“Oh, is this your lunch?” you say, holding up the brown-paper bag.

“That’s it,” says a coworker whose name you never bothered to learn. “Why are you eating it?”

You return everything to the bag, including the half-eaten sandwich. You better think up one hell of a good excuse to get out of this one.

“I’m sorry. I thought it was mine.” Yes. Nailed it.

“You thought it was yours?” She raises an eyebrow incredulously.

“I buy the same brown bags.”

“Could you please pay more attention next time to what you’re eating?”

“Of course. My mistake. But let me go out and grab something for you to make up for it.” Smooth. Now you’ll come away looking like the good guy.

“You don’t really need to do that. Although a bento box from Sushi by Yuji would be nice.”

“Sure, my treat,” you say, gritting your teeth. Of course she goes for the most expensive place within walking distance. That’s just your luck. Even if you had money–which you don’t–you’d never eat there, not unless it was your anniversary or something.

“With a Rice Dream smoothie,” she adds.

You head over to the restaurant, fume for thirty minutes in line, charge the lunch to the one remaining credit card you haven’t gone over the limit on, and trudge back to the office.

You hand over the precious food with the bill still attached. Why not? At least she can know how much she gouged you.

When you get back to your desk a memo from HR is resting on your keyboard. On the “Re:” line someone’s scrawled: Respecting Other People’s Property.

Ugh. At least you spat in her Rice Dream smoothie.


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