she found a search engine, typed in, “secretarial positions”, and sat back while the search engine did its job. There were many such positions available across the country but there was only one that caught her attention and it was in the next county. The name of the city was Glasgow and she had never heard of it. In fact, a quick search of the map didn’t produce anything either. But wait, she thought, there was a telephone number that she could call to get directions. She didn’t want to lose this chance at a good job even if it was in another county. What the heck, she thought, I can drive that distance or move there if the pay is good enough. She studied the advertisement for a few minutes to see what, if anything, she had missed. Wanted for immediate employment, Administrative Secretary who likes adventure, good pay, excellent benefits and is willing to work hard for it. Good office, computer and typing skills mandatory. Bachelor degree in Business Administration and experience required. Must be willing to travel and work in faraway places. Please call (567) 681-5861 for information. Ask for Clara. Phoenix International Research Organization. She picked up the telephone and dialed the number. A female voice answered. She couldn’t tell what the name of the company was. Maybe the lady had said, Phoenix International but she was sure the name was the same as had been mentioned in the advertisement. “Yes, this is Clara speaking,” the voice said sounding business-like, “and how may I help you?” “This is Elizabeth Morgan and how are you today?” “Just fine,” the woman said not showing much emotion in her voice, “and how can I help you?” “I’m inquiring about the advertisement you had for a Administrative Secretary. Can you tell me anything over the telephone or can I get an interview?” “Why sure honey,” the voice said somewhat more pleasantly. “When would you be available to come in, fill out an application, give us your resume and talk to one of our managers?” “Would tomorrow morning about ten o’clock be soon enough?” “Why that would be fine,” she said. “And do you need directions as to how to get here?” “Yes, I can’t seem to locate the town on the map,” Elizabeth said. “And just how do I get there?” “It’s easy,” the woman began, “take highway 50 west out of the city. You’ll come to the junction of 78 and 50. When you come to the intersection go south on 78. You’ll drive about fifty miles into the desert. When you come to a filling station with a lot of junk cars in the backyard make a left and you’ll be going east on 128. Travel about ten miles on that road you will be in Glasgow. It isn’t on any map because it is relatively a new town. I know because my company just built it.” Elizabeth was too busy writing down directions to say anything but when she finished there was one question on her mind. “What kind of town is Glasgow?” “Pretty small but it suits our purpose. You will come to an intersection. You won’t see much but four big buildings that are each a block long. These buildings are adjacent to each intersection and are 20 stories high. You see this is a revolutionary concept in city design. There aren’t any smaller stores or other buildings. Everything is contained in these four buildings. The garage is beneath the buildings. When you come to the intersection just go straight and turn into the garage under the building on your right. Do you have all that now?” “Why yes, thank you,” Elizabeth said excitedly, “I do believe I have everything written down. I’m looking forward to seeing you at 10 o’clock sharp tomorrow morning.” “Don’t be late,” the woman said, “Mr. Kirl doesn’t like to be kept waiting. He is a very busy man.” “Oh, I won’t be late,” Elizabeth promised, “I’ll be there promptly.” The next morning found Elizabeth Morgan on her way out of town and headed west on highway 50. She didn’t have any trouble until she was on highway 78. She kept looking for the filling station and it really seemed like she had traveled for a hundred miles when she finally saw it in the distance. By this time she was thirsty from the desert sand and dust. She thought a cold, fresh soft drink might be just the thing that she needed so she pulled off in front of the filling station. She pulled up next to the pump and told the attendant to fill it up. Elizabeth was surprised that he still had full service and thought for a second that he was going to tell her to pump it herself. Her looks, youth and beauty would have convinced him to pump the gas even if he didn’t offer full service she thought. She deduced this from the way he was staring at her. “Where you headed?” She had gotten out of the car with the intention of getting something to drink. The attendant was in his late thirties, with dirty coveralls showing his line of work. He spat a mouthful of tobacco spit on the pavement and stared at her some more. “Glasgow,” she said smiling. “Can I get something to drink inside? My throat is parched and this is the most thirsty I’ve ever been.” “Sure honey,” he commented, “you can do that --- in fact, you can get one out of the cooler there on the porch. Glasgow? Glasgow huh? Must be some new town, I never heard of that one before. Where is it?” “Well, from what I’m told, I make a left at the next intersection and it’s a few miles down there,” she said pointing in the general direction of the town. “Nope,” he assured her, “I’ve lived around here all my life and there’s nothing down there but rattlers, scorpions and trouble for a beautiful young lady like you. If I was you, I’d forget about it. You’ll need more than one drink to get you there. Once you leave here there isn’t any water for a hundred miles. Yep, I’d advise against it.” He continued to pump the gas while keeping his steel blue eyes fixed on Elizabeth. “Well, maybe I’ll just get a case of drinks,” she decided. “Do you have one of those cheap Styrofoam coolers and some bagged ice I can buy?” “Why yes,” he told her, “I keep those on hand mostly for tourists passing through. Don’t get many of those though. I never even see many truck drivers down this way and if I did I’d advise them to go back too.” “I have to get there,” she explained, “I have a job interview at ten o’clock and it’s almost nine o’clock now. I think I’ll just get the gas, ice, drink and cooler and then I’ll be on my way. I’ll be okay. Don’t worry about me. I can take good care of myself.” “It’s your show miss,” he said shaking his head in disapproval. Even though it was December and it was early in the morning, it was already getting hot. Elizabeth was a little nervous because the man had bestowed doubt into her carefully laid out plans. She was still confident he was wrong and the town was there. Hadn’t the lady told her the town was new and that it had only been built recently? She left with the attendant standing by the gas pumps waving heartily to her as she drove down the highway. The turn onto highway 128 was tricky and surprising because it wasn’t a paved road at all but just a plain ordinary dirt road. She had never driven on anything but paved road so she had to slow down to keep the dust down and to keep from running off the road. It seemed like she had driven forever before she finally saw some high buildings in the distance. She was surprised once again to see a modern city right in the middle of nowhere. All she could make out was four large white towers with dozens of windows. It looked like something from the Arabian Nights. She was astounded that there could be such a small but modern city right out in the desolate desert. The lady on the telephone had been absolutely right. There was only one intersection and only one stoplight. The first building looked just like the other three buildings. They all were made from white marble and glass. She couldn’t determine any other facts about them except that they were tall. She stopped at the stoplight and waited for it to turn green. Elizabeth carefully turned into the underground garage under the building on the right. She parked the car and headed for the only elevator she could see. She entered the elevator and pushed the button for floor seven as the lady on the telephone had told her. The door opened on floor seven and in front of her was a long white desk. Almost everything was white she noticed, except the light blue carpet on the floor. “I’m Elizabeth Morgan,” she told the beautiful, professional acting receptionist. “I’m here for an interview at ten o’clock with Mr. Kirl I believe. I talked to Clara yesterday.” The receptionist didn’t say anything. She took a folder and handed it to Elizabeth. “Please take a seat and fill out the application and the rest of the papers and Mr. Kirl will be with you shortly.” Sure, she thought, they always make you wait but if you are two seconds late, they hold it against you. She wondered where all the other job applicants were and then thought that they had the appointments scheduled loosely so there wouldn’t be too many applicants in the office at the same time. She also wondered that if there had been other applicants or other people coming to the company then why hadn’t the attendant at the gas station seen them? Oh, well, the most important thing is that I’m going to get this job, she told herself. She wasn’t completely finished with the application that was four pages long, when a tall blonde lady with sparkling blue eyes opened a door behind the receptionist and came out with her hand extended to Elizabeth. Elizabeth stood up and took her hand. “I’m Martha Leonard,” she explained, “I’m the head HR person here. I’m ready to talk if you are and then you can meet with the company president, Mr. Kirl.” “Fine,” Elizabeth said nervously, “but I’m not completely finished with my application. I still have a few things to go yet.” “Do you have a complete resume?” The lady with the dashing blue eyes and the young figure asked her glancing over the papers Elizabeth had handed to her. “Why yes,” Elizabeth told her, “it’s there with all the other paperwork.” “Well looks like you have quite an education and a good work history,” she commented walking toward her office door and motioning for Elizabeth to follow her. “All of that is very important. How long were you on your last job?” “Over five years,” Elizabeth said taking a seat in front of the big desk after Mrs. Leonard had been seated and told her to take a seat. The conversation drifted from all the usual questions about what Elizabeth had done for the past few years to what she expected of her new employer. “How long have you been here? Do you like working for Phoenix?” Elizabeth asked. “Yes,” Mrs. Leonard said dreamily, “I’ve been with Phoenix for many years now and I’ve really enjoyed my position here. I get to travel a lot, meet many new and interesting people and the pay as well as the benefits are extraordinary. I think you will really like to work here Elizabeth.” “Oh, I think I will like it too,” Elizabeth assured her, “I know I’m the perfect fit for this position.” “Why yes, judging from your resume and what you have told me I do believe that you are possibly a good fit,” Mrs. Leonard said. “However, there are quite a few things that you have to know about this job upfront before we will allow you to accept the position.” “And just what are those conditions,” Elizabeth asked? “Well --- uh --- ah, well let’s not beat around the bush. This job is not for everyone. That’s why we have to adapt such aggressive recruiting campaigns to get the best candidates that we can. For one thing you have to sign an agreement that you will work for us forever. That means that you cannot be fired from the position. If you mess up or if you do something wrong, we just put you in a position that is more suitable for you. Do you think that you could commit yourself to a job of that magnitude?” “I actually don’t have much of a life --- no family close to me and very few friends --- yes, I believe that would be acceptable.” “Good, we shall see,” Mrs. Leonard said. “One of the other conditions is that you are willing to travel and that means that you may never --- well, we just can’t guarantee that you will ever see your home again. Not only that Elizabeth, but you may be going on a long journey, one that may last for as long as you live.” “You talk like this trip will take me into outer space or somewhere,” Elizabeth said half joking. Mrs. Leonard ignored her and looked at her resume again. “Well now that you have agreed to that you have to sign the papers before Mr. Kirl will even talk to you. Please understand that once you sign the papers that you will never be allowed to leave here no matter how much you want to leave. In our line of work you cannot be allowed to leave to tell anyone else about us. That is just how secret our work is.” “What kind of work do you do, by the way?” Elizabeth thought they were some kind of secret government installation that was doing research in UFO technology or something. After all, they were only a few hundred miles from Area 51. “Well, dear,” she answered, “we can’t tell you all that just yet. Are you willing and ready to give us your services entirely and sign the papers?” Elizabeth thought seriously for a moment. For her this meant that she would never see what few friends she had and her family again. What the heck, she thought, they didn’t care much about her anyway. “Sure, I’ll sign the papers and I’ll agree to stay with you the rest of my life. I’m without a job, no future and things don’t look good. Few companies these days are able to retain employees more than a few years and for someone to offer me a lifelong guaranteed job is unheard of. Sure I’ll stay,” she said excitedly. Mrs. Leonard didn’t hesitate to hand her the papers and Elizabeth signed them. When she was finished she was told to take a seat and wait. Mrs. Leonard informed her that Mr. Kirl would be right with her. It wasn’t long, maybe five minutes when an older gentleman, perhaps six feet tall, long gray hair and steel blue eyes appeared smiling at her. She took his hand and shook it while introducing herself. For some reason or the other, she felt inferior in his presence. In most cases where a male was concerned, she had always felt equal and in some cases, superior in looks at least. “Come on into the office and have a seat,” he invited her. She sat down on the brown leather couch by the window. He sat by her in a leather bound chair. “I hear you are willing to meet all of our conditions,” he said. “Sure am,” she said, “I’m not planning to do anything else with my life but work.” “Well, perhaps we can mix work with pleasure and make your life more pleasurable,” he suggested. “I do believe we can offer you everything and more than any other company would. Our pay is great and the benefits can’t be matched by anyone. Are you still interested?” “Yes,” Elizabeth said, “I am very interested but I’m still in the dark as to what my job description is.” “Well, let me clarify that a little for you. I know you will be shocked but I must assure you that everything that I say is the truth and it can be proven to you. This is your last chance to back out before I start telling you the truth and after that you cannot leave here. Are you still with me?” “Yes sir,” she replied, “I’m with you all the way Mr. Kirl.” “Oh please Elizabeth, we’re all on a first name basis here. Just call me Jason if you will,” he asked. “Sure Jason,” she said, “now what were you going to tell me?” “Just this, and I don’t want to scare you because what I’m going to tell you might be hard to believe. I must also tell you that you won’t be harmed by any of us. We’re a peaceful people who intend to harm no one. Once you’re in our community we will protect you like one of our own --- in actuality, you will be one of our own.” He paused for a moment to watch how she was reacting realizing that he hadn’t told her very much yet. She didn’t say anything so he continued. “Now Elizabeth, as hard as it might be for you to believe, we’re not from here. We’re a recruiting team from the Pleiades Armada. You see Elizabeth, a huge interstellar wanderer that entered our solar system destroyed our world. It destroyed our entire planetary system. We were very lucky to escape before the catastrophe happened.” “That’s truly extraordinary,” Elizabeth said. “I feel like I’m in a dream or something and this really isn’t happening. But, I don’t have any reason not to believe you since you told me you can prove it so I’ll accept your explanations until such time that I have a reason not to believe you. “That’s quite logical,” he said, “and that’s one reason we have selected you. You’re a very logical, sensible and intelligent young woman and beautiful too, even by our standards.” “Thanks,” she said. “You said that your planets were destroyed. Does that mean that your entire civilization is traveling through space looking for a new home?” “Yes and I’m afraid that we’ve been looking for several centuries. In fact, many of our people have died or no longer exist. That’s why we have to recruit beings from other planets as we pass by them. We’re trying to recruit new talent and other beings with new skills that might be able to help us maintain our system until we can find another world. Actually, we’ll need a system with several livable worlds as we lived on seven worlds in the other solar system. Our people live for several thousand years but each of us must face our end time just like you do. I can promise you that you’ll live a lot longer with us than you will here. We must replenish our populace quite often to keep the race alive. We reproduce but we constantly need new talent and new knowledge. We learn from everyone.” “That’s remarkable,” she said hardly believing what she was hearing. “Yes, it must be quite hard for you to comprehend,” he said. “I must apologize for breaking this to you this way but I didn’t know of any other way. Our knowledge of your planet is very limited. That’s why we set up this city out here in the desert and attempted to attract only those that we thought might have some true potential.” “About this city,” Elizabeth said, “how did you build it so fast?” “Well, Elizabeth this isn’t really a city.” “Then what it is?” “It’s a space ship --- in fact, it is quite a large space ship. When we get ready to leave, which will be in a few days, the town will close up on itself to form a spaceship. The rest of the ship is hidden under the sand and when the time comes parts of the ship will simply fold up over the town and we will be inside the huge structure. It will gently sail up above the Earth, out beyond your moon and we will again immerse with our huge artificial planet that is sailing through space.” “Wow,” Elizabeth exclaimed, “that’s truly amazing. I’m really glad I met you Mr. Kirl. But I still can’t figure out where I fit into all this.” “Oh set your mind at ease,” he said. “I do believe you will be a perfect fit. You see, I need someone to learn how to be my assistant and you sure fit that need. I’m sure you won’t have a bit of trouble. I have to manage the maintenance of the huge artificial world we built and that’s not all. There are hundreds of space ships, battleships and the like that have to be maintained and repaired. Your job will simply be what you were doing on the earth, an administrative secretary. I need someone to help me with all the computers and paperwork. I hate both and you’ll be my most valuable asset.” She could only nod in agreement. Three days later Elizabeth stood on the bridge of the Escalades battleship gazing down at a blue and green ball floating in the blackness of space. She realized that she might never see Earth again and more than likely she would never see anyone that she had ever known again. She had already making new friends and learning things that she could never have learned on the earth. Here, in her new environment, she was treated as an equal to everyone else. Her first few weeks would be spent in training on the battleship and then she would move into her new quarters on the main planet. She was sure that she was going to like living with these people, constantly in search of a new home in the endless pathways of space. Her life had changed forever and she had finally found her dream job because she was finally the perfect fit for a position with a guarantee of a lifelong job. The End
Click Here for more stories by Dallas Releford