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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The Day Before Pay Day, or Cheating Your Way to the Top.

It is the last day before payday, and things always get a little weird. Even in the fast paced world of high stakes, life altering, history making research people live from check to check. And on the last day caution is the best defense.

I packed a lunch that I could keep in the bottom drawer of my desk, in a box labeled "Beware, Toxic Waste." It had a peanut butter sandwich, a small bag of Parmesan flavored chips, an apple and a thermos of iced coffee, extra cream and sugar, with just a dash of chocolate, man I was looking forward to that. It was safe and secure, away from the starving masses roaming the aisles between the banks of cubicles, asking for scraps.

Some people used to make the mistake of leaving their lunch hanging on the hook that was attached to the back wall of the cubicle. The company, in a generous nod to Christmas had them installed for coats, purses, backpacks, even fanny packs back when they were popular. One day, though, a pack of on site sales people went into a murderous rage over a dented can of chicken tortilla soup that had been hanging in a plastic grocery bag. We had to evacuate the building and replace the microwave oven.

At one people were offering to pay the security personnel, after pay day, to stand guard over the refrigerator, keeping their lunch safe from starving coworkers, excessive bacterial growth, and the overwhelming urge to eat it while sitting at their desk. But, the security people started eating all of the stuff they wanted and bartering the rest for vacation days, comfortable office chairs and parking privileges. Eventually we turned security over to automatons. They don't really work well, but they seem to be incorruptible, so far, and food is safe around them.

Lunch time rolled around and I went to the kitchen/break room. As I rounded the corner there were two members of the accounting department dressed in dirty overalls, straw stuck out of their hair, greasy hats, tilted forward in a way that suggested a complete disregard for societal standards. One of them (Amy) had a cigarette behind her ear, the other (Cassie) a wooden kitchen match. They were holding signs.

"Oh, come on, that will never work." I said. "Nobody is going to give you their lunch to help them cheat on their taxes."

Cassie looked at me and burped. "I am stuffed, just finished a whole pizza, and a chocolate ice cream cone."

"Yeah, and we just got promoted, so this will be our last lunch in the loser's kitchen. Loser." Amy added.

"One of the executives came down and we got all of the servants on his private island added as dependents, he is going to save a bundle." Cassie said, and they gave each a high five. And opened a bottle of beer.

"Congratulations, I am glad to see you moving up," I said. They always hogged the espresso machine anyway.