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Before I became an employee of Mincington Falls, LLC, I went to an interview as do most folks before being hired for a job. I bring this up because, in looking back, I should have seen then what would happen to my life if I took this job.

The ad was for a job with the federal government, but in looking back I see that I should have realized there was a problem at that time. It was in that weird section of the want ads where you find all the get rich schemes and jobs that are obviously paying a great deal more than in reality such a job actually would. You know the kind. “Are you good with your hands? You can make $85/hour making crafts.”

We met in the lobby of a government building before the interview. I assumed that the part of the government they were hiring for was in that building. They were very secretive about that, telling us over the phone that it involved sensitive matters and would only be revealed if we were hired.

This seemed reasonable to me at the time, but after all the candidates had assembled in the lobby of the government building, a man dressed like an FBI agent, with a tag hanging off the cuff of his jacket, came in from outside and asked us to follow him.

We followed him, on foot, about six blocks west of the government building. A few people asked where we were going, but all he would say in response was that it wasn’t far. And then the strangest thing happened a block from the building we ended up entering. A tampon fell out of his pants leg.

He just kept walking. I don’t think he so much as noticed, but some of us who were following him showed signs of being troubled through their facial expressions. One of the women being interviewed crumpled up her mouth like she’d just bit into a hot pepper. That was something to see, let me tell you.

The building we entered was part of a strip mall. He walked us around the back, near a dumpster that had filthy smelling milk leaking out of it, to a roll-up door at the rear of one of the stores. There were only three units occupied in the strip mall, an occult bookstore, a store with a handmade sign where a lady sold crafts, and the local GOP headquarters.

Those places were all at the other end of the strip mall. The unit we were entering was unoccupied. It was dark inside, but our host, who had not even told us his name, flipped a switch and a naked lightbulb hanging from the ceiling went on and immediately began flickering.

Two men in suits similar to our interviewer came in through a side door. They formed something of a circle around us and the interviewer began addressing us.

“Thank you all for coming today. At this point, we cannot allow you to leave. You have seen too much. With that said, please hand over your cell phones and any other electronic devices that you may have. You will then be strip searched, your clothes will be taken and burned, along with any personal memorabilia you may be carrying, and you will be given a soft lambswool robe to wear. Trust me, it is extremely soft and comfortable. We use Snuggle when we do the laundry. That’s the product with the loveable bear in the advertisements.”

At this point, I was no longer at all comfortable with what was going on. A couple of the men bucked and began demanding to be let out. Two women and a man tried crashing past one of the interviewer’s henchmen to get to the roll-up door. They were foiled. They were all foiled.

“Listen, people, there is no need to panic. If you would like to leave, you are welcome to leave through the door over there.”

He pointed to a side door that looked friendly enough. It was even painted pink with a colorful unicorn set against that pink background. The door would have looked nice in a child’s bedroom, except it was a commercial door so you can see the issue there. It also had one of those exit signs you see in buildings, the kind that tell you where to run if there is a fire.

Several people walked towards it. As they were doing so, the interviewer called out to them, telling them that they needed to go through the door one at a time.

“Allow each person to get clear before going through. I will direct you.”

This seemed a little weird, but people were eager to leave. I joined the line, but I was behind about twenty people. Since I haven’t had a job in twelve years and I basically live like a parasite off of others, I had nothing to do that day. I was in no rush to leave, but I’d definitely lost interest in this job. I had a perfect excuse to tell the friends I was currently living with why I didn’t get the job. “It was some fucked up cult or something. They wanted to strip search us and make us wear soft woolen robes.”

The first person went through and the door swung closed behind him. The next person reached for the push bar to open the door. The interviewer called out and reminded them to wait for his signal.

For me personally, I couldn’t fathom any reason why the exit from the building was like that. There didn’t seem to be any reason for it at all. Was the door malfunctioning in some weird way? Was there an old lady who lived behind the strip mall who got upset when too many people exited the building at one time? I mean, come on.

“Something has to be going on here,” the man behind me whispered.

“I think you may be right,” I whispered back.

“Do you think that door really leads outside? We could be walking right into a meat grinder. Have you ever seen a human being go through a meat grinder? I have. Twice.”

“Was just thinking… this unit is between two other units. It isn’t an end unit. That door has to lead into the unit next door.”

“I think you’re right. You have a really good-looking ass. Has anyone ever told you that? I keep wanting to palm the hell out of it.”

“Please don’t.”

“Sorry. I guess I misunderstood what was going on here, but I’ll respect your boundaries.”

When it was finally my turn to go through the door, I found out that it indeed led to the vacant unit next door. It was made up like the interior of a spaceship that someone had drawn while tripping on acid. There were three men and two women there. One of the men took me into what looked like a space capsule and handed me a stack of papers.

“These are the weaknesses of all your co-workers along with a profile of them. Study them. Know them. Be prepared to work for your existence.”

“What the hell are you people on about?”

“Kill or be killed. This agency’s function is to place thirty individuals into a work environment where they have to destroy their co-workers in order to not only advance, but to keep their jobs.”

“What if I don’t want this job? Because honestly, I don’t want this job, whatever the fuck it is.”

“Now that you know what we do and where and how we operate, we cannot release you into the wild. If you try to leave at this point, you will be killed, your family will be killed, and three of your favorite celebrities will be killed or supposedly die of natural causes.”

“But you people murder them?”

“Murder is a strong word. I prefer to say that we take them out. It is more respectful.”

“What for?”

“To punish the wicked. The dead candidate will still be required to work here. When people die, they are sometimes able to communicate information to people who are still living. We can’t have that.”

“Are you serious? Are you talking about ghosts revealing government secrets to living people?”

“There is a chance that it happens. There have been stories.”

“Jesus, are you people serious?”

The man suddenly rushed out of the mock space capsule and sealed the door behind him. I was unable to get out. There were no windows. Extremely cold air was being pumped into the room. I smelled something akin to a fart and then passed out.

I woke up naked, sitting at a standard office desk, on a standard office chair, in a small office room with no windows. The door behind me was closed. The stack of papers was on the desk in front of me. I began going through it.

Someone named John Moberly had cheated on his wife twice, once with a man. Information on his two partners was included in great detail. He was also terrified of spiders and had a bum knee. There was more, but I won’t go into it here. I respect the memory of John Moberly too much to do that.

The rest of the papers had detailed information on all the other employees.

And that is how I came to be at this job. There are only two of us left. I am pretty certain that the other one is you.

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