Freedom at last.
It is great to be in another country, and I’m finally getting my first job interview here. I don’t want to get stuck back home as a corporate drone like many other young people my age; it’s a rat race. An endless cycle of work, work, and more work. That’s why the suicide rate back home is so high, ranking next to our neighboring country of Asahi. I’m only armed with my knowledge of Simlish that I’ve been learning since I was a kid, but I’m not really good at speaking it. Adults back in Koguryeo always taught us that being able to speak Simlish will give you many opportunities after college, with the concept of connecting the world together like a global village. That is how I ended up in this country.
I understand Simlish grammar and vocabulary to some extent, but when I speak, people just frown or say that they can’t understand me. All those hours in Simlish cram school seem wasted. There weren’t many opportunities to practice speaking Simlish back home since it was only seen more as an academic requirement. After thirty minutes of looking for someone who has the patience to understand me, an elderly woman pushing a shopping cart full of cat food gave me directions. I thank the grandmother and make my way to an alley beside a spa. I finally saw the factory building. It was not what I was expecting in the brochure that I read, but it seems to have the right address.
“West End Textiles and Soup Incorporators.” I say to myself as I slowly try to read the letters on the sign, unsure of how to read the last two words. I reassure myself that this is the place of the job interview, despite it looking very different from what I read in the job fair brochure.
I manage to find the door hidden behind a fence, which made me wonder why the entrance was there. Normal jobs have the entrance right at the front, but I don’t want to look for a normal job. I then remember that it was the same thing I told my parents when I left them. It’s social taboo to disobey your parents back where I’m from, but it’s exactly what I did.
I look at the building, and it seems that all of the windows are covered with tarpaulin and thick posters. Does the company dislike natural sunlight? The door is made of heavy steel with a lot of reinforcements around it. The company must really value their security so much to resort to installing this kind of door. After a deep breath to keep myself from being nervous, I knock on the door.
“Hello? Job interview please?” I call out and wait for someone to reply from behind the reinforced door.
“Who is it? State your business!” A surly voice from the other side answers.
“Come here for job interview please.” I say, thinking that I constructed the proper sentence.
“What?” Looks like I was wrong.
“I come here for job interview. Please.” I say again, emphasizing almost every word.
There was no reply. However, after a few minutes, the voice spoke again.
“Come in.” The door opens and I see clutter everywhere; mismatching furniture, stacks of paintings, and a small cage with a chicken inside.
But there was no one around.
“Hello?” I call out again. “Where are you?”
“I’m right here.”
The voice manifests itself as a ghost of what appears to be a knight. Wait a minute. A ghost? For real? I suddenly freeze in place as the ghost starts to speak with an otherworldly voice. I try to say something.
“It takes great courage to step into this lair, dweller of the living world! I, Sir Preston Ascott III, Lord of Worthington, Duke of Southern Hampton, and Vanquisher of a Thousand Chickens am the guardian of this place. Humans, vampires, and poultry tremble before my spectral sword, Chickenbane! State thy business or prepare to be slaughtered!” the ghost then laughs as I stumble down onto a nearby chair.
“What?” I only manage to say as I couldn’t understand all of the words he said.
“Oh for the love of—” the ghost says with a disappointed tone. “I spent all day thinking up of a line like that and that’s what I get? Really? Do you even speak Simlish?”
“Simlish!” I beam at hearing the word. “Not very much understand please. Because from other country, come here for job interview.”
“Another country, you mean? Must be a lost tourist.” he says the last sentence under his breath.
“Yes. From other country.”
“Who are you and where are you from?”
Now those were questions I understood. Remembering my self-introduction lessons, I introduce myself as if I was almost drilled to do so. Time is money for Simlish speakers, I remember. I was the fastest at introducing myself in Simlish back in high school. It’s time to put what I learned into practice.
“Hello nice to meet you my name is Park Shin Simlish name Shin Park I come from the Koguryeo to look for job my hobbies are painting traveling dancing–”
“Enough!” the ghost raises a hand as he finally seems to understand what I’m saying. “Sit in the chair. Over there.” he points to another chair that is almost surrounded by metal fencing with metal grates underneath it. “Park, was it? I’ll call the boss.” he says the last word while pointing a finger upwards.
And then I hear footsteps coming from upstairs.
“Preston!” I hear a deeper, eloquent voice of a man. “Has our guest been treated with care?” I see a pair of legs coming down the steel stairs.
“Yes, Doc! Treated him with hospitality, Doc. Been a very good host, Doc! Always following your every whim, Doc!” the ghost suddenly shifts from his once dominant tone to something that sounds more subservient. The pale-skinned man must be his superior.
“By the way you answered, you must have done something rude to our guest.” the pale-skinned man says to the ghost.
“I swear on my spectral sword Chickenbane that I have not done such a thing, Doctor!” the ghost says and seems to address the pale-skinned man as “Doctor.” I didn’t know that a doctor will be interviewing me today. The brochure said that the CEO himself conducts the interviews. Then, the pale-skinned doctor shifts his attention from the ghost and looks at me with his blood red eyes, which caught me by surprise.
“Welcome, friend.” he speaks in perfect Koguryeon, my native language.
“I have been expecting you.”