Tiffanie Brumpton. Brump is what I go by, as in Baaarrummp.
Reason for leaving prior job?
I play the euphonium — a classy tuba — and I was the euphonist in the Horny Girls jazz sextet until one night I was late for a gig. I’d been called to a murder scene to help calm the very ruffled feathers of the dead man’s African grey parrot, a beauty named Marie Curie.
I’m well known by the police, but not for reasons cited in #3 below. It’s my ability to soothe murder victims’ animal companions (never use the word ‘pet’, it’s offensive) with the dulcet tones of my virtuosic euphonium playing that has me on the police department’s text alert system. Animal companions grieve, and euphoniums are well known for causing non-human animals to have the catharsis they need to move on with their lives.
For the police, it boils down to this: faced with a snarling hound protecting some dead guy, they need me to come in to calm the animal so they can get on with their investigation. One lieutenant was nearly shredded to pieces by an out-of- its- mind, 25-pound Siamese kitty cat (her companion had been dismembered by a deranged hobo she’d let in) and I happened to be in the neighborhood and heard the ruckus. I came in, played a few bars from Autumn Leaves, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Anyway, Zena, the Horny Girls trombonist, took it upon herself to bring in another euphonist the night I was playing a serenade for Marie Curie. Zena’s been aching to kick me out of the group for ages and grabbed the chance. Plus, it was her girlfriend who played, and not very well. But TBH, Zena envied the press I was getting for my companion-animal side job, thinking it was taking too much away from her supposedly starring role as the lead of the Hornies.
I’m better off without the sextet slowing me down. I have more important work to do.
Have you been convicted of a crime and if so, what and when?
After the incident with the parrot, I was heading out to hop onto my bicycle to get to the Tenderloin for the Horny gig when I came upon someone trying to steal my bicycle, six-foot tall hipster dude with dreads, plaid shirt, khaki shorts. I wacked him with my euphonium case and was accused of assault with a deadly weapon.
I confessed that of course I’d attempted to bludgeon the thief; he was trying to steal my primary form of transportation. The judge was impressed by my ability to wield such a heavy case with lethal force, given I’m five feet tall and 90 pounds. He asked me to demonstrate I could ride the bicycle and hold my euphonium, as proof that the bicycle was mine and not the property of the thief (as the thief claimed).
I rode through the courthouse, balancing my euphonium on the handlebars, navigating through the narrow hallways and in and out of the elevator. Case dismissed.
Do you have any restrictions on your ability to travel? If so, please explain.
No. My bike gets me anywhere I want to go. Given my work with the bereaved animal companions of murder victims, I need to be able to make my way quickly through town, even though gridlock, and sometimes to unusual locations to assist where needed with these helpless witnesses of the most disgusting crimes you can imagine.
I busk when needed to pick up spare change for a taxi to get to some outlying areas.
Do you think a manager/ boss / employer should be feared or liked? Explain your answer.
Now that I am no longer working for anyone but myself, I have no boss. I refuse to employ anyone as there is no one else qualified to do what I do and I need no one’s help to do it. I work on retainer for the police department, and whether they like or hate me matters nothing to me. All I care about are the dogs, cats, rodents, reptiles, and aquarium dwelling companions who have recently lost their beloved human companions. They seem to have no complaints whatsoever. Except as described in #6.
Can you describe a time when your work was criticized and how did you handle it? Please be honest.
There was a Pekinese, once, who didn’t seem to care much for the piece I thought was suitable for its grieving. I was stunned as Pekinese, in particular, are usually fond of Thelonious Monk.
Rather than calming it, the peke became steadily more and more agitated, spinning wildly as I played “Round Midnight”. It suddenly froze, ferocious snarl on its cute smushed up face, and a rumbling growl, all focused on someone behind me. I knew instantly what was wrong. I took one of the detectives aside, and whispered what I had learned from the peke. The peke had pointed out the identity of the killer, still in the room, who had become mesmerized by my playing. As the murderer approached, the peke was alerted, pointing out the identify of the person who’d killed his companion. An arrest was made on the spot.
That peke received a special merit for bravery, the first ever in the history of the San Francisco police department.
How would you describe your work style?
If you ask the police—who I work closely with when I am called to a crime scene to soothe the bereaved animal companions of crime victims—they’d call me pathologically aggressive. If you ask the bereaved animals, they’d have the opposite opinion. Both are correct. That’s why I try to have Bubble, my girlfriend, along with me on the job to help smooth things over with the cops. Her hours are flexible at the North Beach taffy shop where she works, thank God. And she’s a speedy unicyclist, keeps up with me, my euphonium balanced on my bicycle handlebars.
Have you ever had trouble with a boss/co-worker or customer? If so, please explain.
One time a baby goat wild with grief scrambled a steep ledge on Telegraph Hill, and the police said Bubble couldn’t come to the crime scene. They asked if she was my assistant and I gave them a tongue lashing, telling them “of course not, she’s my next of kin and my witness, you idiots!” They’ve stabbed me in the back more than once, laughing, saying, “Here comes the dyke with her horn.” Sweet Bubble puts her calming hand on my back, tosses them taffy like they’re little kids lining a parade route and that keeps their jaws busy.
How do you propose to compensate for your lack of experience?
You’ve got to be kidding me! These other finalists have nothing on me; and you better spend more time convincing me why I should take your job, versus hearing how I’d “compensate”.
You’ve read the press on me. Seen the photo spread in National Geographic. Watched the PBS special where I was scaling El Capitan (we were helicoptered in, that time)—my euphonium slung over my back—to bring a peregrine out of its woes and home to a Russian Hill aviary. Bubble was right by my side, singing the lyrics to Dave Frishberg’s “My Attorney Bernie” that time. Falcons love a comic jazz tune.
I’ve had many experiences that not only qualify me for your “position” but also qualify me for other roles, more prestigious than your gig.
I’ve even considered running for Governor of California; I’d been wooed by all the major parties. Even the Communists wanted me on their ticket. But Bubble wouldn’t hear of it, and I acquiesced to my woman’s desires. So Bubble will need convincing, too. Don’t be fooled by her sweet exterior or her taffy—she’s a force to be reckoned with, the woman behind the woman, Tiffanie Brumpton, a.k.a., Brump.
What are your strengths? Weaknesses? Go into detail.
Brump doesn’t care for interview mind games. You’re not really listening to my answers, you haven’t been all along, or you’d know not to ask. So I’m not repeating myself – you’re clearly clueless – except to say that my main strength and weakness are one and the same. A classic applicant response, right? Show how your weakness is actually a strength? A fierce wolf in passive sheep’s clothing?
In my case it’s actually true. It’s Bubble, my girlfriend, who is both. And a wolf is involved. Bubble had a companion wolf, snow white with gorgeous green eyes. Willa was her name. Willa was elegant, though rangy, as wolves can be, and Bubble was always seen leading Willa around town, with not so much as a leash or collar. Willa was completely harmless under Bubble’s spell, like nearly everyone who met her.
One day they were in Haight-Ashbury and witnesses say a sunburnt, middle-aged tourist freaked out at the sight of a wolf on the streets of San Francisco. Her companion, a stubble-faced fat guy in sweats, pulled out his concealed carry. Willa reared up to protect Bubble.
A single shot went through both their hearts. The couple fled the scene and have never been found.
Yes. Bubble’s been gone five years now.
That’s why the police are unnerved when they see me coming to a job. They hear me talking with Bubble, introducing her, carrying on as if she was there in the flesh. I know she’s physically gone, but she’s very much with me, every moment of every day. Some might call it a weakness that I’m haunted by a ghost accompanied by a phantom wolf.
In my unending grief, it’s Bubble’s spirit that gives me the strength to bear her loss, to go on.
Winner of WANTED 25