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Crow Pie

“If you don’t finish this book by the end of the semester, you’re going to regret it.” Mrs. Callison’s words had been cold and measured. She hadn’t even looked up from the papers she was grading.

“Are you threatening me?” Todd had said, indignant. He was a senior, ready to take on the world, and no teacher was going to tell him how to spend the last couple months of high school.

“No, Mr. Ramsey,” Callison had said. “I’m promising you — The Great Gatsby is a classic, and there will come a day when you’ll regret not reading it.”

Todd didn’t remember for sure what his response had been, but he did know he never read the book.

That’s why it had seemed like such a funny, smug choice for the job application at Allied Technologies.

“What is your favorite book of all time?”

Why, The Great Gatsby, of course! It was a hoot of an answer, a middle finger to authority figures everywhere.

And what did it matter? Just another field on a boilerplate application.

How was Todd to know Allied’s hiring manager took the questionnaire so seriously?

“So, Mr. Ramsey, ” Gordon Paulson began the interview. “I see here that your favorite book is The Great Gatsby. Mine too!”

Todd’s heart sank. Callison was right.

“Tell me,” Paulson went on. “Which character is most like you, and how will you avoid the mistakes he or she made?

Todd was sweating now. He knew only one character from the book, and he wasn’t even sure about that.

But it was all he had.

“Gatsby,” Todd said, fidgeting in his seat. “And I plan to do my level best to tell the truth at all costs.”

Most of the time, he thought to himself.

“Oh, and to read more.”

Published inFlash Fiction

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