by J. D. McLean
(Flash Fiction) The fallout of a work relationship exaggerates a small mistake.
|He dropped a copy of Eats, Shoots & Leaves on my desk, like I hadn't already read it back to front and memorized it sideways.
"Where you going?" I asked his back. A wave of three fingers meant "Not telling you."
I glanced at Mary. Her incredulous look was enough to make up for my blank expression.
"Boy, you drop one comma and it's like--"
"Drop it, RJ.." He cowered back into his cubical hole.
Mary finally broke her silence. "You aren't going after him?"
I hit the wake button on my phone. Still not quite five, but close enough for me. "Yeah. Just needed to space it out a little. Don't want to be that woman, you know."
"I hear you."
I killed the computer monitor and threw my coat over my shoulders, careful not to send my coffee mug flying like I'd done the day before.
Phil was sitting in his running car as I approached. Hadn't lit up--thank God--but it looked like he was staring at a pack.
I climbed into the passenger's side. "I told you to trash that."
"It's empty," he said, picking it up to show me. "Doctor says it's a good thing to keep around."
I nodded. "Made sense, I guess."
"Not that it's your business anymore. And you didn't come out here for that."
"No. I was just leaving."
"We can pull the prints, Stace. It's fixable."
"It's not the fucking comma, Phil!" The outburst startled me more than it did him. My face flushed in shame, and I found myself outside the car, leaning into the open door.
"I'm not sorry," I said. "You need to move on. I made my choice."
I shut the door before he could respond, but I could read his lips: "I miss you."
Well, good riddance.