[ Dramatis Personae: Programmer, Second Programmer, and Client Relations are at lunch. ]
Programmer: I still didn't think we needed a new programmer.
Relations: I didn't have anything to do with the interview.
Second: If we did need a new programmer she was the one we needed.
Programmer: Which we didn't.
Second: I agree, we haven't needed any new programmers.
Relations: She would've given you two someone to talk with, though.
Programmer: Who wants to talk? If I wanted to talk I wouldn't program.
Second: Still, Cobol and Ajax? Who learns that?
Relations: She did sound like she knew everything we might need.
[ IT enters, getting grunts of welcome; and sits to unpack lunch. ]
IT: Hello again.
Relations: Welcome home.
Programmer: Back from jet-setting.
Second: No trouble from all those storms?
IT: I set those wet jets right back where I found them.
Programmer: I bet.
IT: Set the wet jet bet.
[ Relations cracks up at this. ]
IT: I missed that.
Second: Me too; we don't know how to get that kind of laugh.
Relations: You don't know how to tell jokes.
IT: I'm away two weeks and miss all the excitement.
Relations: Yeah, you can barely see where they patched up the holes in the drywall.
IT: [ Falling for it ] Is that what happened?
Relations: Nah, I'm kidding.
Second: It was a fire.
IT: [ Still buying it ] Seriously?
Programmer: The place burned down. We all died. You're in the ruins, having a ghoulish hallucination.
[ IT smiles politely but doesn't laugh. ]
Relations: See? Why would someone even think about laughing from that?
Second: I liked it.
Programmer: Thank you.
Relations: You would.
IT: So what happened to her?
Programmer: Oh, you missed all of that?
Relations: Apparently she didn't come in for the second interview.
IT: [ Confused ] What?
Second: Her boyfriend convinced her the neighborhood isn't safe.
Programmer: That was her excuse?
Relations: I didn't hear that.
Programmer: That's even crazier. The 27 Burps ---
Second: Not their name.
Programmer: Hasn't been robbed in, like, a year now.
[ Second starts to correct this, and thinks better of it. ]
IT: What second interview?
Relations: Who are you talking about?
IT: Robin. She left, someone's taken her place? I didn't hear anything about this.
Second: Robin? She can't leave. The building would crumble. The nation would crumble.
Programmer: We're doomed if she leaves.
Relations: She didn't leave. Someone would've said something.
IT: Apparently not. C'mon, is everybody that asleep?
Programmer: How could she leave without a farewell party?
Relations: She didn't.
IT: There's someone new at her desk.
Second: I'll figure this out. [ Second gets up and leaves the room. ]
IT: [ To Second ] You'll see. Nobody pays attention anymore. [ To the rest ] So they were interviewing someone too?
Programmer: A new programmer that we didn't need.
Relations: I guess who's also scared of us.
IT: What's to be scared of? Our neighborhood has the sweetest junkies.
Programmer: We don't even leave the building. How can she not want to work here for that?
Relations: We do have to go to our cars.
Programmer: And we haven't had a slashed tire since ...
IT: I wouldn't finish that thought.
[ Second reenters, slightly irritated. ]
Second: Robin says hi.
Relations: Told you she hadn't left.
IT: You phoned her?
Second: She's that person sitting at the desk opposite you all morning, like she always has and always will.
IT: She doesn't look anything like Robin.
Second: And she appreciates your noticing her haircut.
Programmer: Oh! Yeah, that. That threw you?
Relations: She got a haircut?
Second: Almost all of them. She's trying the close-cut look.
Relations: I didn't notice.
IT: That's Robin without her hair?
Second: That's Robin with so little hair she has to bring a samoyed into the shower to have anything to shampoo. That's Robin with so little hair her hats flop down over her waist. That's Robin with so much lack of hair there are billiard balls calling her for smooth lessons.
IT: She didn't even say hello to me after two weeks away.
Second: You spent all morning looking weird at her.
Relations: At least you've got something to talk about after lunch.
Programmer: The important thing is we don't need anybody new.
Second: Good, if we can't get one.
Trivia: The Apollo 17 Command and Service Module had to make a 37.50-second orbital trim maneuver, lowering its orbit to 67.3 by 62.5 nautical miles, because its orbit did not decay as predicted while the Lunar Module was on the Moon. Source: Apollo By The Numbers, Richard Orloff. NASA SP-2000-4029.
Currently Reading: The Duke's Province : a Study of New York Politics and Society, 1664-1691, Robert C Ritchie.