Interview with a woman named Larry | Short Fiction

I'm just going to write something directly out of my head, so we'll see how it goes. -TCR

I've always liked the name Larry. It feels old without being stuffy, and there's an inherent jocularity about it. When you hear that you'll be meeting with some dude named Larry it instills in you the idea that the interaction won't be dark or heavy. When I walked into the room to meet my particular Larry, however, things didn't go as expected.

My Larry was a woman and anything but jovial.

"Sit," she said, not looking up from her tablet. I sat.

"Thanks for agreeing to meet with me," I said as I settled into the uncomfortable straight-back chair. I noted that her chair was a large, stuffed leather affair, but pushed away the envy. Without looking up, she extended her index finger in the international sign for "shut up and wait". A few moments passed and she placed the tablet on the table and looked across the table into my eyes.

"So, how long have you known Rodrigo," she asked, not blinking.

"At last fifteen years, I think. We've been good frien..."

"Just answer my questions," she interrupted. I sat there stunned.

"Just who is this Larry woman and why didn't Rod tell me about her," I thought to myself.

I shook my head clear and responded, "Fifteen years."

"Do you now or have you ever worked for the LAPD, any of its affiliates, suppliers, or any law enforcement agency, or any organization that has a contract with the LAPD?"


"Have you ever held a position in any political party organization, been elected to any seat, or appointed to any role by a government official, either within the State of California or with the Federal Government?"


"Have you ever been incarcerated? Have you ever been arrested? Are you parents still alive? Are you familiar with game theory? Do you drink liquor? Do you sleep on your side, back, or stomach?"

"No. No. My mother. Moderately. A few times a week. Stomach."

"What, then, do you do?"

"I am an industrial robot repair technician, first class."

"Will you consent to a background check?"

"Of course," I said, sensing some positive flow to this brief and weird meeting for once.

She leaned deeper into the leather padded chair and stared at me. I'm pretty sure she hadn't blinked once, but she might have blinked when I did. The odds of that happening must be astronomical. 

She reached out with her hand, curled her fingers into a fist, and rapped hard on the table three times, the sharp sound ringing loudly in the mostly empty room with no wall decorations. The door opened immediately and an old man walked in.

"There will be no need for the background check. I already ran one," She said to me. To the man she said, "Take Mr. Chalmers to HR and have him fill out the paperwork." The old man bowed deeply, backed out of the room and waited in the hallway. Surprised at how quickly the situation had pivoted, I just sat there agape.

"He'll be joining us as head of MOBot development starting today," she said to me with those unblinking eyes, and smiled.

I never wanted to see that smile again.