When a Maenad…

by Allison Floyd

This is part three. Read the suite from the beginning.

When a Maenad Goes on a Job Interview

            Her eye contact will be fierce and unrelenting, and her firm handshake will border on violence. There will be moss and bark stuck to her suit and a moth in her hair. Something about her will seem familiar.

She’ll answer each interview question with, “Well, I always ask myself—what would Dionysus do? And then I try to do that.”

She will account for gaps in employment with tales of sabbaticals spent running wild in the forest, howling at the moon, and communing with other wild things.

            “I’d rather have gaps in my employment than in my lived experience,” she’ll tell you. 

            Trust fund, you’ll think.

The way she looks at you will make you feel like she can see the gap inside of you, your plastered-on lacuna smile, your empty eyes, the vacant stock responses that roll off your tongue like rabbit pellets. You perfected your persona long ago.

            “Do you mind if I smoke?” she’ll ask you, and it will be a rhetorical question.

            Of course you mind if she smokes. No one can smoke indoors in this day and age. Everyone knows that.

            Undaunted, she’ll take out a hand-rolled cigarette and light up. Fragrant, herbal smoke will fill the room while you sit there, speechless, unable to believe this is happening. She will of course set off the fire alarm, activating the ceiling sprinklers, soaking you, her, and the rest of the hiring committee.

            Your maenad will cackle with shrieks of wild glee, jump up on the conference room table and dance a crazy rain dance, arms outstretched, embracing the steady spray of water.

            You’ll reach under the table and press the panic button, the one that summons the police.

            She is so not getting this job, you’ll think.

            And you know she won’t care, because she’s already doing exactly what she needs to be. What she was put here to do.

            You will feel a creeping jealousy in spite of yourself.

            Why can’t that be me? You’ll think.

            And spend the rest of the day, and your life, doing what you’re supposed to.

            Later, in the restroom, you’ll pick a moth from your hair. It will make you wonder.

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