Daniel was busy designing the new customer engagement system when it happened. To be fair it was his own fault. He’d accepted the invite on the basis that while Steve droned on about optimizing paradigms Daniel could get the work done. And so he’d packed himself into a room with about seven managers and stole a scrap of tablespace. He knew none of them, which meant they were too senior to be important. Unfortunately he hadn’t gambled on it happening. He didn’t even notice until Steve said “Dan?”
Daniel glanced up from his rapid response complaints system at two rows of quizzical faces. “Sure, it’s doable.”
Steve smiled “And with the new 666 link, we should have the hard copy before lunchtime.”
The managers nodded to each other knowingly.
Daniel’s office honed instincts flared “Sorry Steven, could you restate that in laymen’s terms?”
Steve swelled with pride at the thought of being too technical for someone “We agreed we need the hard copy of the previous version’s project plan so we’re going to send you over to archives to retrieve it.”
Amelia was making coffee when she heard the scream. Round the corner she found security holding onto Daniel. A group of managers filed past, whispering to each other. Steve came last “Same time tomorrow, we’ll do a full review of today’s minutes!”
Daniel struggled to break free “Not again! Please not again!”
“Did something happen?” she asked, sipping coffee.
Steve noticed her “Don’t worry, it’s a perfectly normal reaction.”
“He’s going up to Archives tomorrow,” Steve winked “It’s on the northside.”
“My family is from Swords.”
Steve never let a bad joke slow him down “Fancy an all-expenses paid company trip?”
Amelia considered his sharklike grin. It had to be better than making coffee..
Daniel stared into his empty cup. A guru had once spoken to him of how the universe was no more than the composite of our rational minds struggling to comprehend each other. Daniel needed coffee. Why didn’t the universe understand this?
Daniel turned to subject the speaker to his caffeine deficient wrath. Steve was standing there with a college-age girl in tow. His mind went in two directions. The first part imagined a coffee tree growing from Steve’s body. The other twisted the mouth into a professional smile and said “Steve, how can I help you?”
Steve turned to the woman beside him “Amelia, this is Daniel our best employee. Dan, this is Amelia the new intern.”
A half-remembered e-mail popped into Daniel’s head. He leapt from his chair and grabbed Amelia’s outstretched hand “Nice to meet you, Amelia.”
She looked nervous and squeezed his knuckles so hard they ground together. Daniel drew back nursing a bruise. And then Steve was Steve “Actually Dan, I have to pop off to a meeting. Was hoping you could show Amelia around, give her the lay of the land.”
Daniel resolved to look up the difference between murder and manslaughter “Sure, Steve. Happy to help.”
“Cheers, don’t forget to induct her!” Steve winked on the way out.
That left Amelia.