“Sorry you didn’t get the promotion,” Lara said. She and Ronni were the only two in the breakroom, but she had still approached both Ronni and the conversation topic furtively.
“Oh, it’s alright,” Ronni answered.
Lara shook her head. “Bastards.”
“It’s fine, really,” Ronni insisted. “I don’t even care.” It was a lie that Lara could see through easily, even though they weren’t that close. But then, Lara wasn’t the one Ronnie was trying to convince. Perhaps it was the very fact that Lara had spotted the attempted self-deception and didn’t call her on it that allowed Ronni to finally admit the truth. “I shouldn’t care, right?”
“You . . . shouldn’t?”
“I hate this job!” she declared. Lara’s eyes widened, which somehow encouraged Ronni. “I hate the people I work for. I hate the way this company treats its customers. Why do I even care what any of those . . . those . . . those bastards think?”
“Yeah, screw ‘em!” Lara suggested.
“Screw ‘em!” Ronni echoed. “Wait—no.”
Ronni sighed. “No . . .”
“Because . . . I do care, dammit.” She looked around, took in the dingy, depressing breakroom and considered her place in it. “I guess . . . I guess I just wanted it all to mean something.”
* * *
Story by Gregory M. Fox