First Draft

Page 16

An hour went by in short order as the five all worked in their own little worlds. Benjamin was drawing up the exterior elevations of a new home when Lydia eventually packed her things and left. An hour or two later, when he had moved on to a set of floor plans for a two story addition, Maria and her intern packed their belongings and drawing pads and moved towards the door. Stopping at Ben’s desk, Maria asked, “Are you bailing out early, too?” loud enough for Marci to hear. A belligerent “hmph” could be heard from the adjoining room.

“No,” Ben looked up at her, “I’ll be here till at least five or six. But I’m probably going to be a bit late tomorrow. I have a doctor’s appointment early.”

“Is everything ok?” Maria’s brow lifted.

“Is it the AIDS?” a stifle yell called from the next room.

“No, it’s not the AIDS,” Ben smirked as he looked up at Maria, “It’s just a follow up.”

She smiled back, “Ok, no worries, just get here when you can,” as she patted him on the back. “I’ll leave our measurements on your desk in the morning, ok?”

“Sounds good.”

“Ok, I’ll see you guys,” she said as she walked into the other room.

“Look who’s bailing early,” Ben could hear Marci mutter. He could hear the smile in her voice. Likewise he could hear Maria’s smile as she delicately replied, “You can bite me, Marci,” before exiting through the glass office door.

“Gosh, the mouths on you construction workers,” Marci muttered towards the drafting room doorway. “Tisk tisk.”

Ben found himself smiling as he continued working on the set of drawings. The time once again went quickly, with occasional banter being exchanged between Benjamin and his coworker in the other room. At around 12:30, Marci finally began packing up her things in the other room. Peeking her head around the door frame, she smiled and said goodbye before leaving the office.

Ben wheeled his chair away from his desk. Save for the faint sound of traffic that bled through the windows, the office was silent.

Well, that was until grumble and a klanging noise came rumbling from the ceiling HVAC duck, a few feet from Benjamin’s head. With a loud bang, the louvered vent cover swung open on its hinges, and a dusty Mara scurried out, her knives digging silently into the acoustic ceiling tiles. With one hand, she reached back and slammed the vent closed, and then looked down at Ben, who was rubbing his eyes. With one good push, she heaved herself down towards where he sat, gray dust bunnies falling from her weightless hair as she sprang downwards. Just as she had launched herself, however, Benjamin stood, stretching his arms back wide and letting out a muffled yell of relief. Mara’s mid-air growl was suddenly muffled, as she face-planted into the seat of the swivel chair, her warped, white body and straw-like hair folded into a wild, convulsive mass.

Ben figured that this would make for a good stopping point, so he decided to go for lunch. He weighed his options briefly, and then chose to go for a walk, to the Chinese take-out. He picked up his things and made for the office door. Still slowly swiveling in circles, Mara glared up at him briefly as he walked out of the room, but then turned her gaze down towards the smooth, vinyl tile floor beneath her. As Ben pushed open the glass door and turned to lock it, he could hear her muttering profanely.

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