Is lunch the food, or the break?”

Monica had been walking past all the dark offices on the way back to her desk, but one of the dark offices wasn’t as empty as it appeared. She froze, took a step backward and peered into the open door. “Why are your lights off?”

“People work through lunch but still eat at their desk, so if lunch was the food, they didn’t actually work through it. Other people run errands on lunch and don’t eat, so they both skipped lunch and returned late from lunch at the same time. Yet another aspect of the English language that is lacking for the specific circumstances.” He paused. “And it wasn’t dark when I got here. The light left me, not the other way around.”

“Why are you still here?” Monica asked.

“I guess if we were talking about now it would be more of a dinner break, or even ‘4th meal,’ whatever that’s supposed to be. I won’t be stopping for food or break anyway so the question is more of an academic exercise.” 

“Have you noticed those academic exercises tend to come up more often the longer you go without food or a break?” Monica asked, rolling her eyes dramatically. 

“Sorry. My capacity for logic left me approximately four hours ago, so I see no connection.”

“Chris, go home.”

Chris turned towards the door in one swift movement. “I can’t Monica. I can’t. It’s not done, and it’s not going to be done, and I’ve told them that over and over again, and their answer is always, ‘It has to be done, Chris,’ ‘Get it done, Chris,’ ‘That’s why we pay you, Chris.’”

“Hey, hey, Whoa. Calm down. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to…trigger you.” Monica noticed she had raised her hands defensively when Chris started to lose it, and she crossed her arms over her chest so she’d have a place to plant them. “It’s going to be ok.”

“Really? You know that, do you. That’s nice for you. Is that a Fortune Teller App you’ve developed, because if that’s what you’re bringing to the table I should just tender my resignation now.”

“Chris, come on. It can’t be that bad. I’ve never known anyone to really lose it over one part of one project. I’m sure we can talk about what’s wrong and troubleshoot together, and maybe they’ll give you help or something. What are you stuck on?”

Chris sagged. “You don’t understand. I’m not stuck, we are. And I’ve talked to them about it until they actually start saying no before I even start—they can see it coming.”

For the first time, Monica could see that something was really wrong.

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