I whirl around in my swivel chair to confront the gruff voice. There he is. In the flesh. All five-foot-six of him, dressed immaculately in a pressed, black suit. Mr. Robert Bergenstein. My boss' boss. "Yes?"
"Is Tommy around? No, I guess not, the lights are off." He squints his eyes looking into my boss' office. "I just had a meeting here, thought I'd drop in and ask him something. Tell him to call me first thing tomorrow."
"Will do, sir." I scramble to find a pen and jot down his name on a Post-It note.
"Good man. Say, what's that you've got there?" He nods at my screen. I am mortified. I'd forgotten to minimize Civ 3 or even quit out. I should have turned off my monitor, told him it was broken, anything.
"Is that what I think it is?" He eyes ratchet between me and the game.
"You know, this company has a strict policy against playing games like that on our computers. It's a violation of so many rules and regulations I can't even begin to list them all." After he drives that home by boring holes in my face with his eyes, he looks at my screen again and seems to focus on what is being displayed there for the first time. "And for God's sake man, Civilization 4 came out months ago. It's time to upgrade. See that Tommy gets that message."
With that, he turns away and leaves me incredulously watching him walk away. I shake my head and quit Civ. Packing up my things, I casually wonder if Bergenstein is going to blow the whistle on me or not. I've heard talk from his assistant that he's actually pretty lenient about most things, but I never pegged him as a gamer. My money's on him letting me off with a warning, but I figure he'll throw the book at me if he catches me again. Unless I'm playing Civ 4, that is. I make a mental note to come up with some way to minimize out of a game quickly if he ever comes around again, or smuggle in an nVidia card.
Greg Tito is a playwright and standup comic residing in Brooklyn, NY. He is currently splitting time between World of Warcraft, a new D&D 3rd edition campaign and finishing one of his many uncompleted writing projects. He also blogs semi-regularly at http://onlyzuul.blogspot.com/.