Darrell stared at the emergency exit. The bright red EXIT sign flickered as the fluorescent bulb twitched. The lecturer continued speaking about how important it was to complete the right forms while adding the directives to pass the competency dialogue markers in the system wide 220 radiance focuser. Darrell yawned and shook his head. He had dreams of escaping through the emergency exit. Actually he dreamed there was some Die Hard type emergency situation so his inner Bruce Willis could shine through and Mary in Accounting would throw herself at him with wild lust.
The lecture finally ended from Darrell’s boss. He hoped he could just go back to his cubicle and get back to doing his job, but it was Thursday, which meant it was time for the monthly birthday announcements. Diane from the activity committee stood up and delivered a half hearted list of names for people that were “celebrating” their birthdays. She was the least popular woman in the office yet somehow she had become the head of the employee activities committee. She was an angry woman, squat in stature, sort of shaped like a softball with arms and legs. She had glasses that somehow never fell off the edge of her nose and she always reeked of cigarettes but she didn’t smoke. It was as if she had bought all her close from a Salvation Army fire sale. He only redeeming quality was her willingness to volunteer for everything.
Diane sat back down, very proud of herself. There was a smattering of applause for the birthday people. Don, the boss, asked the group if there were any questions. Darrell knew there was always one son of a bitch that asked some dumb ass question, making Don rehash everything he had just lectured about. Darrell slunk down in his plastic chair and stuck his long legs out in to the aisle. He folded his arms across his chest and sighed. Without fail, nerdy god damn Jeff asked a dumb ass question.
“If we have to reestablish caution parameters in the 220 system do we have to then update the content values in 1640,” asked God Damn Jeff.
Don started the basically started the lecture over because he had covered that very issue within the first sentence. Darrell felt like if he strangled Jeff right now he would get a better applause than the birthday list did. While Don mindlessly went on, Droning Don, as they called him in the break room and behind closed doors, Darrell looked over at Mary. She was sitting on a table away from Darrell. She was doodling on her note pad and Darrell wondered what she was doodling. He thought it was rare to see a woman doodling. He couldn’t remember the last time he actually saw a woman just scribbling on a note pad. It was a funny thought and he sort of snickered.
“Darrell, you have a question,” asked Don.
“Huh, no, I… no, just… no,” said Darrell.
He was startled and sat up in his seat. He hadn’t realized how loudly he had snorted when he snickered. Mary and everyone else stared at him with the same hate filled eyes reserved for God Damn Jeff. Darrell looked down at his shoes and tried to turn invisible. It didn’t work. Mary continued to stare at him, or at least he felt her sexy eyes drilling into him. Darrell fake coughed and turned his attention back to droning Don. “Damn Thursdays”, he thought to himself. The light over the emergency exit flickered again.