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The aboveground scenery sprang into view the instant we lifted our eyes to look out the window. The rattling subway train had emerged from the tunnel as if it had been waiting for us to take our eyes off the spools of thread. Squat buildings and countless signs fanned out around us in the bright light of day like a vast collage. Rather than a single seamless image, it looked like something someone had cobbled together. We watched and waited for the train to go underground again. The taut electric line running above the train controlled our path and the subway continued on above ground. Since M and I were sitting in the last car, we could see the front of the train tightly winding the bend ahead if we craned our necks and brought our faces close to the glass. The sight really gave you the sense of being on a loop. After making two stops the train lurched ahead and the view vanished as the window became a mirror. Where the scenery had been we saw ourselves. We returned to the tangled threads. My face grew hot when I thought of how the interviewers had laughed at us. M and I had always applied for the same jobs. A big part of it had to do with the fact that we wanted to work for the same company, but you couldn't deny that we had become so inseparable that the very idea of going through the hiring process alone seemed unthinkable. We were like the two sides of the same coin or the front and back of the same person. If M disappeared I'd feel like a sheet of onion skin paper; I wouldn't even be able to stand up on my own. M probably felt the same way about me. Together, we had submitted applications to a total of 30 different companies. Our success rate to date was zero percent. We hadn't gotten a single job offer, still the thought of applying on my own had never occurred to me. We always showed up for interviews together. Some recruiters asked if we were a gay couple. Some responded by telling us they were hiring only one new employee. We would stubbornly insist to whoever was in charge that only through a joint interview would we be able to show them our true selves. There were a few companies that would not grant our request, but for the most part they just told us to do as we pleased. Our plan had been to challenge the system by trying out dynamic new approaches to interviewing. We aspired to 'rewrite the history of the job interview' but the recruiters met us with indifference. We fancied ourselves a duo with a fresh repertoire, who would capture their hearts, but in most cases the recruiters kicked us out well before our allotted time was up. We could never figure out why. Once, as we were being kicked out,

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[korean short stories]kim junghyuk, the glass shield  
[korean short stories]kim junghyuk, the glass shield  
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