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The Salt Mines

January 12th, 2011 by the_lifer

Around town, from register to register, cubicle to cubicle, the workers are back and the moan goes up. “Too good to last…back to the salt mines…did you have a nice Christmas?”

The last question has derailed quite a few conversations around town, as Will has just learned. Back at the office, he has, all innocence and social convention, asked Ulrika that question. Her response was to burst into tears. For an instant, she tried to explain what was wrong, then dissolved into clenched, silent floods again.

Will, in shock at his poised workmate’s collapse, guesses that her romantic Christmas with her dubious boyfriend in Kaitaia deserved the warning she snubbed. He sneaks a quick look around. Mad Andy, one desk over, looks constipated from concentrating on anything but Ulrika’s salt-streaked face. Mad Randy, at the next desk, is gazing out the window at a brick wall, thoughtfully biting his lip. Will gives him maybe two more minutes before he joins the conversation.

“Look, uh – let’s go to lunch.”

Ulrika sniffles. “It’s…it’s only ten.”

“We’ll go have a coffee, then.” He raises his voice. “You guys want anything from Mojo downstairs?”

“Nah, we’re good, mate,” growls Andy. The pair of them totter off.

Once the elevator door closes on them, Mad Randy lifts his bushy brows at Mad Andy. Randy says, “I knew something were wrong when she showed up without her lippy on.”

Andy nods. “It’s the feminine nuances, mate.”

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