Okay, so, yeah, the house is definitely kooky and weird, and half of the so-called collection isn’t real, but there’s supposedly some Golden Age Hollywood memorabilia housed inside. And, hey, working here has got to be way better than filing court documents.
A row of hedges hides the employee lot tucked behind one of the mansion’s wings. I manage to park Baby in a space near another scooter without wrecking anything—go me!—and then pop the center stand and run a chain lock through the back tire to secure it. My helmet squeezes inside the bin under the locking seat; I’m good to go.
I didn’t know what was considered an appropriate outfit for orientation, so I’m wearing a vintage 1950s sundress with a light cardigan over it. My Lana Turner pin curls seem to have survived the ride, and my makeup’s still good. However, when I see a couple of other people walking in a side door wearing flip-flops and shorts, I feel completely overdressed. But it’s too late now, so I follow them inside.
This looks to be a back hallway with offices and a break room. A bored woman sits behind a podium inside the door. The people I followed inside are nowhere to be seen, but another girl is stopped at the podium.
“Name?” the bored woman asks.
The girl is petite, about my age, with dark brown skin and cropped black hair. She’s also overdressed like me, so I feel a little better. “Grace Achebe,” she says in the tiniest, high-pitched voice I’ve ever heard in my life. She’s got a strong English accent. Her tone is so soft, the woman behind the podium makes her repeat her name. Twice.
She finally gets checked off the list and handed a file folder of new-hire paperwork before being instructed to enter the break room. I get the same treatment when it’s my turn. Looks to be twenty or more people filling out paperwork already. Since there aren’t any empty tables, I sit at Grace’s.
She whispers, “You haven’t worked here before either?”
“No. I’m new,” I say, and then add, “in town.”
She glances at my file. “Oh. We’re the same age. Brightsea or Oakdale? Or private?”
It takes me a second to realize what she means. “I’ll start at Brightsea in the fall.”
“Twins,” she says with a big smile, pointing to the education line on her application. After another new hire passes by, she shares more information about this place. “They hire, like, twenty-five people every summer. I’ve heard it’s boring but easy. Better than cleaning up pink cotton candy puke at the boardwalk.”
Can’t argue with that. I’ve already filled out the main application online, but they’ve given us a handbook and a bunch of other weird forms to sign. Confidentiality agreements. Random drug-testing permission. Pledges not to use the museum Wi-Fi to view weird porn. Warnings about stealing uniforms.
Grace is as befuddled as I am.
“Competing business?” she murmurs, looking at something we have to sign, promising not to take a similar job within sixty miles of Coronado Cove for three months after ending employment here. “What do they consider a similar job? Is this even legal?”