On the way to my cubicle, I passed Harold, a coworker with whom I was on friendly terms. He seemed a little surprised to see me.
“Hey there, Andrew,” he called cheerily when he spotted me. He quickly fell into step beside me. About to issue some benign pleasantry, he glanced downward and stopped short. After a moment, he said, “Uh, what’s with the duck shoes?”
“Don’t ask,” I replied.
Shrugging, Harold moved on to the next item on his conversational itinerary. “So, how about the sky today? Really something, huh?”
“Yes, it is. I suspect Carver is going to have something for us on that front.”
Harold rolled his eyes. “Yeah, doesn’t he always?” At that point, we reached Harold’s cubicle. “Well, listen,” he said, pausing in the doorway. “Maybe we could get together for lunch today.”
“Sounds good,” I said, and continued on, shivers running down my spine.
Soon, I reached my own cubicle and plopped into my chair. The day had hardly started and I was already near worn out. What I needed was coffee. I went to acquire some.
As I was walking back from the break room, I was momentarily puzzled by the stirring I felt in my right pinky finger. Then I remembered the dog. Sitting down in my chair, I popped my finger open. The dog walked out onto the desk, stretched, and yawned. She made a quick survey of the items cluttering the desktop, sniffing here and there, and then sat down unobtrusively next to the phone.
I began to pluck at the contents of my inbox, getting to work at last. Before too long, however, there was a knock at my cubicle entrance. I turned to see Carver standing there.
“Hi there,” I said, preparing for the worst.