I’m ecstatic leaving the restaurant knowing I aced the interview. The lady even bought me that nice lunch afterward and pretty much promised me the position. Margaret something. Kind of cute and seemed in high spirits. Maybe delighted about that shiny new engagement ring that she kept flashing around. Sure, I had lied about my education, past employers, and criminal record, but what the hell, I should have done it long ago. By now I might have been in management.
I follow the news somewhat, and I recently learned that it’s not against the law to lie about that kind of shit. That New York congressman, what’s-his-name, demonstrated that. He showed that people can lie about the same things, even get elected to congress, and not get in trouble for it if found out. In my case I didn’t claim a degree from a university like Harvard, just Florida Atlantic, so they probably won’t even check the transcripts. Plus, I found great people to act as job and personal references. I just had to give each of them some bucks and a page of “alternate facts” that I prepared for them. I owe a couple of them money so they probably want me to get the job so I can start paying them back.
I catch a bus, sit in the back, and begin thinking about being able to get a car soon and needing to take this suit back to Macy’s. Then I hear a cellphone ringing with a couple measures of “Over the Rainbow.” It rings again and it sounds really close by, but nobody is moving to answer it. The other passengers all appear to be looking at me. When it rings a third time, I check the suitcoat pocket and pull out the ringing phone. “What the hell,” I say, and realize that I must have grabbed the wrong phone off the table when I left the restaurant.
I see that it’s my number calling and answer it. It’s Margaret. “Caleb, I think we mixed our phones up and I need mine returned as soon as possible. Please bring it to me. I’m back at my office.”
“Oh, sorry about that. I took the bus to save carbon and I’ll get off at the next stop and hurry back,”
The call ends and I discover that the phone isn’t password protected. So, I begin going through Margaret’s stuff, but since I really want the job, I resist the impulse to go into her banking and other financial apps. Next, I look at her messages and see texts from a Blake Johnson. Wow that’s interesting. It’s the same name as a longtime neighborhood friend. I go into her contacts, and sure enough, it is my friend. Oh no. I go back to her messages and the most recent one from Blake is an invitation to dinner, tonight. Looking back through the older texts it’s obvious that the two of them are a thing. There are even some very suggestive texts going back and forth, some with photos.
How did I not know? Then I remember Blake mentioning that he’s getting tight with a new girl – maybe marriage material. Crap, it was his ring. Son of a bitch. I realize it could get back to Margaret that my life story’s a lie. I won’t be able to go to Blake’s wedding or even parties they might attend if I get the job. I then look through Margaret’s photos and I see myself in the background of a couple selfies of them at a recent party. I delete those. There are a few others that she probably shouldn’t have taken or saved. I would have liked to send them to my phone, since they could come in handy someday, but she has it and would know.
When I arrive at Margaret’s office, I give her the phone and get mine back. Then I catch another bus home and call Blake. It’s awkward telling him that I went through his fiancée’s phone, but I explain what happened and urge him to keep quiet about my past if she finds out that he knows me.
Blake has always been an honest kind of guy though, so I don’t know what he will do. I expect that I’m screwed concerning the job and our future friendship, but at least I can’t be arrested.