All In

Open doors and name plates zoomed by in a blur, thank Gods the corridor was clear. Caleb swung wide to his right to better corner the turn. So hard to find purchase. 

He arrived at  Print Room #1 faster than anyone else could have, and yet he still felt slow. He checked the printer but there was nothing there. He didn’t find what he was looking for in the recycling bin either. Someone beat him to it. Someone that had to have been here already. A Southy. 

Southies were office mates with the southern view, which was also the best view. Those who sold got a great view. Those who didn’t sell sat near Caleb.

Caleb walked out of Print Room #1 and rounded the corner to the Southies end of the floor. He scanned the tops of their cubicles, and the open offices of the ‘top dogs’ that got to sit in glass rooms. Top dogs. What bullshit. 

To his left Carol and Mike’s heads were bent in hushed conversation. I hope it not these two. Carol noticed Caleb staring and waived him over. They both had the look of kids with a secret.

They wanted to be asked, but Caleb never did that. “Oh fine” scolded Mike, “we’ll tell you. Martha is sleeping with Amanda” he said. Carol erupted in gossipy glee, “but Donavon doesn’t know.” Twiddle Dee and Twiddle Dumb shared their sentences, much as they shared a brain. “He doesn’t even know she’s gay”, Mike said. “She’s bi, not gay, you should the difference”, said Carol. “Oh please, I’ve known what gay is since first grade, okay?”,  Mike said with a snap. Carol applauded him. She was like his Familiar, or perhaps he was hers. They lost interest in telling Caleb the story. He was like a vegan in a meat locker when it came to appreciating gossip. They don’t have it.Thank Gods. Carol and Mike walked away in search of a better audience.

Time to say some hello’s. I’ll know who has it when they see me. 

Fifteen cubicles and three in the glass cages. One of them has it. I need to find my papers before five pm or I’m dead.  Caleb checked all the cubicles first. Its not any of them. Its one of the ‘top dogs’. Perfect. 

The second door belonged to Tom Meyer. Caleb knew right away it was him. He could smell the fear on him, alhough Tom was smooth. His face belied a calmness. This guy could go all in with a 2-3 unsuited and make you think he had a full house. Still. The stink never lies. 

“Did you find anything belonging to me in Print Room #1?”, Caleb asked.

Tom tried hiding behind arrogance. “I don’t go to the print room Caleb. I send the cubicle losers for that shit”.

This guy only knows how to play hard ball. Caleb reached out his hand for a shake and said sorry. Tom took the gesture as a sign of weakness, he squeezed Caleb’s hand to show his strength. This one might be  good addition actually, thought Caleb.

He barley flexed his pinky and Tom’s wrist ran red. “What the fuck” dropped out of Tom’s mouth as his arm flew up. “You cut me. You fucking animal”.

“Yes”, Caleb agreed, “and now you’re one too”. Tom’s humanity was draining from his eyes, it left him speechless.

“The next full moon is tonight. You come home with me and I’ll help you get ready. In the meantime you need to file registration papers before five o’clock or the Catchers will hunt you down. Now give me my paper so I can file mine”

Caleb’s registration papers lay under some files on Tom’s desk, he handed them to Caleb. Still unable to talk.

“File your papers Tom. I don’t want the Catchers chasing me all night”, Caleb warned. Tom’s acknowledgment was barley perceptible, but he understood.  “You’re part of the pack now Tom. Although you’re at the back of the pack now. No more top dog for you”. He wasn’t top dog anymore. Tom instantly hated the phrase, just as Caleb always had. Caleb walked out, leaving Tom to think about his new life.

Once Caleb was safely out of site a smile cracked Tom’s lips. He had gone all in with 2-3 unsuited and won the biggest pot of all. Back of the pack is just fine. For now. 

Jimmie G.

Day 4 of the Writer’s Digest: Writing Prompt Boot Camp.

Sent to the Wrong Printer

You’re at work and you print something personal (and sensitive). Unfortunately, you’ve sent it to the wrong printer and, by the time you realize it, somebody else has already scooped it up.

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