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Greek-American Stories: Now Hiring – or Not!

“You’ll never guess the news!” George reported to the others seated around the table at Dixon’s that hot Sunday. The all looked up at him expecting to hear something really interesting. And, it was! “Areti phoned my wife to tell her that Yiannis is looking for a job.” The silence around the table was deafening. “Our Yiannis?” said John, breaking the silence. “None other, I swear!” George raised up his right hand. Dimos, looking doubtful, said, “Something doesn’t sound right here, George. Maybe, she meant he’s working somewhere around the house. That’s a job, too!” Shaking his head, George said that Areti was behind it. “She ordered him to go out and look for a job.” Looking up, Kipreos announced, “well, here he comes! Now, we’ll hear it from the…ahhh.”

“Jackass’s mouth?” offered George, laughing. Kipreos shook his head. “No! I meant, from the source.” With a nod to them all, collectively, Yiannis seated himself, coffee in hand. “What’s new, Yiannis?” asked John, expectantly. Shrugging, he responded, “nothing much.”  Breaking the suspense, George said, “how’s the job search going?” Yiannis looked up. “Oh, that!” Might as well get some help from them since it’s been broadcasted, he thought.

“Well, it’s this way.” He took out a folded paper from his vest pocket. “Areti wants me to get a job. So, I went to a couple of places and got an application from one of them.” He passed it around. Dimos took it and looked it over, carefully. Then, suppressing a laugh, he said, “well, Yiannis, you really should revise the answers to some of the questions here.” Yiannis wrinkled his brows. “What? I thought I answered all the questions truthfully. Which question do you mean?” Dimos pointed out a line. “For instance, here it asks, why you want this job? And, you wrote, ‘because my wife wants me to get a job.’ I don’t think that’s an appropriate response.” Going further down the list, he read, “here it asks Pay Expected. You wrote, ‘Yes’.”  Spreading out his hands, Yiannis said, “well, I won’t work for nothing, you know.” At the bottom of the application was written Areti’s name. “Yiannis, you have here Areti’s name. when it doesn’t ask for it.” Looking to where Dimos was pointing, he explained. “Oh, that. Well, it asks for my maiden name. I sure don’t have one. Then, I thought, the only maiden I know is my wife, Areti, not counting Barbara.” Shaking his head, Dimos told him not to expect being accepted for the job. Out of curiosity, he asked, “what kind of job was it?” Leaning back in his seat, Yiannis told him, “CEO of the bank where I have my money in.” Suppressing a laugh, John said, “don’t you think you’re getting ahead of yourself, Yiannis? I mean, that’s a job someone works years before getting.” “I know! I explained, ‘Look! I’ve got money here. Been depositing for a long time now. Years, to be accurate. I want to be near it, watch it. I could be trusted. Hey! I was always around money. Even with my first job in Greece.” Pausing, he leaned back in his seat, his expression calm. “He was very nice, asking me things – like what I did when I was a younger man. I told him in my village of Marousanakislaki, I helped a tavern owner making coffees and bringing sweets to sell. My mother made the best sweets. That’s when he asked me what my job there was. I told him I worked the cash register.”

Grinning, John asked, “was he impressed?” Yiannis shrugged. “He must have been. He got up, told me the interview was over. Then, he escorted me to the door, personally – said, he’d let me know.”

“Did he say when?” asked Kipreos. Stirring his coffee and reaching out for the second donut, Yiannis responded, “that’s’ what I asked him. Well, I didn’t understand his reply. But, I figured he must be a farmer besides working in the bank.” No one understood that conclusion, so, John asked, “the bank interviewer is a farmer? How do you know that?” Waving out his hands, Yiannis said, “Simple! He told me he’d let me know about the job when the cows come home.”

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