The Company Is Always Watching

Copyright 2012 Douglas T. Vale

Cover image courtesy of Creasencesro /

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He glanced up at the round white clock hanging on the wall, then at the black swiveling camera above it. Coughing, he adjusted his tie and smoothed his clothes for what seemed the hundredth time. Then he tried to sit still in his chair, to seem calm and confident. Instead he fidgeted and twiddled his thumbs, his gaze darting about. He chuckled, shaking his head, and rubbed his damp hands on the edges of the scratchy seat cushion beneath him. He tapped his feet, listening to the dull clop of his uncomfortable shoes. He'd wanted to dress more casual, but Beverly insisted the shoes made the man. Or some damn thing like that. So he wore the fancy uncomfortable shoes and the fancy uncomfortable clothes.

Again he scanned the ceiling. For each of the four walls there was a swiveling black camera eye with a small red light. Another nest of them protruded from the center of the ceiling. The ceiling was made of flimsy white panels. Each panel had about a hundred little holes in it. There were also several long fluorescent lights. The carpet was some muddled tangle of burgundy, brown, gray, and black diamonds. A phone rang somewhere three times. Then it fell silent. Behind the counter one of the secretaries walked about, her shoes thudding faintly and her clothes rustling. He wondered how long he'd have to wait. Interviews were bad enough, but all this waiting... He sighed and shifted around in his seat again, running one of his fingers along the narrow space between his neck and his shirt collar.

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