Well, if you could accuse anyone of being downright evil, it would be him.

“Well, if you could accuse anyone of being downright evil, it would be him.”

Dan rolled his eyes. Linda always went for the extreme. Nothing was ever just sad for her. It was a tragedy. Petty meanness, the banal cruelties of everyday life became evil of Biblical proportions.

“So you’d rather have them lay nobody off and shut the whole place down?” Rick shifted in his chair, his hair standing on end from where he’d tried to finger comb it into something resembling a normal hairstyle upon spotting their Division Vice President entering the lunch room.

Linda shot Rick a glare Dan was sure she meant to look fierce. It only succeeded in making her round face look more piggy.

“No, it’s just the way they’re doing it. A month ago everything was fine,” she used her fingers to make quotes in the air, “and yesterday half of the inside sales reps gets pink slips.”

Dan suppressed a chuckle. Linda’s version of “pink slips” came out in that same whisper his mother used to talk about cancer or AIDS, like if you said them loud enough God would smite you with the affliction.

“Have you ever thought that maybe there is no evil, just different priorities than yours?” Dan cracked a baby carrot with his back teeth and waited for the group to process his question. “Maybe Masterson just has different priorities than we do.”

Dan felt someone stop behind him. He looked up into the tan face of Lloyd Masterson, Division Vice President. Masterson stuck out his hand. “How’s it going, Dan?” His voice rumbled as thick and plump as his hand was soft.

“Fine sir.” Dan let go of Masterson’s hand.

Masterson smiled at Rick and Linda and moved on.

Out of the corner of his eye Dan saw Rick and Linda gaping at him. He focused on his lunch, crunching another carrot as he squashed the urge to tell them that they wouldn’t be getting pink slips later that day with their pay stubs. Dan was IT. IT always knew before the employee.

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