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Thank You For Your Interest, “Rosa Patton”

~ By Bo Gembarsky

Like many people, I’m looking for work ~ ideally as a writer, since I have been doing that both professionally and personally for most of my life. Like many people, I have an account on LinkedIn. Also like many people, I prefer to think I can recognize scams when I see them.

In fact, I’m even more careful these days after a good friend of mine sent $6,000 to someone who did a good job convincing my friend that he was a relative and needed money for an emergency. Since that incident, I realized anyone can fall victim to frauds, so I’m on my guard.

Then this note showed up in my LinkedIn mail:

rosa-patton-letter

“Rosa” seems to be unaware that I have a name. That was the first red flag: if you’re going to send an email to someone, you should take a moment to personalize it, if for no other reason than it would instill an immediate familiarity and trust. So I took a look at her LinkedIn profile.

rosa-patton-profile-01

This person has been with “Elite Resumes Alliance Canada” for almost three years, yet her profile indicates she has only one “connection” and no one has recommended her for any of the skills listed, including “resume writing.” That was the next red flag: if you’re prospecting for clients in such a way, you should have some people endorsing your skill set. You should also have some testimonials from clients as to the quality of your service. After all, if you’ve been with this place for that long, someone must know who you are and how good you are.

It would also help if you and your business had a presence on Google. Quick searches revealed nothing about “Elite Resumes Alliance Canada” (other than the connection to this person) nor “Rosa Patton” (other than her LinkedIn profile).

Since her profile contained a picture, I did two things next: I Googled “Rosa Patton” and clicked on “Images” to see if her professional-looking visage was there. Among the first several hundred images I saw, none looked remotely similar… yet another red flag. Then I uploaded the headshot of “Rosa” into Google Image Search. Here is what I found…

rosa-patton-kerry-west

Hey, she looks rather familiar. However, a search of LinkedIn for “Kerry West” found no one with that profile picture listed. Shocking, I know.

If that wasn’t enough to arouse suspicion, here is the rest of the LinkedIn profile “Rosa” posted…

rosa-patton-profile-02

She indicated that she came across my profile “as we share a few linkedin groups.” Yet her profile shows she is a member of only two: “Jobs in Canada (Citizens and Future Citizens)” and “Marketing, Sales & Business Development Jobs Network (a subgroup of Global Jobs Network).”

I belong to neither of those groups.

And her interests are… Cricket? Polo? Really?! Well, I guess that reinforces that fancy “bachelor of science” from Bishop’s. Very impressive… except that she identifies her degree as “BS” instead of the proper “B.Sc.”

Then I clicked on the footer note LinkedIn includes with these emails.

LinkedIn security footer message

I have forwarded the email as requested: so far, no response of any sort from LinkedIn. Then I Googled “resumes-canada.org” which was the site listed in the return email link contained in the original email.

resumes-canada.org

OK, so they have a website with testimonials. One thing that site does not have (as of this writing) is an “About Us” section where I could have confirmed that “Rosa Patton” is a “real” person. Even if there was such a section, I had already encountered enough dubious information to pique my suspicion.

Finally, I found this list of tips from careerprocanada.ca…

careerprocanada.ca-tips-on-finding-resume-writing-firmsYeah… it wasn’t even a good try. I would like to believe that someone with an actual B.Sc could come up with better BS than this ham-handed attempt. So thanks anyway and good luck in your future endeavours, “Rosa.”

dear dope

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Monster In The Dryer: The Conclusion

This is the final part of a short-short story I wrote in response to my author friend Edward Lorn’s request for a story about a “monster in a dryer.” It is a first draft and I am in the process of rewriting and expanding it.

Here is the link to the first part, which opens in a new window…

“Monster In The Dryer (Part 1)”

Have you read Part 1? If so, you’re good to go. If not, please read it before continuing here.

And now… the conclusion.

—————

“LET ME OUT! LET. ME. OUUUUT!” she howled as she banged on the door and the sides of the dryer with her fists and feet. She kicked at the glass front, hoping to break it or burst the door open, but she kept losing her balance as the chamber continued to rotate and heat up. Her screams pealed out, but it was no use. Co clanked around in the dryer; over and over she went. The more she spun, the dizzier she became. Her screams started to dwindle and she groaned as her head continually hit the sides of the large cylinder, making her even more dazed. She felt herself losing consciousness…

When she regained her senses, Co was still spinning — but now it seemed to her that she had somehow become smaller. The clothes trapped with her had grown larger… or was the heat affecting her? She ached horribly: the jutting arms which usually served to tumble the clothes had bashed her body repeatedly, and blood trickled from her head and nose. Tossed around in her clothing, it was almost as though they were beginning to wear her.

As the spinning action continued and the intense heat persisted, it created a vortex which swept her up and pinned her against a grate — the dryer’s lint trap. Now Co had become ensnared in the microscopic particles which had loosened from the clothes. She clutched the hot metal mesh of the trap and hung on for her life, too weak now to attempt to escape.

Through the maelstrom, Co thought she heard something — a growl? — and turned to see a grotesque multicolored bolus of fibers on the grate.

“WHOOOOO ARE YOOOOOU? WHAT ARE YOOOOU DOING HEEEEERE?!”

She shrieked, but in the dryness it came out as a hoarse croak. The mound of threads and lint shifted towards Co and enveloped her within its mass. It wheezed: “IIIIIIII’M THE ONE WHO BELONGS HEEEEERE! YOU’RRRRRE IN THE WROOOOONG PLACE!”

She could feel the threads of the thing entering her bloodied mouth and nostrils. Co loosened the grip of one hand from the grate and clawed at the beast, trying to pull it from her face. The bolus grunted and roared as it fought back, using the spinning of the dryer to hold it in place. With a desperate surge of strength, she ripped the thing from her and cast it into the clothes.

But it was not done yet. The vortex hurled the mound back at her, landing on her cheek and fusing with the blood on her face. It grunted as it moved to suffocate her. Through her pain and dizziness, she sensed she had to finish the thing or it would finish her. She grabbed the monster and ripped it from her head but this time she held onto it, trying to squeeze it into submission.

Click!

Co breathed rapidly and deeply, and slowly realized she was no longer moving… nor was the clump. Her tears mixed with the blood still streaming from her head, she opened her hand and saw the ragged mass in her grasp. She felt her perception slipping away once more as the pain made everything turn black.

—————

“Nicole? … Nicole? Can you hear me?”

Co’s eyes slowly blinked open and she startled awake, but felt hands holding her onto the gurney. She was not encased in lint or fibers — only gauze and bandages.

“She’s coming around, nurse. Sedative, please.”

In the hallway outside, a police officer took notes. “Tell me how you found her.”

“I knew Co — I mean, Nicole — was supposed to be at home when I came over with my son Frankie,” Laura said. “I got worried when she didn’t answer the door buzzer. I have a spare set of keys and I let myself into the building. When I walked into her apartment I found her son crying, and I asked him where she was. Wyatt said she was doing laundry. I went downstairs and found her on the floor of the laundry room unconscious and bloody. Oh God, is she going to be OK?!”

“I don’t know, ma’am,” the officer replied. “The doctors are taking care of her. I’ll go in and find out. Please go and have a seat.”

“But I have to go in there! She needs me!”

The officer blocked Laura’s path to the triage area. “Ma’am, I’ll go in and find out… please wait over there, and I’ll you know as soon as possible.”

Despite her apprehension, Laura took Frankie and went to the waiting area and found seats. They walked right by a man who was sitting and reading a book. He had a crooked nose, which matched the crooked grin on his face.

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Monster In the Dryer (Part 1)

This is the first part of a short-short story I wrote in response to a challenge issued by my author friend Edward Lorn, who asked if anyone had heard of a tale based on the phrase “monster in the dryer.” It’s a first draft and I’m in the process of rewriting and expanding the story, but I thought I’d post this anyway just because I can. ~ Bo

—————

Monday. A day off for Nicole, the only one in her week. Nicole can’t relax on Mondays, though, because it means cleanup, washing, buying groceries, prepping meals for the week and chasing after Wyatt. Waking up with a throbbing head after a late night at work, Co climbed out of bed and stepped on one of his trucks. Pain shot through her leg as she wrenched an ankle. Damn Monday.

Limping into the bathroom, Co reached for the extra-strength gelcaps and swallowed a couple, hoping they would kick in soon. She taped up her strained ankle, then looked in the mirror. Good thing I’m not applying for jobs today, she thought. Co doused her face and scrubbed off the makeup she should have removed when she got home the night before. Coffee has to be next.

Sitting at the kitchen table with her cup of black joe and two pieces of toast, Co tried to ignore, at least for a few minutes, the piles of clothes and toys scattered in her sparse apartment. She stared out of the window onto the grimy street below, where a line of stopped cars began honking at each other. Oh God, shut them up! Eventually the acetaminophen, the java and the toast combined to give her some energy to start moving the mountains of clothing.

Wyatt never lacks for energy. While mom sorted through the piles, son pressed down and pushed a tiny fire truck into the threadbare carpet crisscrossed with wheel imprints.

“WEER WEER WEER ERRRRRGH WEER WEER WEER!”

“Wyatt…”

“WEER WEER WEER HONNNNNNNNK WEER WEER WEER ERRRRRRGH!”

“WYATT!”

“WOO WOOOOOOOOO! WAH-WAH-WAH WAAAAAAH!”

“THAT’S ENOUGH! PLEASE DO THAT QUIETLY!”

“Weer weer woooooooo errrgh wah-wah-wah…”

Co breathed a deep sigh. She loves her son, but there’s a reason he’s known as “Wyatt Riot.” At least she got through to him this time… if only for a few moments. Usually it’s a battle just to get him to sit still at meals; when he’s playing, he’s even deeper in his own world. She pocketed some change for the machines, grabbed the soap and put the bottle down on top of the heaving basket.

“Wyatt, be a good boy while mommy does the laundry. I’ll be right back, OK?”

No reply. Wyatt was too busy putting out an imaginary fire at the other end of the room. At least relief will come along soon when Laura brings her boy, Frankie, and they can play together while Co can get the shopping done. Later on, Co will do the same for Laura as she attends to her errands. Picking up the basket, she locked the door behind her and hobbled to the elevator.

As plain as her own apartment is, it’s a paradise compared to the dingy laundry room. Blinking fluorescent lights and cracked, dirty tiles led the way to the industrial-sized washing machines, olive-drab and bashed up after years of use and abuse. Co hoisted the basket onto a long table and began throwing armfuls of whites and colors into separate washers. She has company today: a guy is sitting and reading a book while his own wash agitates and spins. He looked up and grinned at Co; she returned a weak half-smile as she finished loading.

Slam went the doors, soap poured into the slots, change placed and slid with a ka-chunk into the void. A couple of button presses launched the machines into action as they filled with water, then began their cycles. Co sat down and exhaled another heavy sigh.

“Laundry day, huh?”

Co didn’t notice: her mind was far away. “Where am I going to find another job?” She really counted on working at the Hobby Mart to help pay for the special pre-school classes Wyatt needs, but they closed their doors last week without warning. Part-time waitressing at Fat Jimmy’s restaurant just wouldn’t be enough to cover her bills.

“Yeah, laundry day is a drag, isn’t it?”

She snapped out of her thoughts and looked over. He’s trying to make small talk: oh God, shut up. “What? Oh, yeah, it sure is,” she said. He put down his book, smiled at her again and extended his hand. “I’m Evan.” She took his hand with a limp grasp. “Nicole.”

“I just moved into the building a week ago. Have you been here long?”

“A while, I guess,” she offered. It’s one thing to speak to strangers on the job, but quite another on her off-time. She can’t be too careful with people she doesn’t know.

“I just started working at the Frill-Free Foods down the street. Do you go there?”

Yes, she thought, I do. Now she had two choices: either be friendly to him, or switch stores. “Yeah, sometimes.”

“It’s a part-time thing for me. I’m actually going to school. Pharmacy.”

“Oh, yeah.” She paused. “Is Frill-Free hiring? I’m looking for work.”

“I think so… I can ask for you. What’s your number?”

She looked directly at Evan. Two- or three-day-old stubble, but not too scruffy. Black hair, green eyes. A slightly crooked nose to match his grin, which began to crease across his face again as he realized she was eyeballing him. He seems nice enough, she thought, but they all do at first.

“I don’t give my number out to people I just met,” she said. “How about if I see you at the store? I can bring my resume with me.”

His grin drooped, but only slightly. “OK, we can do that. I’ll be working later today. Come around after 4.”

Something about him seems a little off, she thinks. Then again, he could be my contact to get work. But shouldn’t he be at school on a Monday morning?

“Sure. I’ll be there later.”

“Great!”

One of the washers clicked to a halt. “That might be mine,” Evan said, walking over to the bank of machines. “I’m pretty sure Frill-Free is looking for people. Do you have any experience?” he asked while loading his clothes into a dryer.

“I worked at a hobby store, but they just shut down.”

“Well, that should be good enough. I’ll check the job board in the back when I get in, and I’ll ask around for you.”

“That would be nice. What did you say your name was?”

“Evan.”

“Thanks, Evan.”

He finished loading and picked up his book. “OK. I’ll see you at the store later, Nicole.”

“Yeah, see you there.”

Evan smiled at her one more time as he walked out.

“Wait!”

He poked his head back into the room. “What is it?”

“You said you’re in school. Is today a day off for you or something?”

“Yeah… something like that,” he grinned.

—————

As he disappeared around the corner again, Co looked up at the flickering lights and down at the worn tiles as she became lost in her thoughts once more. What’s up with that guy? What did he mean when he said “yeah… something like that?” She was suspicious, but that chat was the best job lead she’d had. He lives here and works down the street, so she would have to be civil to him — for now, anyway. Still, she couldn’t help feeling that something wasn’t right.

The washers lurched her back to reality as their spin cycles stopped. As she walked over and took a wheeled basket, her dread started to grow again. The memory of his crooked grin made her stomach quiver. “What if he’s a serial killer or something?” she thought. “What if I’m setting myself up? What if…”

Co stopped. “OK, shut up, girl. You’re just being paranoid. He was nice to you. He offered to find you work. There’s no need to freak out. He was nice to you! Just stop it!”

After catching her breath, she finished off the first dryer — big enough for someone to hide in if they wanted — stuck the change into the slots and sent it whirring. Co placed some change in the slots on the second machine, swung the door open and put some of the colored items in.

From behind, she thought she felt two rough hands seizing her and trying to shove her into the machine as she flailed in panic. “WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING?!” she screamed as she struggled. The hands managed to grab her kicking legs as she was bundled in; the door slammed shut, the change clicked in and the tumbler began to spin.

(To be continued…)

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It’s Fun To Be Dumb

“Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that.” — George Carlin

dumb-titanic

dumb-3000 years

If social media is any guide — as the above examples illustrate — there is a trend in the world towards stupidity. It’s not new: there has always been a lack of intelligence running through humanity, as the quote by comedian George Carlin implies. Because of our increased ability to connect in public, we don’t have to go far to gauge the goofiness.

For those who consider themselves to be reasonably intelligent, it’s distressingly easy to make judgments on how (and why) the tone and the level of discourse appears to be dropping. Answers to tough questions such as “What is my role in life?” and “Where do I go from here?” can be difficult to find when the public platforms of expression seem cluttered with crap.

“The best thing about the Internet is it gives everyone a platform… which is also the worst thing about the Internet.” — anonymous

Stupidity is not limited to the incurious and unthinking. None of us is perfect, and we all can fall victim to “brain farts” every once in a while. Sometimes we even get unintentional help from the very technology we depend on to live our digital lives.

dumb-cloned

In my opinion, some of it is intentional… at least, I’d like to think so. And why not? Life is full of pitfalls and reversals: might as well try to have some laughs while you can.

dumb-yeltsin

It’s far easier to be stupid — and more fun, too. YOLO. LOL. TTFN. — Bo Gembarsky


					
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My Back Pages: Conflicted Cops

In real life, police officers have a tough job to do. The public depends on them to do it well, and often heap praise on them when they do. In the media, however, usually the most compelling cops are not straight-arrow vanguards of justice but those who bend (or break) the laws they are sworn to uphold, often with dire results. This blog post written in 2010 profiles four of the most popular characters to wear a badge. — Bo

Big Eye Films blog - conflicted cops

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