Date: May 10, 2010
Working at the Food Court is risky business.
Archibald Wheeler and the Goblet of Hire
The Food Court
The Food Court is not having a busy day today, to be perfectly honest. In fact, it's actually having one of the slowest days that it could possibly muster up. There's a couple of customers, quite likely regulars, but other than that… it doesn't really seem to be doing too well in terms of making a profit. Could be one of the reasons that there's a Help Wanted sign on the door in the first place. Where the company is getting the money to hire more people in this crazy economy is anybody's guess, but there it is.
Left completely and utterly in charge of the Food Court, is the tennis visor wearing Archibald Wheeler. He's bored, that much is painfully obvious, as he's leaning onto the counter, next to his register and letting his fingers go to town on the PSP that he's working hard at playing. Whatever the game is, he's certainly quite focused on it, as there's nothing else to really pay attention to within the Food Court at this particular time. It's all dudes in here! Ick!
A hot pink folder full of job applications in one hand, a petite blonde pushes the door open, green eyes glancing around the place in an appraising manner. It doesn't look promising — a skeleton crew could keep the few patrons fed and happy, yet the Help Wanted sign so cheerfully seems to suggest that her presence might be required. Dressed in black pants, a ruffled turquoise top, and coppery ballet flats, Claire is comfortable enough to pound the pavement all day as might be necessary and yet still what she hopes is professional in appearance.
Approaching the counter, she glances at the tall boy playing a PSP with a slight arch of one eyebrow — at least it appears that the management isn't stuffy and strict about having a little fun on the job. She waits to be noticed, not wanting to interrupt his game — she knows from being Lyle Bennet's sister that boys do not like to be interrupted before finding the all important Save Point.
The sound comes from both the PSP and the Geek that's playing it as he finishes off the boss with one of the most epic fireballs he's ever thrown in the game. Which, for the record, has him feeling way too awesome for words. "And that's how you own pwn, baby! That's how you PWN!" Unfortunately, Wheeler hasn't even begun to realize that there's some hot babe approaching the counter and he's right in the middle of his Victory Cabbage Patch dance. "Go Archie! Go Archie! Go Go Gooooooo…. hellooooooo…"
Almost as quick as possible, the PSP gets shoved behind his back and he straightens up, sliding closer to the counter now and trying to make it look like he didn't just notice that he was busted doing the Cabbage Patch dance. "Welcome to the Food Court! How may i serve you?" It's amazing how that pun doesn't ever really get old.
"Food… Court… very cute," Claire says, getting it perhaps for the first time. She's never actually been in the establishment before, but she probably should have put it together before, just driving by once in a while. "Good game?" she offers, with an arched brow nodding down to where he hides the PSP.
"I … wasn't actually going to order anything," she says, nervously moving her file folder of applications from one hand to the other. "The sign says you're hiring? Is that still true?" she asks, a little skeptically, glancing around at the rather empty restaurant. "I can work pretty much any shift," she adds, as if he'd asked, apparently eager and wanting to give an air of usefulness and availability. "I just… um. I don't have a lot of experience. Unless … bake sales count?"
Wheeler kind of slips the PSP into his backpocket, somehow, as he works on paying closer attention to the hottie that's not about to order some of this horribly delicious fast food that he's selling. He grins a little bit at her words, just kind of listening and figuring it out pretty quickly. "Aha. So you've decided to pick the very best fast food restaurant possible to come and apply? Well, you happen to be in luck. As acting assistant manager on duty, I can handle your application and interview all in one sitting." Wheeler has no idea if he can actually do that, for real, but she's hot and he's not about to let this opportunity pass him by. "Bake sales, huh? Well, to be honest, we do happen to need a new pastry goddess. Our last one had to retire. She was 90. The tennis skirt just wasn't working for her anymore…" It's a joke. Maybe.
"Acting assistant manager? Do you get a company car with that title?" Claire says with a grin. "And I think that's age discrimination. Do I actually need to have to play tennis to work here? I did my share of pleated skirts, as a cheerleader, but I think I flung my tennis racquet and hit the tennis coach in the face trying to serve when I tried out for tennis in high school. It's best not to let me wield racquets, bats, lacrosse sticks… pom poms were soft, so fairly safe." Because her cheerleading career was one where no one ever got hurt, right? Still, Sylar was an anomaly.
"Playing tennis is not require, but looking beautiful in the uniform is." Archie has already moved off to the side and crouched down beneath the counter to dig up the needed paper work. He comes back up with a clipboard, the application attached to it and a tennis racket styled pen in hand. "I don't think you'll have a problem with the looking beautiful part, though." With his little cheesy compliment intact, he moves right into the next part of the process of being a charming dork. Dropping the clipboard onto the counter, he spins it around and offers the pen to her. "What I'm going to need for you to do is fill this whole thing out, smile and tell me you don't have a boyfriend and I'll make sure Big Mitch, that's my boss, calls you first thing tomorrow for an actual interview."
Claire's eyes narrow and she picks up the pen, twirling it in her fingers for a moment. "Beautiful might be a stretch but I can pull off cutely athletic, even if it's all a farce and all I really can do is jog without tripping over my own feet and maybe cartwheel once in a while," she says, raising her eyebrows at him as if to ask, 'is that good enough?' She certainly wouldn't classify herself as beautiful, but she's not going to argue with him.
She begins to write her name in slightly bubbly girly handwriting on the form, anyway, even if he disagrees. Claire Bennet. At least she doesn't dot with a circle or worse, a heart. She does smile up at him. "I'm Claire, and no, I don't have a boyfriend, and Big Mitch? That sounds more like a mob boss or something." Because Mobs always have guys named Mitch in them.
"He's a big teddy bear, don't worry about it. It has something to do with his football days, I dunno." Wheeler gives his hand a dismissive wave, as if not really caring too much about whatever it is that Big Mitch has done back in the day. He's focused on the fact that this cutie is filling out the application. He's all leaning onto the counter and watching as she scribbles away the information. "You know, you have the same exact handwriting as my best friend. This is freakin' uncanny." The look on his face is completely and utterly genuine as he reads your writing all upside down and everything. "Russ is gonna' trip out when I tell him about this." And now it's back to the most important part of this whole conversation. "No boyfriend, huh? That's awesome." Wheeler! You idiot! "… I mean, in that whole, independent female kind of way. Y'know…" Oy.
There's another arch of those fierce brows as she smirks up at him. "Your best friend Russ writes like I do? This is like, Times Cheerleader font, I think," she says, pulling out her cell phone to check for reference numbers. The experience section of the application remains woefully blank except for babysitting and charity work, both back in Texas. Nothing too recent. "Though I guess there are guy cheerleaders," she adds. Not to be sexist. "I… like I said I have no experience, but I'm a pretty quick learner."
She frowns at the information — her life in a nutshell, or at least the information that's appropriate to write on a job application, is woefully empty. "I can bake you guys some chocolate chip cookies to make up for the lack of … you know, anything resembling a job?" she offers, handing him the clipboard and lying the racquet pen on top of it.
"Cookies? If you bring cookies to work every day, you'll be employee of the month before you even get hired." Wheeler has no qualms about offering the girl some tips on how to make it around here at the Food Court. "Big Mitch has an insane cookie fetish." And then there is something about the clipboard being scooped up and tossed back under the counter, so that he can make sure the Big Man gets it as soon as possible. He wouldn't mind having this girl working with him. "Once I talk Big Mitch into giving you the position, we'll get you all trained up and ready to serve." Wheeler explains, once again getting his lean onto the counter without worrying too much about the lack of patrons within the building. "I've got the feeling you'll be doing just fine around here. Especially if I'm the one to train you." He leans a bit closer, just in case anybody else that's working is listening. "… I'm pretty much the brains of this operation."
The conspiratorial whisper brings Claire's brows up in amusement. "I'll bring some cookies by if it's not going to get my application thrown out if I stoop to something as low and common as bribery. I can make pretty mean brownies too," she says in a hushed voice as if letting him in on a big secret too. She stands on her toes to look over his shoulder at the kitchen behind him. "I'm pretty sure I'd be okay at taking orders and counting back change and all, but figuring out any crazy appliances might take a little training. You'll have to talk reaaaaal slow and make lots of hand gestures so I can catch up." Yes, she's teasing him.
"Oh, no. There's no way we're letting someone as cutely athletic as yourself work the back." See? He was listening! Wheeler surely hopes that's going to score him some points with her. The whole boys paying attention to what girls say thing is not a myth! It really does happen sometimes! Honest! "You have to be working the counter up here with me. The back is reserved for Death Eaters and Elijah Wood." Man, he just can't stop the geek from coming out in almost every one of his crazy statements. Now he's making Harry Potter references, which he's pretty sure that this girl is not going to get.
"Oh. Well, I'm a Muggle. Don't let them kill me, all right?" she quips back — she read the books! After all, she was a child in the 1990s. "And Elijah Wood? Man, he really hasn't done anything of any merit in forever. Is Webster or Gary Coleman working back there too?" She makes a bigger show of getting on her tip toes to look behind him, before flashing a grin. "Are you someone famous, and I just don't recognize you since you were, like, on some commercial talking about eating your Corn Pops or maybe you were in Hanson, and you grew and cut your hair?"
Wheeler slowly starts to fall in love with this girl with each word as it passes by his ears. And then one manages to break him out of his slow motion moment of personal daydreaming. "Whoa! Okay, the Hanson line was just too far! Nobody should ever be called a member of Hanson unless it is by an enemy or Alex Trebek!" Even though he's wagging his finger at Claire like she's committed the worst sin possible, he's still got a smile on his face. "So. When did you want to come by and pick up your uniform and be officially made a member of the Food Court brigade? Because I'm pretty sure you're going to get hired on the spot."
A job? It seemed a possibility with every passing moment, but since she's turned in exactly thirty-seven applications and gotten all of zero calls back, Claire didn't want to get her hopes up. She bounces and her face breaks into a more genuine smile, rather than the playful smirk with which she'd been teasing him. "Really? You're sure? I mean, I don't want to get you in trouble, or make you have to break a promise if your boss doesn't like me, you know. But I can come by whenever and start … well, whenever!" Apparently the topic of payment or anything else is irrelevant — she just needs a job. A life… something besides walking Wizard and Muggles and running away from government goons.
"Rubbish. How could someone not like you?" That question is asked with so much sincerity that he honestly can't figure out how someone couldn't like this girl. Claire. It's such a good name too. It could also be because he's been too focused on playing too many video games in his life that he's just starting to feel too much stuff for the first pretty girl that gives him the time of day… AND knows about Harry Potter. "Unless, of course, this is some secret Slytherin plot to try and destroy the Food Court from the inside!" He raises an eyebrow and peers at her playfully. "You can start tomorrow morning."
The official offer gets another broad grin from Claire, and she reaches forward to shake on it, enthusiastically offering her small hand to him. "Nah. I'd be Gryffindor all the way, of course!" She brings her pink folder of applications to her chest, crossing her arms in front of it. "Thanks. What did you say your name is? So when they say 'who hired you' I don't look like a total idiot?"
"Wheeler. Archie Wheeler." That's the best non-Bond impression that he can muster up on such short notice. But he manages to get it out there and it works pretty well with his current job offering abilities. He has no idea why he just hired this girl and is probably going to be in so much trouble, but she's cute and that's all that matters. Mostly.
"Archie. I've never met an Archie before. That's pretty epic." She grins and hoists her purse up on her shoulder. "All right. I need to go buy new tennis shoes, I think… my puppy chewed up my last pair. Thanks, Archie. I look forward to working with you!" Claire gives a small wave and turns to exit her new place of employment. Hopefully Archie won't be fired before she starts.
Wheeler gives the girl a wave, before tilting his head as she walks away to admire the view. Yes, he's a geek. Geeks do that. It's not every day they get the chance to talk to pretty girls without speaking through the shoved door of a locker they've been shoved into. "I hate it when they leave, but I love to watch 'em walk away." Wheeler has no idea whether or not that was too loud and Claire heard him, but he sure as heck is too busy whipping the PSP back out to deal with the fun! "We now return to Street Fighter!"