She picked up a stack of papers and stuffed them into an accordion folder. More to do on the weekend, but it was time to get out of there.
“He really hates me,” she laughed as she straightened another stack. A strand of dyed red hair fell in her face, she automatically tucked it behind her ear and pushed her glasses back up her nose.
“Diane, if you’d stop telling him what he’s doing wrong, he’d probably leave you alone.” Her favorite coworker sat next to her desk, eating cheap chocolate from the drawer.
“Not that you’re wrong, you’re just...too direct.” The dark, curly-haired woman unwrapped another KitKat and bit into it. She tipped her chair back, pushing against the desk with her foot.
“I’m done working for men. I mean, not all of them suck, but this is ridiculous.” Diane finished sorting her paperwork, looped the elastic over the button on the accordion folder, then straightened up. Her spine cracked as she stretched. “Ugh, I’m so tired."
She looked down, lips pursed. “And, Irene, if I don’t tell him, who will?”
Eyes glittering, the dark woman grinned. “Let him screw up. When the shit hits the fan, he’ll be the only one there catching it.” She looked away, smile falling.
“Don’t let him take you down with him.”
Diane sat in her desk chair, idly turning side to side. She reached into another drawer, pulling out a bag of gummy bears. She filled her fist with candy and put the bag away. She put a green bear in her mouth, slowly chewing as she thought.
“In this day and age, you’d think we’d be over machismo. If I didn’t need this place for my research, I’d have been gone a long time ago. I love you, but having these bitch sessions every day isn’t enough to keep me here.” Diane smiled wanly at Irene, and they both laughed. The laughter was muted, tainted with reserve.
Both women stood at once, sensing the conversation was done. Time to go home. Diane put the last two gummy bears in her mouth, grabbed the accordion folder, and stuffed it in her tote with her other binders and notebooks.
Irene grabbed her things as well, and they walked out of the office. They walked into a hallway made of windows, looking out on the grey-green sky.
“Not so bad today, I can see the bank,” Irene observed.
Diane looked out towards the bank building across the road. Dark shadows swept across the bank window, prompting her to look up. “They must like the cleaner air, there are a lot out today.”
The women continued to the enclosed parking lot, talk of dinner plans echoing down the near-empty corridor. Scaly, winged creatures littered the city skyline, 20-foot wingspans scraping against shatter-proof windows, near-metallic screeching ringing through the thick, hazy air.
Far below, two- and four-legged reptilian megafauna wandered down the streets between abandoned cars, searching for food, unable to break into the subterranean roadways separating commuters from the beasts.
As the women disappeared into the elevator, the air purification system kicked on, the low hum of the fans pulsing through the 26th floor.