Strange goodbyes

I’m getting ready to leave for another work trip. Coworker S must remain behind to hold down the fort on his own.

Sarah McLachlan’s “I will remember you” is playing in the background.

Sarah: I will remember you
Me: Don’t Cry. I’ll be back soon.
Sarah: Will you remember me?
Coworker: Oh god. I hope so.
Me: It’s just going to be a couple weeks.
Coworker: The more you say this, the less convinced I am.
Me: Everything is going to be alright.
Coworker: [sarcastically] Oh, that makes me feel a whole lot better.

Sarah: Weep not for the memories…

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Liberal interpretations

Me: It’s all falling apart.
Coworker: What is?
Me: This whole situation. The angry customers. It’s all going to pot.
Coworker: What do we do?
Me: I have a plan; divide and conquer. We’ll divy up the work. You do your thing and I’ll do mine. We’ll meet each other on the other side.
Coworker: Ok.
Me: You take Customer A. They have 140 dispensers. I need you to fix them. All of them. You have until Friday.
Coworker: [laughing nervously] Uh…are you serious?
Me: [ignoring the question] I will take Customers B and C. They have 10,000 dispensers. I have to have an answer for them by tomorrow. So that’s it. That’s the plan. Let’s do it. I’ll see you on Friday.
Coworker: Wait. I have a question.
Me: Yes?
Coworker: Are we allowed to help each other?
Me: [Stares blankly]
Coworker: In other words, can you help me out with this?
Me: What do you think?
Coworker: You have no choice.
Me: [exhales deeply] This must be my penance.

Thinly veiled

Me: [Whistling the tune of “Every breath you take” by the Police]
Coworker: I don’t like that song anymore.
Me: You still remember that?
Coworker: Yes.

Flashback to over a year ago. It is only a few weeks after the coworker started working/training under me. I am driving him home in my car. The song comes on the radio.

Coworker: Oh. I like this song.
Me: Yeah? Sting?
Coworker: Yes. It’s a good song.
Me: [singing]

♪ Every breath you take ♫
♪ and every move you make ♫
♪ Every bond you break ♫
♪ Every step you take, ♫

I’ll be watching you

Coworker: [Nervous laughter]

Me: [more menacingly]
♪ Every single day ♫
♪ and every word you say ♫
♪ Every game you play ♫
♪ Every night you stay, I’ll be watching you ♫

Coworker: Oh god.
Me: Wait, here comes the good part.

[with gusto]
♪ Oh can’t you see you belong to me? ♫
♪ How my poor heart aches with every step you take ♫

Coworker: [laughter, followed by silence]

Me: [continuing singing]
♪ Every move you make and every vow you break ♫
♪ Every smile you fake ♫
♪ Every claim you stake, I’ll be watching you ♫

Coworker: I don’t think I like this song anymore.
Both: [laughter]
Me: Yeah, this is a pretty ridiculous song out of context. I guess it’s pretty bad even in context.

Back to the present
The whistling has stopped. Both are working in silence for a few minutes.

Me: S?
Coworker: Yes Alban.
Me: You belong to me.
Coworker: I know.

High hopes

Me: Come with me.
Coworker: Where are we going?
Me: We’re going outside to have a fistfight.
Coworker: A what?
Me: A duel. To the death. Using only our fists.
Coworker: Oh my.
Me: Are you ready to kill me? Are you ready to take my life?
Coworker: Um.. I don’t think so.
Me: Well get ready. This does not end until someone dies.
Coworker: Why are we fighting?
Me: The winner will get all of this.
Coworker: All of what?
Me: This. My job. All of it. It’ll be a big promotion for you.
Coworker: So I can die slowly?
Me: Yes.
Coworker: Forget the duel. Just kill me now.