Peer Review by David M. (United States)

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I Never Made It to the Interview

By: Verity Fynn

PROMPT: Polar Opposite

There are no empty seats on the subway, so I am forced to stand.  With a Starbucks coffee in one hand and my resume in the other, I run through potential questions I might be fielding during this interview. My name is Guadalupe Perez. I am tewnty-six years old. I'm the perfect fit for this job because I have great people skills, I am very articulate, and I truly show that I care. I'm certain that I'll clinch this job as a social worker. Anybody with eyes can see I'm practically made for it. The subway jerks to an abrupt stop, and I am forced to drop my resume to grab hold of the metal bar above my head.  The paper flutters into the lap of a handsome man in his late thirties. His biceps flex as he reaches up to give it back to me, giving me a seductive smile.  I smile back and make sure to smoothly unbutton the top two buttons of my blouse.  Throughout the rest of my time on the train we keep stealing glances at each other when we think the other isn't looking.

Finally, the subway reaches my stop. The handsome stranger starts towards the door at the same time I do. We get off at the same station.  I look back at him as I exit the train, give a tiny wave, flip my long black hair, and start up the steps towards the city and my job interview.

The city smells of cigarette smoke and hot dogs. I walk the cracked sidewalk and listen to the broken melodies of car horns and police sirens.  Just as I'm about to turn down a different street, I hear a frantic, "Miss! Miss!" I look behind me and see Mr. Handsome from the subway, with his hair disheveled and half of his shirt untucked. "Please, help!"

"What is it?" I asked quickly.

"Please, my mother - I think she's had a heart attack. Please come help!"

I am all business. "Where is she?"

"This way," he says, and leads me down a crowded street, towards a large parking deck.  We dash up four flights of stairs until I see that a grey minivan, which must be his car, is the only one on this level. "She's in the back," he says, opening the automatic door.

I jump in, and my first thought is that there is no elderly woman in the midst of cardiac arrest. In fact, there is no elderly woman, period. "Where-" I start to say, turning toward the man, when he shoves a handkerchief to my mouth and nose.  I smell something sickly sweet, and I look into his eyes as things start to go black around the edges. My last concious thought is, "His car smells like perfume."

Message to Readers

I want your honest opinions. Don't spare my feelings; this needs work. Please keep your comments short, clean, and to the point.

Peer Review

Her switch between being in business mode and flirtatious mode is very interesting. She clearly has the ability to focus and get things done but also to have fun. But you have to respect her ability to stay in control and headed towards her goal... until someone else gets in the way.

I really don't want to keep reading, because we all know what happens next and no one wants to see it happen. But the dynamic between Guadalupe and Mr. Handsome is obviously the driving force of the story, and something which takes a sharp turn at the end.

Reviewer Comments

You do a good job bringing several different elements together in such a short piece. I've marked some of the times where you can work towards streamlining it more, stripping out redundancies and clarifying some things. But overall your piece is short and to the point. You have something you want to demonstrate (vulnerability to predation on better instincts) and you demonstrate it will. The story is heart-wrenching because of the depravity and injustice of the events which take place. If you really want to hammer this home, I'd add in some more comments about the theme of appearance -- in particular, the guy focusing on her appearance -- and some more characterization of Guadalupe as someone who is eager to help and optimistic about the future. But overall you have a good piece that works well!