The dial tone in Zach’s ear drowned out every other bit of sound in the office. That was the third customer to hang up on him. Not that it was his fault. The latest disaster in New Delta City involved dinosaurs from the Triassic era traveling to the future and rampaging through Circle Park.
The insurance company Zach worked for, New Delta Premiums, wasn’t covering any of the damage. Word from up top was that the statute of limitations on making a claim against the dinosaurs was several millions years too late. Every time Zach got to the point of explaining the issue the customer usually cursed his name and hung up.
Zach looked over at his overall performance level for the day. Three hang-ups in under an hour was not good. He was going to be written up. Possibly even fired.
“What up! You ready?” said the familiar voice of Zach’s roommate, Spencer. The disruption brought Zach back to the present. He remembered he had plans to meet Spencer and their friend, Clare, for lunch. Zach turned around at his desk. Spencer and Clare smiled down at him.
“You look rough,” said Clare.
Zach nodded, “Thanks.”
“You bet,” said Clare.
“It’s been a rough morning,” said Zach. “The Triassic attack destroyed a lot of cars, and a fusion food cart.”
“Please tell me it was Namekian’s Food Fusion,” said Spencer. “They don’t deserve to be around after the hot dog with the chocolate cookie bun.”
“Nope,” said Zach.
“Worthless dinosaurs,” grumbled Spencer.
“I just need to grab one thing in the kitchen,” said Zach, desperate for his lunch break.
He took off his headset and made a beeline toward the break room. His mouth salivated at just the thought of his crumb cake waiting for him in the fridge. It was a care package from his mom. Zach only lived five miles away from his parents, but he was still surprised every couple of months with treats mailed to his apartment. He usually shared his desserts with Spencer and Clare, but the crumb cake was always left for Zach alone. Until today. He was going to share with Spencer and especially Clare. He knew she would love the cake.
Zach opened the fridge. His stomach dropped. His mouth instantly went dry. His crumb cake was not where he left it. He scanned every inch of the refrigerator. Zach practically climbed inside of the appliance looking for where his crumb cake had moved.
But, it was not there.
Zach pulled his head out of the cool air. He eyed the trash can. The familiar green plastic wrap his mother used to preserve the crumb cake was in the trashcan. Zach rushed over to the garbage. He pulled the plastic wrap out. Crumbs dangled over his head. The plate the crumb cake was on was cracked and crushed deeper in the trashcan.
Zach’s heart sank, and his blood began to boil. Somebody had eaten his crumb cake.
Then as if providence itself turned Zach’s head, he stared back out at the cubicles. His co-worker, Miguel, walked by and stopped to talk to Spencer and Clare. Miguel pulled back his head with a wide open mouth. Slowly he lowered the last piece of Zach’s crumb cake into his mouth. A look of ecstasy washed over Miguel’s face as he enjoyed the rich, luscious piece of Zach’s mother’s crumb cake. Then he laughed at his own joke. Clare and Spencer joined along.
Zach’s hands balled into fists. The urge to yell and scream fought against his tight lips. Miguel had to pay for what he’d done.
Zach charged forward back into the cubicle farm. Spencer and Clare were still laughing with Miguel. The suave co-worker looked over at Zach and nodded his head in greeting.
“Hey, Zach!” Clare called out. She waved him over to join her, Spencer, and Miguel. “I invited Miguel to join us. Are you ready?”
“Oh,” said Zach, dumbfounded with Clare’s announcement. He couldn’t find the words to talk. He wanted to yell. Scream at Miguel for eating his dessert. Instead, Zach nodded his head. There was no way for him to argue with Clare.
“Great!” said Clare. “I’m starving.”
She turned to Spencer. “Do you think they’re still selling those cookie hot dogs?”
“We’re not going there!” Spencer argued as he and Clare began to walk toward the elevators of the building. Zach was frozen in place. How had everything gone so wrong?
Miguel slapped his hand on Zach’s back. “Clare is awesome, man. Is she seeing anybody?”
Zach turned and stared at Miguel. Still, words could not come out of his mouth.
“Thanks for letting me tag along,” continued Miguel. “The snack I had just made me hungrier.”
Then just like that Miguel started a brisk walk to catch up with Clare and Spencer. Miguel cracked another joke that Zach could not hear. The three of them laughed as they waited for the elevator.
Zach’s stomach growled. Miguel would have to pay, somehow.