Crandall returned to his desk with a coffee in one hand and a half-empty box of Munchkins in the other. He stopped short in the cubicle entrance, staring at his desk. Someone had been in his space. He glared at the brightly colored cupcake sitting next to his keyboard. It had Blue and Red frosting whipped to a peak with a little candy football pressed into the center. It sat on an index card with flowing lettering written in purple ink. It pissed Crandall off because it meant someone had been in his cubicle.
“What the fuck,” Crandall muttered. He stepped up to his desk and sat down the donut box. He picked up the cupcake and held it over the trashcan. The scent of sugar drifted around him, making him pause. He brought the treat to his mouth and licked frosting off the edge.
“Ohh…” Yeah, that wasn’t just any cupcake, and it was much better than donut holes. He set the coffee on his desk and dropped into his seat to peel the paper off the bottom of the cupcake, frowning at the football theme before taking a bite of cake and frosting together. He moaned again. Yes, he had to find out who made these. They just might be worth being nice to once in a while.
Licking the last few crumbs off his fingers, Crandall finally checked the card.
So sorry to be a bother earlier today. I hope this makes up for it.
Crandall recognized the prefix of the phone number listed as a company line, but that was the only clue about who Ginger O’Connor was. Several people had been more than a bother today, so that didn’t narrow it down much. He tossed the card in the trashcan under his desk, but then fished it out again a moment later. If Ginger apologized with sweets, it might be worth figuring out who she was next time for he wanted something frosted.
Before he could pull up the company directory, his boss rushed into his cubicle. In a huff, Jim said, “Oh thank god you’re back. Where have you been?”
Not bothering to look away from the computer, Crandall pointed at the coffee.
“I thought we agreed–”
“We agreed,” Crandall snapped, “that if I want to take a longer break once in a while, I would.”
“We agreed you’d take your breaks.”
“And I did.”
They’d argued just last week about taking twenty minute breaks for a Dunkin Donuts run, but Crandall had won that disagreement by pointing out he didn’t take four smoke breaks a day like most of the rest of his team. Won, until Jim also realized Crandall often skipped breaks altogether. That had resulted in a miserable lecture about the state’s labor laws.
Crandall quickly changed the subject, hoping to avoid a repeat performance. “I assume you’re in my space for a reason other than my coffee habits.”
“Yes.” He leaned a hip against his desk, a pose Crandall hated. It was too familiar, and very unwelcome. “Pull up this ticket.” Jim pressed a sticky note to the desk beside Crandall’s coffee cup.
Crandall typed in the request, skimmed the complaint, and sighed. “Yeah, on it,” he said.
“Make it a priority,” Jim said. “Sign off help desk if you need to.”
Need to, no, but Crandall knew most of the IT guys would need that much focus. He could address any tech problem while taking calls from morons locked out of their systems and playing Diablo on his second monitor, but Jim didn’t know that. Crandall pulled up his phone interface and quickly closed it off to incoming calls.
“Thank you, Mr. Jacobsen, I truly appreciate your willingness to take on these problems.” Jim left before Crandall’s smirk snuck out. They both knew he preferred unresponsive computer programs to ignorant coworkers every minute of every day.
Crandall found the problem and set up a solution within ten minutes, but he’d yet to pull the trigger to implement the fix. He figured he had another half an hour before he really had to show progress, and the longer he held back the correction, the longer he could stay off help desk calls. He was reading forums on the yet to be released sequel to Guild Wars when someone knocked on the cubicle wall.
“What?” he asked without looking up.
“Did you get the cupcake?”
Crandall smiled first, but then forced a frown when he looked up to see who the mysterious Ginger O’Connor was. Damn, the girl who had a thing for Ash. “Yes,” he said.
“I wanted to apologize…”
“I can read.”
“Uh, okay, yeah. Sorry.” She started to back out of his cubicle.
“Wait.” Crandall spun his chair around to face her, looking past her right elbow as he spoke. “It was good. Did you bake it?”
“Oh no,” she said with a little laugh. “I can’t cook to save my life.”
“That’s not a life-saving activity.”
She giggled. “You’re funny.” To his confused frown, she said, “So anyway, sorry to bug you. Have a good day.” She waved and walked away, leaving Crandall to rethink the conversation trying to figure out what she thought was so funny.