Coffee Date
rating: +60+x

Kondraki was mortified. Bad enough that his one off impulsive decision ended in disaster (again, as usual), worse was the fact that everyone had to know about it. And know about it with visual aids. From an O5 sanctioned presentation. Kondraki wasn’t too much more paranoid than any other reasonable adult on site, but he could swear he felt people’s eyes on him leaving the meeting. The wound to his pride was too fresh. He decided to seclude himself to his work for the day and hope no smartass came by with a bottle themed get well basket.

The distraction was mostly sufficient, if completely soul sucking-ly boring. So a pretty normal day doing paperwork. Aside from the occasional dull ache from his lower half, Kondraki was able to mostly put the incident out of his mind. No more issues, or lingering embarrassment, just reams of paperwork to be filled out. Not glamorous, but necessary. It was going great, actually; he was making good progress and a decent dent in some of the work he had been totally-not-putting-off, and it might have given him a little free time on his day off instead of having to take work home again. Then disaster struck.

As Kondraki lifted his coffee cup to his lips once more, he realized that he’d sipped it dry. His stomach sank as he realized that meant he’d have to get up and actually go get more; absolutely no way around that. He just hoped that no one got between him and his source of endless power. Or that he didn’t hear the tell tale sound of crinkling plastic. After a minute or two of grumbling to himself, he finally got up the nerve to head down the hall to refill.

He didn’t walk with his head down; he didn’t want to seem ashamed. After everything he’d already pulled, there wouldn’t be a point anyway. Just a chip to his pride.

Just before rounding the corner to where the coffee pot awaited him, Kondraki overheard a conversation.

“Alright, okay you remember the thing with the Pringles can?” Began the first voice, sounding a little exasperated.

“Yeah,” came the reply. “I still have the scar on the back of my hand from where the scissors slipped trying to get me out.”

“Okay so imagine that, but instead of it being your hand, it’s your dick. It’d just fuckin’ slice a big gash in-“

“Dear god that hurts just thinking about it, shut up.”

Great. Fantastic. Maybe if he kept his head down, Kondraki would be able to get his coffee and go without the two noticing.

“I get what you’re saying,” the second voice added, closer now. “But why would he do it in the first place?”

“Sometimes people just do things man.” The first voice answered simply. “Like you haven’t done something stupid before. Like uh, remember Ryan? Grade nine, got his arm stuck in the plastic tubing in art class cause he just wanted to see if he could make himself a robot suit out of PVC pipe.”

“Isn’t that the guy who drank so much Red Bull that the company sent him a laptop?”

“Yeah, that’s the one. They had to call an ambulance to get him cut out of the pipe because if we tried to use the pipe cutters we could have got his arm. Same principal.”

“Okay but Ryan was a complete dumbass.”

“Yeah, but everyone’s a bit of a dumbass. Like you can be a highly intelligent person and still be a dumbass.”

At that point, Kondraki rounded the corner and made a beeline for the coffee pot. The small half-room wasn’t very big, so it wasn’t very far at all, but he was able to move quietly towards his warm holy grail.

He had made eye contact with one of the two voices. They were both young researchers, hadn’t been at the site long. Or at least he assumed, judging by their age. He didn’t really recognize anyone unless they did something noteworthy, and even then it was pretty hit or miss.The first voice, belonging to a short young man who now wore a barely suppressed look of fear on his face, stopped in its tracks when Kondraki made eye contact on his way to the pot. The second individual, taller but just as young, had his back to Kondraki when he walked in, and hadn’t seen him.

“Like, I can get that the idea came to him.” Started the second man, who ignored his colleague that had begun shaking his head frantically in favor for eyeing up the vending machine. “I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t thought about something like that before. But to actually go through with it?”

Kondraki poured himself a cup, and didn’t turn to look at either of the two. “What can I say? Seemed like a good idea at the time.”

The silence that followed was almost unnatural. The only sound in the room came from coffee being poured; even the vending machine seemed to stop its endless quiet hum, if only for a few seconds. That was followed by some frantic shuffling, and the sound of two sets of footsteps retreating down the hall.

Kondraki half chuckled to himself; seems they were more embarrassed than he was. He finished fixing his coffee and began his return trip back to his desk to finish both his paperwork and his self isolation over the incident.

So things maybe weren’t as bad as they seemed. Just like any big mistake, people would probably talk about it for a few days and then be over it when the next fresh gossip came out. It was just how people were. They might work with dangerous, impossible and generally horrifying objects and entities every day, but thankfully, most of them were still pretty human. Sometimes humans did amazing and noble work for the good of mankind. Sometimes humans got their dicks stuck in water bottles.

Kondraki mused on this quietly as he took a sip of coffee, finally returning to his desk on which sat an unopened water bottle, tied with red ribbon to a balloon reading “Get Well Soon! :)“.

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