Peer Review by Ash (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 the 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 who witnesses my daily interactions with others can see that I'm a natural. 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. He glances up at me with calculating grey eyes, wondering if I dropped the paper on purpose to get his attention. His biceps flex as he reaches up to give it back to me, giving me a seductive smile.  I smile back and 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.

Before long, the subway reaches my stop. The handsome stranger starts towards the door at the same time I do, and 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 sidewalks 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 ask 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 he turns abruptly and sprints out onto the concrete.  There is only one car this high on the parking deck, a grey minivan that must be his own.  It has tinted windows, so I cannot see the interior.  "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 at all. "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 still-calculating eyes as things start to go black around the edges. My last concious thought is, "I'm going to miss my interview."

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

"I look back at him as I exit the train..."
Sure, she flirted with him, but she's still focused on the task at hand. She's described very much in the manner of a "girly girl," but she's still goal-oriented and driven.

First off, you listed how your polar opposite would be applying as a social worker. I really liked how you not only avoided the common idea of "my opposite would be a complete jerk!" and ran in the opposite direction. But then you make her more real: she's a flirt. Furthermore as we learn from the end of the story, she doesn't think ahead. She has flaws and virtues and I applaud you for doing that.
I just have one problem with your story: why doesn't the man just seduce her off to someplace quiet and then kidnap her instead of going through the trouble of the creating a sick mother? From the perspective of the kidnapper, wouldn't that be easier? Is there some reason he has to use the pretense of a sick mother?

Reviewer Comments

I really love this story, and honestly, it doesn't need that much word. Some grammar issues and word replacements and a minor rewrite and you should be good to go. Your plot is good and so is your character. She doesn't feel flat. She's a saint, a seductress, an overly-prepared slightly nervous adult, and a bit clueless: in short, she's a real person.