‘Is this thing working?’ He tapped
the microphone. ‘Can you hear me at the back?’
Nods from the small group assembled in the hall.
‘Great. Welcome to the first meeting of Job Seekers’ Club. My name is B.
B. and I’m going to take you through your “Journey to Jobs”.’
He pressed a button and ‘Journey to Jobs’ was displayed on the projector
screen behind him, with pictures of smiling people doing different jobs.
‘For many of you, the journey has been difficult. People like us have had
to work harder to achieve normal things. Many of you feel you’ve been treated
A green warty hand flew up in the audience.
‘Yes, do you have something you feel you’d like to share? Stand up and introduce
A humpbacked oafish individual rose from his chair.
‘Hello, I’m Barry. You probably know me as “The Troll Under the Bridge”
or “The Grumpy Troll” from the billy goat incident.’
A few people in the crowd nodded.
‘Well, I just wanted to say how unfair it is that, because of one thing
that happened a long time ago, I’m labelled for the rest of my life. I’m not
always grumpy. I was only grumpy that day because those goats started
trip-trapping at six in the morning. Don’t try to tell me that’s normal
The troll looked grumpy for a moment, then realised he wasn’t helping his
case and rearranged his features into a crooked smile.
‘It just really bothers me because no one forgets it. I went for a job
interview on Tuesday – I wore my best loincloth and everything – but it’s
always the same, no one gives you a chance. When I called later for feedback
the manager said he found it “disconcerting” that I sat under the desk and
leapt out to answer questions. Everyone has bad habits. I can’t help it if I’m
more comfortable under things.’
A witch sitting next to the troll reached up and gave him a comforting
pat on the hump.
‘Thank you for sharing that experience Barry.’ B. B. took over on stage.
‘At least you tried your best. Another step forward in your “Journey to Jobs”.’
He gave a wide toothy grin. ‘Let’s look at what we could do differently next
time. Could I have a volunteer?’
A few hands went up in the crowd.
‘You, in the second row, small well-dressed goblin-type man – up you come.
Give him a big clap everyone.’
A knobbly, toady little man hobbled onto the stage.
‘Now, we are going to role-play a job interview. I am pleased to see that
you are smartly dressed – first impressions count. If you would like to take
the chair opposite me, we can begin.’
‘Welcome, my good man,’ said B. B. in his role as interviewer, ‘I see
that you are interested in becoming a sales representative for our company.
What is your name?’
The knobbly goblin said nothing.
B. B. cleared his throat, ‘What is your name please?’
The knobbly goblin crossed his arms in defiance.
‘How can we conduct this interview if you won’t answer the first
question?’ B. B. was becoming irritated. ‘Are you nervous?’
The goblin shook his head.
‘Then what is your name please, sir?’ B. B. asked again.
‘I’m not telling you!’ shouted the goblin. ‘You have to guess. And while
you’re thinking about it you can sit in a tower and spin straw into gold for
B. B. rolled his eyes. How did he always manage to pick the odd ones?
‘Okay, Rumpelstiltskin, I think you have a few issues to work on before
you’re ready for your first interview. I’m holding a class next week “The
Journey Before the Journey to Jobs”. I’d suggest that you sign up.’ He helped
the goblin off the stage.
‘Would anyone else like to volunteer?’
A long slender arm stretched up through the crowd. The arm was covered in
black lace and ended in sharp, pointed fingernails.
B. B. gulped. ‘Would anyone else like to volunteer?’ he asked hopefully.
No one else put up their hand.
‘Very well, up you come.’
An impossibly thin woman, dressed all in black, rose slowly from her seat
and began to glide in the direction of the stage.
B. B. shuddered. ‘Hello,’ he said nervously, shaking the woman’s brittle
hand. ‘We’re now going to role-play the first day of your new job. Let’s
pretend it’s your first day as cashier in a fast food restaurant. What is your
name?’ B. B. asked nervously.
‘Ah, that leads me to a great employment tip. Sometimes it’s better on
your “Journey to Jobs” to not give your actual name. I changed mine to my
initials, B. B. – you could change yours to, erm, Evelyn. Evelyn Queen. Let’s
try again. What’s your name please?’
‘Evelyn,’ the Evil Queen spat nastily.
‘Great, nice to meet you. Today, Evelyn, you will be taking orders and
giving out meals. As you will be serving food, you are required to wear this
little blue hairnet.’
The Evil Queen glowered at B. B. She plopped the net on top of her thorny
‘Great. Now, I’ll pretend to be the customer. I’ve just received my order
but my burger’s cold and I’ve brought it back to complain. Let’s see how you
go.’ B. B. cleared his throat, ‘Excuse me, miss, I bit into the burger you
served me and it’s still frozen in the middle.’
The Evil Queen narrowed her eyes and stared at B. B.
‘What have you got to say for your poor service?’
The Evil Queen reached inside her robe and pulled out her wand.
B. B. nervously continued,
‘Apologise at once or I shall complain to your manag—’
The Evil Queen pointed her wand at B. B.’s head and shot out a lightning
bolt. He leapt out of the way quickly, narrowly avoiding it singeing his ear.
‘It’s early days. It’s normal to make mistakes on the first day. Try to
learn from them and do things differently next time. Too many errors can lead
to negative customer feedback.’
The Evil Queen took a small pocket mirror from her gown. ‘Mirror mirror
in my hand, who’s the best worker in the land?’ She snarled at B. B., ‘If
anyone beats me I’ll have their head!’
B. B. grabbed the mirror and snapped it shut before it could reply.
‘Obviously you are the best worker in the land, my dear Queen. Let’s give her a
big round of applause everyone. Thank you for role-playing the perfect first day.’
He helped the Queen down from the stage.
‘Before we finish today’s meeting, I’d like to share one of our success
stories. The lady who is about to join me on stage has completed her “Journey
to Jobs” and has been running her own business for almost two years. Let’s give
a big welcome to the Wicked Witch.’
A funky lady dressed in a black tracksuit with several oversized
necklaces and a backwards baseball cap danced onto the stage.
‘My name is Witch, I can help you Stitch, I’ll clean your Ditch, it’ll
make me Rich!’ she rapped.
B. B. danced along enthusiastically. ‘Great to meet you again “Wicked”
Witch,’ he laughed. ‘Tell us a bit about your business.’
‘I used all the stories about me in a positive way. I’m a great cook –
look at the entire house I baked. I keep the place clean – I carry a broom
wherever I go. I can deal with fussy eaters – Hansel’s weight doubled while he
lived with me.’
There were cheers of appreciation from the crowd.
‘I’m now the highest paid nanny in the kingdom! And I have B. B. to thank
for putting me on the right path and starting my “Journey to Jobs”.’
The crowd rose from their chairs and clapped and whooped in a standing
‘Thank you all for coming. See you at the next Job Seekers’ Club.’
The crowd collected their belongings and began to leave.
B. B. turned off the projector. He began to stack chairs.
There was a knock at the door.
‘Come in,’ he shouted without turning around. ‘You’re too late for the
session, I’m afraid.’
‘No, it’s not that. I own the bakery next door. I had these cakes left
over and I thought I’d hand them out to your crowd – get some free advertising.
But I see everyone’s already left …’
B. B. turned around. A young woman stood in the doorway wearing a hooded red sweater.
The sweater said ‘Cathy’s Cakes’ in white letters.
‘I’ll just take them down to the old folks in the retirement village
instead,’ the woman continued.
‘Why don’t I help you,’ B.
B. offered. ‘I’m finished here, I’ll carry
‘That’s awfully kind of you. I’m Cathy,’ she laughed, pointing at her
sweater. ‘What’s your name?’
‘Mr Wolf, but my friends call me B. B.’
‘That’s unusual. What does B. B. stand for?’
‘I’ll explain while we walk. It looks like it might rain. Maybe you
should put your hood up.’