Saving Time: Part 8
“Oh good, you came back!” Blue Tie sighed dramatically as I walked into the building. “Come with me, Bobby.”
“I’m not even clocked in yet,” I said over the rim of my coffee cup, but he continued to nudge me through the building.
Blue Tie led me to Boss Lady’s office and gestured for me to enter. He slammed the door behind me and trotted away.
The office was more like a broom closet: small, cramped, and dusty. Boss Lady stood behind her small desk and gestured to a dirty upturned bucket, “Please, sit.” Her voice was calm and she seemed bored. Her frantic movements and unkempt appearance gave off the impression of a caged animal eager to escape. “How do you like it here so far, Barbara?”
“Its a little…,” I searched my vocabulary for a word other than weird or odd, so I settled for, “Different?”
“Well, em, a guy tried to rob the bank and Mr. Acetone just paid him. From his own pocket.” I looked up at Boss Lady, expecting her to be shocked, however she remained silent and thumped a dead fly off her desk. I continued, “Then there was that whole thing with Sharron and her kid–”
Boss Lady waved her hands in a violent blur, “She is none of your concern. Her service is no longer required here.”
“She’s fired?” I couldn’t believe a company would be so heartless regarding their employees, especially a mother.
“She refused relocation. But never mind that. We would like for you to assist in the installation of a new ATM machine in the bank lobby.”
“The M stands for machine,” I said.
“Never mind,” I sighed. “Computers and I don’t really get along. Plus, I have so much paperwork to sort and Darlene just sits there–”
“Darlene is doing her job,” Boss Lady interrupted me again.
The door to her office flew open and I looked up to see Mr. Acetone’s features soften as he smiled down at me. “The tech is here. Let’s get started.”
I followed Mr. Acetone to the lobby where a man was struggling to straighten a bulky machine with a large screen and dozens of buttons. The machine seemed to have once been white but now was a faint yellow with black grime embedded in all its crevices.
“I got her running,” he said to Mr. Acetone, and there was something oddly familiar about the man.
I immediately imagined what the man would look like with a ski mask obscuring his face and it hit me: He was the robber from last week! I squinted my eyes at the man, judging him, hoping he would notice I recognized him. I stepped up to the machine, “So where did you steal this from?”
The robber/tech man made a mock gasp and caressed the hideous machine. “I will have you know this is a genuine Enelrad brand ATM.”
Mr. Acetone made a loud throat clearing grunt and the robber/tech stepped back not saying another word. “Thank you for all your hard work,” and shooed him away. “Now, Bobby, I need you to figure out how to work this thing before a customer comes in.”
“Does Darlene need to learn this too?”
“Don’t you worry about her,” Mr. Acetone looked me in the eyes with an icy stare and kicked the machine. The screen blipped on and turned a soft blue. In the middle of he screen was a white, lower case “f” symbol.
I looked back at Darlene’s desk. It was surprisingly clean. The clutter of food containers and candy wrappers were all gone. Even her chair was missing. I could still smell the faintest hint of cigarette smoke. I turned back to the ATM and saw a thin puff of white smoke rising from out of the credit card slot.
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