The Observer

During a meeting, has your stomach ever made that ever-embarrassing, deep-throated growl of an imminent colon-blow? Of course, mine has, and I'm pretty sure everyone in attendance knew I wasn't hungry, that is, if they were listening. Paying attention, not necessarily to the topic at hand, but to the attendees, is how I survive tedious office assemblies. This inspired the following short short about a kindred, meeting-hating spirit.

      Trapped behind a faux-mahogany cage by yet another mind-numbing departmental meeting, Jane looked to her right, where one coworker nodded, another furiously stirred coffee to ward off slumber, and another two concealed cell phones, feverishly texting their illicit tête-à-tête.

      A guttural roar sounded to her left. She spied the culprit, Bethany, whose pinched face yearned for a bathroom break. Across the table, one colleague slept with one eye open, a skill honed over her seventeen-year tenure. Another feigned note-taking, while another, leaned so far forward she looked as if she would topple over, was transfixed by the manager's message. Jane silently scoffed at the suck-up, who hung on every dull word.

      Then, as if a magnet were pulling her, she suddenly felt the weight of a thousand gazes from across the room. She shifted her eyes to meet the hefty glare. It was Andrea, the new girl. Andrea's intense scrutiny meant one thing--the observer was being observed. Sensing an impending challenge, the words "game on" flashed inside Jane's skull like an electric billboard. Game on indeed.