New Job

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"Marcia, Marcia, Marcia, I'm going to work at the TTC!" Louise fingered her TTC cufflink-cum-pin as she bounced up and down on her toes in front of her hall mirror, failing in her happiness to see Marcia's tail undulating like a snake behind her reflection. The cat's green eyes bored into her back while Louise admired her pin: a black numeral one on the cufflink's round yellow background, the whole encircled with rhodium. Louise's light brown eyes shone with delight. She had turned the official TTC cufflink from the TTC store into a kind of pin that she'd neatly inserted into the second buttonhole of her fresh white shirt.

"Isn't this exciting, Marcia," she bubbled without turning around. "I'm really going to the TTC. Today's my first day on the job, working for Toronto's public transit!" Louise fisted her hands and clapped them in front of her heart. She gave a little shriek of happiness. "I'm actually going, Marcia!" Louise whirled around, the gravitational force pulling her cufflink-cum-pin outward and with it her shirt. The pin sat in her shirt's buttonhole just above the top button of her sky blue V-neck cardigan. Her cardigan was modestly buttoned up to its top button and kept her shirt from revealing too much. Louise laughed down at her mottled brown cat with her black paws and white-smudged nose, who was staring fixedly back up at her as she sat on her haunches.

Marcia leapt.

She stretched her front paws up and grasped the cufflink between them. She twisted her body in mid-air, bum going up, head going down, front legs twisting as she held on to the pin before successfully yanking it downward. Rip! Louise gasped. She clasped her torn buttonhole. Marcia landed - thump! The cufflink-cum-pin ricocheted away. Louise cried, "Marcia!"

Marcia mrrrowwed up at her before turning to race after the TTC pin spinning across the scuffed oak floor. Galvanized by seeing her yellow number one pin disappearing around the corner of her small hall towards her bedroom and her cat's upright tail with its bent tip disappearing behind it, Louise raced after both. When she skidded around the corner, cat and pin were gone. "Marcia," Louise yelled desperately. "Where are you?" Stop yelling, Louise, she told herself. Listen. She breathed heavily. Her heart bu-bumped in her chest. All she could hear was herself. Louise stepped quickly to her bedroom. She'd only bought one white shirt for her first day on the job, a job she'd landed so quickly she still couldn't believe it. She had attended the job interview the moment they'd called her the day after she'd emailed in her résumé for the Customer Convenience Team Vision Member position at the TTC. She hadn't been sure what that job was about, but that hadn't deterred her. Her motto had been to apply for any and every job at the Toronto Transit Commission that she could or whose requirements she met even in the faintest way. She was determined she'd work at the TTC. That was the place for her to be.

At the interview in the slightly tattered-looking office — it must've been a temporary workspace, Louise had thought — the nice woman and slim man standing next to her had reviewed her résumé in less than five minutes barely after she'd sat down. They hadn't asked her any questions other than did she know how to type and what kind of computers was she familiar with. She'd told them that she'd used ones running DOS and Windows and had played with original Macs. Her mother had taught her how to assemble and disassemble all kinds of hardware, she'd eagerly related. They'd stopped her then as the woman looked up at the man, who'd nodded back at her. The woman had returned her gaze to Louise's face, smiled, and said neutrally that she had the job. Louise had caught her breath and clutched her chest. She couldn't believe it had been that easy. She'd tried and tried to get a job as a driver, a subway booth operator, customer service rep, anything to get in the door. But she'd never heard back. It was like her résumé had disappeared into a red-and-white rabbit hole.

She knew that she wanted to work for the TTC ever since the day she'd buried her father, four years after her mother had been murdered by a car and a TTC driver had stayed with her dying mother until the ambulance had come, until the police had arrived, and then the TTC CEO had attended her mother's funeral.

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