She stepped into the nearly vacant room. Inside the studio were two men who sat behind an oak desk with a tripod propped up on top of it. The camera atop the tripod was pointed toward a green sheet held up with some wire and clothes pins. Joy looked down at herself. She was dressed in blue jeans, worn at the knees and cuffs; a blue, plaid, button-up shirt (her favorite) which could only be buttoned across her abdomen so underneath it she wore a black wife beater with a local band scrawled across her chest. Her hair was disheveled. No make-up on her face. She had changed her mind and was about to turn around and walk out the door when the door slammed shut.
“Number 42?” one of the men called. “Number 42, why don’t you step on the x taped on the floor. Joy walked over to the front of the green sheet and placed her Converse cloaked feet on the gray duct taped "x" on the floor. One of the men reached over the table and adjusted the tripod legs, dropping the camera a couple of inches. He smiled at her. She gave the camera a cheesy, toothy grin.
“All right, number 42, why don’t we start with your name,” the other man instructed. He was a taller man with a shiny, bald head and a comforting grin.
“Uh, my name is Joy,” she squeaked.
“Could you say it a bit louder?” the first man asked. He was a bit more intimidating with his sunglasses and slicked back hair. “Louder and into the camera,” he explained. He tapped his pen against the desk.
“My name is Joy,” she said, smiling sweetly.
“Tell us about yourself. Let’s start off with the things that you like,” the bald man suggested.
“Um,” she thought out loud. Her eyes wandered around the room as she tried to think of something interesting to say. “I like to read. A lot. I like to go out but staying in can be fun too. My favorite thing to do besides reading is watch those old, sci-fi/horror, B-movies. You know the ones. The old, black and white ones with the horrible scripts and worse special effects. Um, I like to bake and sew and do all of those housewife-y things from the fifties. I like bulldogs and kittens.”
The bald man chuckled. It comforted her enough to open up a little more.
“I don’t like long walks on the beach,” she continued. “Because sand is hard to walk on. I’d rather build sandcastles and sit and watch the sunset.”
“What kind of guys do you like?” he asked.
“Um, I like nice guys. Er, gentlemen. Ones that open doors and give their girlfriends flowers for no apparent reason. You know, just cause it’s Tuesday and they like having girlfriends.” She thought a bit harder. “I like guys who go on adventures. Anything from, like, a spontaneous day trip to a planned vacation to New Zealand, or whatever.”
“You seem like a sweet girl. Why did you decide to come here?” he asked.
She stared at him through her rectangular glasses and smiled. “Because everyone could use a little extra help finding someone, right?” she stated.
He chuckled. “Indeed.”
“What do you do?” Mr. Sunglasses asked.
“I’m a writer,” she stated.
“Oh,” he seemed surprised. “Have I read any of your work?” He sat up in his chair.
She shrugged, “I don’t know. I write short stories and have some blogs up at different places.”
“Oh, so probably not,” he said, leaning back again. He started scribbling down some notes. “Is that, like, your day job?” he asked.
“Well, it doesn’t pay the bills,” she explained. “So I take up odd jobs like waitressing and the like. I have a degree in elementary education.”
“So…why aren’t you a teacher?” he inquired.
“Because that’s not where my passion lies and I would rather save the job openings for a teacher that can be more passionate about teaching and because kids need more dedicated teachers. And less teachers that just want to pay the bills and go home.”
“What kind of music do you like?” the bald man interrupted, sensing the anxiety in her voice.
“Oh, um…anything, really. I’m not picky. The only thing that I don’t like is opera.”
He scribbled down some notes. Mr. Sunglasses rolled his eyes.
“All right,” Sunglasses said as he stood up.. “Thanks for coming in. We’ll compile your footage and get back to you.” He reached over the table to shake her hand. As soon as he let go her attention was diverted to his associate.
He gently took her hand and shook it. He cleared his throat. “What kind of relationship are you looking for?” he asked.
“Right now? I’m just looking for a date. And we’ll see where it takes us.”
He smiled. “I’ll get back to you with any results that we find.”
She nodded her head. They continued to shake hands.
Sunglasses threw his hands in the air. “I’m going to lunch,” he said, walking toward the door.
“That’s how you met daddy?” Elizabeth asked her mom.
“Yeah.” Joy smiled. “He was a big jerk then. He’s always been this impatient,” she said looking over at her husband. He rolled his eyes and slipped on a pair of sunglasses.
“Come on, let’s go get lunch,” he said, kissing her on the forehead.
“What happened to the bald guy?” Elizabeth asked.
“Oh, Uncle Frankie? You know Uncle Frankie. He’s living with his boyfriend in a studio apartment in Los Angeles.”