Jesse opened last quarter’s report and resaved it with the new date before he started making changes. Step one, use “replace” to change the names of all the months and, where necessary, the year. Save. Now, none of it is accurate, but it looks done. Wait. Change color scheme, pick shades of green, save again. Now it looks done and different.

He absently went through and highlighted all of the actual data—the things he’d need to research to update the report. Then he highlighted the individual words that might change, like “decrease” or “increase.” In five minutes, he had stripped the report down to a 12 page fill-in-the-blank worksheet. It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you are in no way invested in the quality of the work.

Jesse leaned back in his chair. One quick glance each direction was enough to verify what he already knew. He was the last one in the building. Again.

He took out his cell phone.

“Hey, Jesse! Long time no hear,” Phil answered on the second ring. “How’s the world where you are?”

“Hey, Phil. Same ol, same ol, you know. How’s the family?”

“Fantastic. We just got back from a three week European vacation. I had an amazing time, but I think next time, two weeks and fewer countries.” Phil laughed. “What about you? How’s Rachel?”

“Good. We’re going to the beach tomorrow. One of those wet, rocky walks as opposed to laying on sand. We’ll have seafood on the pier and come home with a pocket full of shells,” Jesse listed rather unenthusiastically. “It will be a nice change of scenery, at least.”

“What’re you guys doing tonight?” Phil asked. “It’s Friday—you gotta have something planned. Unless the week’s got you down and you just want to veg in front of the screen on Fridays.”

Jesse chortled. It was a funny sort of sound, like a single humorless bark had to make it’s way into the world via his nose. It deserved the word “chortle.” “I’m staring at a screen, alright.”

“You are not still at work.”

“Yes I am.” Jesse sighed.

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