INSTA Corp. held quarterly meetings where Alice and her cubicle neighbor, Felix sat in the back. “I’m Hubbard from Dayton, Ohio, and I’m here to talk about our at home white blood cell testing kits, one of the newest in our series of immediate result home testing.” Felix whispered, “What does he call his mom? Mother Hubbard?”
Alice tried to duck but she couldn’t avoid any of their eyes turning back, watching her unsuppressed laughter. “Bauman’s going to fire us,” she said after recovery but Felix shushed her. “This place sucks,” he said as Hubbard concluded his pitch with, “So, I’m stretching out my hand to you…”
“Who is he? Gumby?” Felix smirked causing Alice to run out of the auditorium and completely lose it.
“I used to party with him,” Alice whispered.
At the break, Felix said, “Cookies are crack,” eating one. Alice had a mouthful of a warm oatmeal one. She washed it down with coffee, remembered when she used to use a cocaine grinder on ten cinnamon sticks when she needed to bake pie. “I remember those sprees,” she said. “What a waste that was.”
“What’s in those cookies?” Bauman asked their backs.
Alice looked at Felix, before looking over her shoulder at Bauman. They volleyed that way for awhile. Bauman said, “Well, the way you were laughing, I thought you were high.”
“They tested me last week,” Alice said and shrugged her shoulders.
“I’m thinking you need a retest,” Bauman said. “Felix, too.”
“For laughing?” Alice said. “You’d think the company would want something as healthy as laughter.”
“Home white cell test kits are not, and never will be funny. I don’t know if cancer is a disease that runs in your family but…”
“Ok, ok, ok…fine,” Alice said.
“Fine,” Felix said.
Bauman reached into the closet closest to the break area and pulled out two boxes of INSTA AT-HOME DRUG TEST. Alice and Felix walked side by side like little soldiers and disappeared into their perspective bathrooms before giving their samples to Bauman. The meeting was still on break.
When Bauman reemerged from his office he had the results. “The computer indicates traces of amphetamines which I hope might be from the coffee,” Bauman told them. “Still, that being the case, I’m sorry but we must insist on either rehab or termination.”
“Rehab? For coffee?” Alice said.
“Really. Fuck it, termination,” Felix added.
“I’ve changed my mind. Termination for me too,” Alice said.
She pushed seven cookies into her Versace knock-off until they were all you could see if happened to glance in.
“Do you want to get high?” she said to Felix, palming the cookies in her pocketbook.
“Cookies,” he said. “Are crack.”