2010-06-26: Paper Hats



Guest starring Grace Sutherland.

Date: June 27, 2010


Elle tries to get a job. Key word: tries.

"Paper Hats"

Gloss Offices

In a room of blinding white punched with contrastingly colorful artwork and decor that costs more than many people's monthly rent, a debonair, grey-haired middle-aged woman in a black, pin-striped suit jacket and gold necklace of medallions stares across the expanse of her desk. She is, very obviously, someone important — someone important where, you might ask? The hot pink letters on the wall of her office just above her head declare it to the world: G L O S S Magazine. The name on her desk designates her as Grace Sutherland, Editor-In-Chief.

It is quiet in the office thanks to a white noise machine, but every so often busy steps rush past the door of the office and the noise of bustling industry slips in. A nearby window sparkles with signs of more industry — skyscrapers of Manhattan.

"Which one are you…" Ms. Sutherland murmurs, trying to smile civilly as she already hasn't decided the person meant to be sitting across from her isn't a waste of her time. A pair of rectangular reading glasses are nestled on the editor's nose and she sifts through a pile of resumes. She doesn't seem especially welcoming — or encouraged — but if she's doing interviews herself, she must really need employees, right?

Oh, crap. Crapcrapcrapcrap. Elle's watch was malfunctioning again. In fact, all of the electronics that she came into a 10-foot radius of would start to minorly malfunction. This, if nothing else, showed that tensions were extremely high for the woman, for her tight control of her power was fraying ever so slightly.

"Get a grip, Elle!" She tells herself sternly to her mirror-self. Oh, wonderful, now she was talking to herself. That was healthy. At least her mirror image didn't talk back. Evidence of the past few hours of her getting ready for the interview were evident in her bedroom, mainly in clothes and accessories thrown wantonly around the room. It had taken her forever to ready herself, and now she was probably late. Pulling on a pair of shiny black heels, Elle bolted from her apartment. It takes talent to bolt in heels. Maybe she should've put that on her resume.

Slightly flushed, Elle manages to get to the office on time, and her power behaves enough so that no electronics in the Gloss office suddenly start to malfunction. To be safe, she avoids them all the same. "Eleanor Bishop. Elle." She answers this imposing woman, her voice trying to stay smooth.

On time or not, the look the blonde is met with is nothing short of impatient. A finely sculpted brow arches over the rim of the editor-in-chief's glasses. "Well, settle down, Elle. Nice shoes." A paper is brandished neatly and triumphantly by the editor; though for all the triumph of finding it, it's eyed skeptically. "I'm Grace Sutherland. Of course you know that…" she says dismissively while continuing to eye the paper — presumably the young lady's resume?

"Elle," she repeats on the at the end of a silence that was about to become too long. "A good name, Elle, that's a name for fashion, though by all rights I should kick you and stomp on you with the heel of my Jimmy Choos for being the name of a competitor magazine…" This entirely sincere statement is followed by an entirely insincere smile. "Now. What position are you applying for? I can't… tell…" The resume is given a squint. "Assistant? Receptionist? Intern?"

Grace Sutherland liked her shoes! The woman's compliment resulted in a smile from Elle, however nervous it was. When she has her resume, Elle can't help but squirm. It was not the most robust of resumes, because it was generally frowned upon to put down things like "ex-agent of the deeply complicated Company" or "good at being damsel in distress". In the end, the resume was very… brief, and half of it was more fanciful than truthful.

Elle's smile at the compliment on her shoes and then her name wavers, then flickers out hesitantly. "Uhm. Y-yes, ma'am," she replies to this rather.. intense statement. Should she apologize? She didn't think so. "I like your necklace," was offered in return. Then came the question, which made her clench internally with anxiety. "Whatever you need, really. I can be any of those." This was followed by a nod of her blonde head.

The editor touches her necklace at the compliment but says nothing. "Can you." She then pinches the side of her glasses and nudges them down to eye Elle skeptically in person, rather than on paper. "I see girls like you all the time, young little blonde things with the whole world all— " Grace's hand goes from her glasses to wave flippantly through the air. " — sparkly in their eyes. Well I'll tell you something, you can't be everything. The fashion world is cutthroat! You have to start somewhere and work your way up. So pick something and tell me why you're good at it." She lets the resume fall. "Because frankly I don't know what I'm looking at."

Elle does her best not to shrink in her chair at this speech. The word 'sparkly' stirs something inside her, and suddenly the fight to regain her posture is a winning one. She sits up straight, shoulders back, chin up. She was Elle Bishop, she could do this. When the woman straightens, her outfit is more visible: a silky slate blue blouse paired with a layered short blue-grey skirt, filmy layers patterned with small circles. A set of dark tights are under the skirt, and she has silver hoops in her ears, her hair pulled slightly back to show them.

Which to pick? Which did what, exactly? Elle's mind was blanking. She didn't want something menial, she wanted something fabulous. Intern, assistant, receptionist.. none of those sounded suitably fabulous. Well, she'd have to settle. "Assistant," she blurts finally. "I'm good at.. at assisting. With tasks." This sounded rather pitiful, so Elle adds with what she hopes sounds like a capable and very hire-worthy tone of voice, "Fashionable tasks."

Up goes the eyebrow again. Grace heaves a sigh as if summoning the divine inspiration to go through the motions of this interview. Elle's prospective employer folds her hands on her desk. "And your experience is…" She glances down at the paper, unimpressed, but pins an expectant gaze on the interviewee, waiting for the blanks to be filled.

And up goes the anxiety. This is Not Good. The capital letters were for a very good reason. When normal, average people got nervous, nothing so horrible happened. But when Elle got nervous, her control on her power wavered. There was the time where she'd almost electrocuted a group of school children. (It had been raining and.. well, there's no real way to justify that sentence.) And the many, many times she'd caused blackouts.

At her mental thought of 'blackout', the lights in the room flick to off-on-off-on ever so briefly. Elle gulps. "I, uhm. Assisted my.. my.." Oh, for a word! Then she brightens. "My father. He ran a company." It's hard to keep the capital C in company out of her voice. "I assisted him from a very young age. With all sorts of tasks." Another nod, a deep breath, and Elle tries to smile. Did she just save herself?

"Hhmnhn, right, right…" Ms. Sutherland flips through the resume, pausing to glance at the lights and murmur something about incompetent someone-or-others. "I see, here it is. Primatech Research. The paper company?" Just when her raised eyebrow couldn't arch any more… it reaches a new level of doubt. "Yes, I'm sure that included many … fashionable tasks."

Grace leans back in her ergonomic chair and flips her stylish scarf around her neck. "You are aware your resume looks like it was pieced together by a fifth grader. And that's being generous; fifth graders at least win a few idiots money on network television. Come on now Ms. Bishop, do you at least have a passion for fashion or are you wasting my time with your— " The magazine mogul rolls her eyes and suppresses a faux yawn. " — dreeeams of being good enough."

Elle's mental mantra of 'oh, crap' starts up once again. Why hadn't They - always the vague and capitalized word - chosen a more glamourous cover company? Something that she could at least lie well with? What was she supposed to do, cite her ability in creating paper hats? Dressing paper dolls?

Elle's tension increases, and suddenly the printer near her elbow begins to print something furiously. It will end up being gibberish, if not blank. "I love fashion! Fashion is my - " and as her anxiety peaks, the lights in the office putter out noisily. "… life!" Elle finishes in the darkness.

CRACKLE. "… I see," states Grace drably. In the dark. "Or not, as it turns out. SARAH WHAT HAPPENED TO THE POWER?! IT'S TOO EARLY FOR ROLLING BLACKOUTS!!" The woman shouts toward reception without adjusting her poised posture.

Clearing her throat, the editor rolls back in her chair. "I'm sorry for … this," she apologizes, unknowing, of course, that the electricity's problem is sitting right there. "I simply refuse to further conduct a conversation in the dark, how primitive." In the dim office, the editor's roll of her eyes toward the ceiling is either cursing of the darkness or thankful for the interruption. "I'll have someone… get back to you…"

"Sure. Yes. Okay." This was definitely a case of 'leave at the high point'. Or maybe something more resembling 'leave at the low point which is also at this point dark'. One lamp flickers briefly into light and then back out a moment later, but this momentary flash of light is enough to help Elle navigate her way out of the office. Manners kick in and Elle turns around, her figure backlit in the doorway by the light in other offices. "Thank you for your time."

The shadow of her editor's waving dismissively can be seen in silhouette. "Mm, ciao, watch your step," she murmurs, too preoccupied with everything but Elle to give her a proper goodbye. Seconds later: "Sarah!! My coffee! And get in here to change the lightbulb, someone tall, grab a model if you have to! How does anyone find a capable assistant these days…" Maybe Elle should count herself lucky if she doesn't get this job.

Elle winces slightly as the woman's call to her assistant reverberates in her eardrums. Boy, did Ms. Sutherland have a set of lungs on her. Making her way back into the artificial light, and then the sunshine, Elle fiddles with an earring as she mulls over the interview. Well, it hadn't been that bad, she reassured herself. At least there hadn't been any electrical fires. Or worse, she could've said that bit about paper hats.

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