“Well I have to tell her,” Morgan says. “She has a right to know who’s been stealing her things after all.”

“No, don’t do that, please.” Morgan’s picking up the break room phone. You have to stop this. “I’ve never done this before, I just couldn’t help myself. I was so hungry.”

“Everyone’s hungry at lunchtime. That’s why they bring lunches.” Morgan snorts derisively.

“Yes, but I’ve just been so overwhelmed lately by…” what could plausibly explain this? “Debt. Student debt.”

“Most people here have student debt.”

“Yes, but most people make more than I do.” You’re immediately ashamed of having stated this obvious truth. Morgan nods slightly. Feeling superior to you is definitely making your story go down easier.

Time to really dig in.

“I’ve already had to turn off HBO. And my Blue Apron subscription. If I can’t get my finances under control, I may even have to start buying…” you sigh dramatically for effect. “Non-organic.”

“Oh god, that’s horrible.” Morgan’s nose curls up in a mix of pity and disgust.

Perfect. It’s working.

“I felt too guilty to actually eat Pheobe’s lunch,” you say, stuffing the bag into the fridge. Morgan wouldn’t actually check the state of its contents, right? “So please, please, don’t tell anyone.”

“Okay,” Morgan nods reluctantly. Then the smug sneer returns. Hmmm, that’s unsettling. “In fact, I think I know how I can help you.”

“Oh, thank you Morgan,” you say, fawning as best you can.

At least you dodged that bullet.

*    *    *    *    *

After Morgan left the break room you stuffed your face with the stale tortilla chips from last month’s “after-work Friday fiesta!” and slunk back to your desk. It’s been a couple hours and the shame and fear has started to subside enough that you’re just bored again.

You open your facebook.

A post from Morgan is at the top of your feed. You rarely see Morgan’s things but this has…wow, several hundred likes, lots of them from your coworkers.

You click the “read more” button.

My work friend is in dire straits lately. The poor schmuck is dealing with student loan debt, which I’m sure none of you understand, and even had to turn off premium cable last week.

Please donate to my friend…

Hey, that’s your name. And your last initial. Oh Jesus, even your idiot coworkers will be able to work out this roman a clef.

The fund will be used to buy lunches, coffees, maybe even some office snacks, so that my friend is no longer forced to make that wrenching choice between paying for food like a fucking adult, or taking someone else’s food and continuing to purchase $6 lattes every afternoon.

Some people have no choice but to steal their coworkers’ lunches.

But we can give my friend a choice. And a chance. And no excuse to keep acting like an entitled asshole.

A link to a crowdfunding site is attached. Oh dear god, this might be the most embarrassing thing you’ve ever had to endure. You click the link.

Oh c’mon, $50,000? Of course Morgan’s set the campaign goal ludicrously high. There’s no way people will pay for this elaborate fuck you–

Wait, is that right?

$36,582? It’s only been a couple hours since lunch!

That’s not that far off. Too far for you to make up the difference, especially since you don’t know what kind of cut Morgan’s going to take. But close enough that you could reach the goal. Today, even. Jesus, think of the things you could buy with that money. They might even include your own lunches.

It’s so embarrassing…

But it’s so much money…

You click the “share” button at the bottom. You can absolutely put a price on dignity.

THE END

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