Occupational Hazard

A work of fan-fiction by:

sortitout (Samantha: nexisfan@yahoo.com) and urhash (Dan: urhash@hotmail.com)

1 - Opening Vignette

Ray Barone leaned back in his chair of his brand new office with a contented sigh. Ray was a sportswriter for Newsday and he had just received a promotion with perks like no other he had ever gotten. Not only did he get a new state of the art office, he now was able to employ his very own assistant. His boss even went as far as loaning him his own assistant for the day to help sort through the potential assistants. When he heard a knock on the door, he immediately answered, "Come in."

"Hi Mr. Barone,"' Mildred -Ray's temporary assistant- said as she came in through the door with files in hand, "Here are the files for the candidates for the position. Would you like me to send the first one in?" she asked with a no-nonsense manner, placing the files on Ray's desk.

"Uh sure go ahead." Ray answered unassuredly. He had never been the one behind the desk doing the hiring and he felt a little less than confident with where to begin.

Mildred gave him an insincere smile and walked out the door. She looked at a man in his early 30's and said, "Come with me sir."

She walked back through the door with the man following behind her. "Mr. Barone, this is Joshua, your first interview of the day," Mildred said, practically pushing the man in front of her. The door slammed shut as she left.

Ray motioned for the man to take a seat. "Um hello there Joshua, please sit down."

"Thanks, for meeting with me sir. I really need a job," Joshua said a little too eagerly. He had a slight lisp that hung on every word.

"Yeah that's understandable considering the current job market. So, why do you think you'd make a good assistant?" Ray replied while he glanced over Joshua's resume.

"Well, as anyone who knows me will tell you, I'm very organized and neat and that's an important quality to have," Josh answered with slurred words and a broad smile.

"You're right Joshua, that's very true... so, are you into sports?" asked Ray.

"Not sports per se, but I have my hobbies." Joshua answered again with a smile that was quickly growing disturbing.

"Oh really, what are you interested in then?"

"Star Trek, mostly the original and uh the next generation. After that the quality started to go down hill. See that is why I need this job so badly because my Mom said that I can't live in her basement anymore unless I start paying my own way. She also said she wouldn't pay for me to go to the conventions or collect my memorabilia. All the guys in my Star Trek RPG game started making fun of me because I wasn't gonna be able to go with them to the big convention in Texas. So I was like, screw that man I'm getting a job."

"Okaaaaaaaay," Ray commented with a raised eyebrow. He stood up and walked to the door, "That will do it for today. Mildred will call you concerning the job." He opened the door quickly and gestured sharply for him to leave.

"Thanks Mr. Barone, If I get this job I will give you my Spock action figure! Its one of a kind!" Josh said, lisping all the way as he skipped out of the office.

Ray looked at Mildred with a look of despair. "I'm ready for the next one. Hell after that I'm ready for anything."


Ray was now about ready to rip his own hair out. Perhaps he would do better without an assistant. Or maybe Mildred could stick around- despite being a hairy beast, she did get the job done.

After the Star Trek fanatic, Ray thought things could only get better.

He was dead wrong.

This had officially been the longest four hours of his life. Following Joshua, there was a woman who stated she needed extra breaks during the day so that she could return home and be with her lonely cats.

Then there was the older man who called Ray and his generation, "Pansy Asses" and generously offered to whip him into shape if hired.

After that was the woman who spoke no English, followed by the old lady who couldn't tell Ray what baseball was, and finally the crazy overweight gentleman who brought his pet rat "Killer" in his pocket during the interview and spoke like Mr. Bean.

Ray rubbed his temples and let out a long sigh. Pressing the intercom, he informed Mildred that he now was ready for the last candidate.

To his surprise, in walked a beautiful, tantalizing woman in her late twenties. She had long black hair, part of which fell loosely across her forehead. She sported dark Mediterranean features - tan skin, full lips, long legs, and a slender figure dressed in a smart, stylish black business attire. She looked sharp, Raymond quickly realized... among other things.

"H-Hi, um, please sit down," Ray stuttered as he shook her hand. His eyes briefly met her's before he looked away. Just as some women on the street were too hideous to even glance at, he couldn't help but think she was almost too dazzling!

"So, tell me..." he searched the resume momentarily for the name, "...Jodi, why do you think you'd make a good assistant?" Ray asked.

"Well, as you can see on my resume I am majoring in English and if I do say so myself I have pretty amazing typing skills." She laughed slightly and continued, "But the main reason I think I'd be good for this job is I love sports. I'm also a really big fan of your column, and it's clear to me that you're someone who truly loves the game. Having this job would be a really great experience for me and I wouldn't let you down."

Ray stared at Jodi, highly impressed by her credentials and enthusiasm. "When can you start?"

"That's it? I have the job?" she asked in confusion.

"Well, you don't have any cats, rats, or happen to think I'm pansy ass, do you?"

"No sir, I can't say I do," answered Jodi, her voice wavering as she shot him a strange glance.

"Well, then you are hired!" Ray said as he excitedly clapped his hands together.

Jodi stood up and extended her hand. "Oh thank you so much Mr. Barone you wont regret this. I will be here bright and early tomorrow!"

"No, thank you!" Ray replied heartily. He was just as glad as to be able to leave the office finally.