#68: Is That a Challenge?

$20 into 75¢ wing night at John Hardy's, Whitley stopped and pondered whether to continue with a third dozen or splurge on the bacon mac & cheese special. Alicia gleefully devoured a Neapolitan ice cream sandwich across from her. Next to Alicia, Krysta struggled to frame a picture of her breasts alongside her grilled chicken salad.

"Have you finalized the terms of your volleyball tournament 'special guest appearance' yet?" Krysta said, returning to eating.

Whitley nodded, wiping buffalo sauce from her forehead. "I got a call from their media staff. I thought we would just talk logistics—what I have to do, where to stand, how much I can get them to pay for."

"It sounds like Alicia gave you some tips on how to VIP."

"You’re welcome," Alicia chimed, eyes fixed on her Instagram feed.

"But they also wanted to know all about what I've been up to, what I thought of last season, future playing plans, future coaching plans..."

"If I had to guess, they are checking for red flags or, in your case," Krysta mimed hitting a joint, "green flags."

"If you were anyone else, I'd be offended. But it's you, and my ass being baked as fuck that whole weekend is a real possibility."

Krysta held up her phone, flashed a smile, and snapped a selfie showcasing the deep crevasse of cleavage framed by her lavender scoop-neck t-shirt. "Yes, but Julie is going with you, and while she is a quarter the stoner you are, she will also protect you from your worst impulses. She has done it for me since junior high."

"We'll see about that. But yeah, it felt more like a weird job interview."

"But what does 'weird job interview' even mean for you?" Krysta asked, picking through her bowl for the remaining chicken breast chunks. "I cannot imagine you have ever had a normal job interview. I am sure I have had weirder, but—"

"Is that a challenge?" Whitley said, raising an eyebrow, strongly considering the mac & cheese. "Keep in mind, Alicia is sitting at the table with us."

"I accept," Alicia said, still not looking up from her phone.

"Me too," Whitley said. "That bacon mac & cheese entree looks heavenly."

Krysta wiped her mouth and folded her napkin. "So, I have only ever been a model and a tutor. I have not had many job interviews. My interview for the Learning Center at Stanford, however, was like something straight out of a manga."

"Did you wear cat ears?" Alicia chimed.

"What? No, Alicia."



Alicia opened her eyes wide and batted her lashes. "Ooooooh, Senpai! Please give me a job!"

"Shut up. Anyways, I had been hit by the freshman fifteen—a quarter of it going to my boobs—and I had new bras and tops to pay for. This included my business blouse whose buttons were hanging on for dear life. In the middle of the interview, I laughed a little too hard and a button popped off my blouse and landed in my water glass."

"That doesn't seem too—"

"The interviewer's nose started bleeding on the spot. I got the job. Your turn, Alicia."

Alicia swallowed a huge chunk of ice cream, miraculously unfazed by brain freeze. "So I applied to Jamba Juice my senior year in high school. I absolutely bombed the interview because I kept getting sidetracked instead of answering the questions. As a last-ditch effort, I asked if I could get the job if I could beat them at arm wrestling. I'd already taken down our high school varsity quarterback, so I'm thinkin' I can take a Jamba Juice manager!"

"You got the job, then," Krysta said.

"No way. That lady crushed me."

"I'll be honest, Muscles," Whitley said, half-focused in the wing sauce selections. "I expected a better story from you."

"Yeah, the related story about school's star quarterback being sidelined for the rest of the season with a fractured wrist is WAY more interesting. It was naaaaast—"

"Stop." Krysta put her finger over Alicia's mouth. "Whitley, what about you?"

"I mean, the easy choice would be my NU coaching interview. But since I technically was already hired, I'm gonna go with the video rental store in high school."

"They still had video stores when you were in high school?" Krysta said, dabbing peanut sauce off of her cleavage.

"It was a vintage rental place. They've been around forever and have a HUGE selection of indie and classic stuff you can't find anywhere else. Super trendy, even back then."

"You wanted to work there?"

"No, my sister the movie junkie did. I was just there to pick her up. The owner flagged me and offered me the job without an interview, even though I told him my schedule was busy with volleyball."

"Why you?"

"He was straight with me and said having a 'cool, super tall girl' behind the counter would be good for buzz."

Krysta scowled. "At least he was honest. You turned him down, I assume."

"Hell no! Working at a video store is a stoner's dream job. I got free rentals and my choice of schedule as long as I was in at least ten hours a week. They even paid for my bus pass. Bonus: my sister swore to hate me more than she already did—a weekly vow of hers by that point."

Krysta chuckled. "Sounds like a win all around."

"Until it wasn't. He eventually got fired and sued for hiring discrimination and I quit because the new owner wasn't as cool. Said I either got to pick my hours or come to work high, but not both. Wasn't worth it." Whitley frowned. "Doesn't beat the dude getting a bloody nose, though."

Alicia sighed. "Agreed."

Krysta sipped her tea, gently pumping her fist. "Looks like you two are paying for my dinner."

"Well, it was worth a try," Whitley said, flagging their server. "Hey, Diane, can I get six more honey BBQ wings, and close it out?"

"And I will have a bacon mac & cheese, to go." Krysta patted her breast, offering Whitley a naughty smirk. "Winter weight plays well for the fans."

"You’re evil."