“Hey, Sammohini.” The voice suddenly appeared after a typing lull, along with her mentoring coworker, Hank. “How urgent is that 1 o’clock?” “Oh, umm… yeah, uhh… that’s a move assessment for Nephrology for next week.” “Can you reschedule it? We’d,” and he looked around the cube farm area before dropping his voice, “like to have a team meeting since Linda and Lisa are both away. We were thinking… Wiles’s…” Before exclaiming, she calmly said, “no worries.”
The four hid in an obscured booth at the back of the restaurant.
“Now, here’s my big worry,” Hank had a view of the entire restaurant, “budget’s been terrible for the past few years.” An interruption from, Venkat, their senior teammate. “Over ten.” “Yeah, and our team keeps shrinking. Sammohini’s been a great help over these last few months, but we just need more people. Work keeps piling up and you can’t find the time to fly back home.”
“Retirement is in six years. We can wait.”
“Yeah, that’s what I’m afraid of! If this keeps up, we’ll all be merged with lower-level teams or kicked out!” “Woah, really?” Sammohini sipped from her water, looking first across at Hank, then to her left at Venkat. “Yes, you are right. We are all worried. It does not look good. At least we are in good hands. Without Lisa guiding the department, we would be in serious trouble…”
“Heh, and technology’s changing,”
Nils found his opening, “it’s getting easier for dumb people that can’t figure out shit to just look it up on the Internet. The need for us IT babysitters handholding these losers is going away.” Sammohini drank from her water again. “You’re not entirely wrong, dude. I’ve been trolling job bulletin boards at home, and it’s all advanced systems administration or entry-level stuff.”
A waiter stopped by to check in and refill their drinks.
“I’ll take the check.” “Oh, thank you, Hank!” “No worries. We’re milking it today to make up for last week.” “Yeah, I’m glad that wasn’t me during that downtime. You looked more like death than usual.” “Thanks…” “‘No worries.’” Hank laughed at the sarcastic impression, which erupted into a group laughter, which quieted just before the waiter returned. Hank’s card completed their transaction.
“Thank you, madam and sirs, may you have a great day!”
“Likewise, sir.” “Thanks!” “Thank you.” “Takk.” Sammohini thought she caught a glimpse of someone familiar on the way out, so she walked a little slower, and subtly got Hank’s attention. “Hey, umm… I was wondering, you were watching the place for us, right? Umm…” “Oh, you noticed too? Yeah, I saw Linda walk in about ten minutes ago. Don’t let the others know.”
The others were already in the car.
“She hadn’t noticed us until I looked over and smiled, so, no worries. Let’s plan later. Say nothing to them and you’ll be good.” She nodded and they arrived at the car just as Venkat had it warmed up.
“Back to The Suck, good sir!”
[Sources: Behind The Name for the names. Venkat clicked on the first roll, whereas Nils was going to be a more generic character until he showed his passive-aggressive colors in an upcoming short story, which led me to edit his dialogue to be more in line with the average coworker I’ve had.]
[Inspirations: Once, we were having a private lunch meeting in the same restaurant as another team at the same company. I’d noticed before anyone else.]
[Related: Somewhere in the Sammohini Arc of “The Story.”]
[Written On: June 6th, 7 AM]
[Last Edited: June 17th]