“Look, no one is arguing that we don’t need it,” Charlie said, exasperated. “We need a new system. And crops in the desert need water. It’s not that you haven’t made your case.” He let his hand fall to the table dramatically. It made a loud clap against the soft hum of the computer fan. “I can’t give you what I don’t have.”

“Yeah, but no one plants crops in the desert.”

“Sean, you know what I mean.”

“Do I?” Sean was in rare form this afternoon. “You’re telling me to let the farm die because I can’t water the crops that you planted.”

“I don’t see how I planted anything.”

“This is your company, Charles. Your baby. We did what you said—we picked up our lives and followed you—and you haven’t let us down. The accounts have been there, every time it looks like they’re going to shut off the lights, like some magical work-fairy has been dripping them to us just fast enough to keep us from going under.”

“We’ve been lucky,” Charlie agreed.

“No, we haven’t. We’ve been pretty unlucky, the way I see it,” Sean said. “We’ve lost files and had to start over a week before deadline. Don’t even get me started on the hard drive that spent a week in Steve’s trunk in the summer.”

“Moron!”

“Right? Anyway, the point is we didn’t oops land on quality work, we put in the hours, sometimes twice. We gave it our blood, sweat, tears and grease-stained pizza boxes.” Sean chuckled. So did Charlie. “We earned that business.”

“Thank you, Sean.” Charlie beamed. “And you’re right—I don’t mean to minimize all that you did by crediting luck.”

“All that we did, you included. Sometimes, you mostly.” Sean smiled sadly. “I see you here late at night eating that terrible instant noodle crap at your desk. There can’t be any nutrients in that—you know that, right?”

“Hey, don’t be dissin’ my dishes. The Bottom Drawer Bistro has it’s limitations.”

“Bottom Drawer Bistro?”

Charlie leaned back in his chair and opened the bottom drawer of his desk. It was full of snacks that didn’t require refrigeration, with granola and dried fruit at the top of the health chart and varying types of dehydrated noodles occupying the lower ranks with the candy bars and Coke. “You have to eat a balanced diet of noodles and trail mix before hitting the candy bars—those are for dessert.”

“Dude, that is not food, and that is exactly my point,” Sean laughed. “I’m saying that you are in this with us—we all see that—and you are the reason we’ve come this far but we need more. You know that.”

“I appreciate that, Sean, but I don’t do anything you guys aren’t doing. Which means I know as well as you do how much it sucks. That doesn’t change the math, man.”

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