“Debbie, are you a notary?” Lucy asked as she held onto the side of the cubicle wall.
Startled by the sudden intrusion, Debbie jumped and tucked her phone under a stack of paperwork. It was an involuntary reaction to protect and save her phone, like one might shield a child from an oncoming car. The phone was a constant companion, a second brain, a secretary, a party planner, a radio and a link to the rest of the world. Like most people who are more digitally connected than in real life, Debbie was no exception to being plugged in and turned on constantly. Her precious phone allowed for shopping on Amazon, texting, trolling and winking at Facebook photos at all times. She felt safe from the watchful surveillance of the IT department, and when she realized it was just Lucy, she felt safe in her cubicle again.
“No, I’m not, but you might check with Sal down the hallway,” Debbie explained. She turned back towards her computer screen and scrolled through her email inbox, done with the conversation.
“Thanks,” Lucy said and headed in the direction pointed out by Debbie with a quiet sigh.
“Hey Sal, knock, knock,” Lucy announced outside of the intended cubicle.
Sal stared straight ahead at a computer screen. Her eyes were blood shot and bulging out of her face. Three Diet Coke bottles were on her desk, one was open and half empty. The other two were in line to follow the same fate within the day. Sal held one hand out, palm first, towards Lucy.
“Hold on, I need a minute.”
She jotted something down on an electronic tablet with a stylus pen, scrolled further down with a wireless mouse on the desktop and suddenly with one click, closed the entire page down.
“What do you need?” she asked turning to face Lucy in a chair that squeaked.
“You might want to get that chair checked out, it sounds like it’s about to fall apart.”
Lucy remembered a car she rode in once when she was younger. The panels were rusted out and it blew black smoke from the tail pipe. The passenger side door squeaked when it swung open, it not only sounded the same, it also gave the same level of confidence in its functionality.
“Anyways, are you a notary?”
“Who told you that?” Sal asked.
“Debbie,” Lucy replied.
Sal nodded her head slowly and closed her watery blue eyes. She took a deep breath in through her nose and blew it out before responding.
“Well, I am, but I am going to lunch now. I will be back in one hour if you need something notarized.”
Lucy gritted her teeth and smiled, “Thanks, Sal. I’ll be back after lunch,” and left the office.
She walked down the hallway, down the stairs and out of the building. She kept walking down the drive, onto the sidewalk and down the street. She walked until her feet bled and her throat was parched, she lost her cardigan and phone somewhere along the way as she headed North. She was leaving the grid but first needed to take a stop by the Nest.