Daniel watched her lean over the trash can … again. Whoever had to clean up that night was in for an unpleasant surprise.
He shook his head and turned up the volume on his headphones to drown out the sounds. But as she approached his desk, he knew it was the moment he had been waiting for.
It was a family-owned operation with a fairly small office and staff. Still, it was a pleasant enough place to work.
People exchanged birthday cards and slices of supermarket cake. Once in a while, they went out for drinks. They also helped each other out with shifts whenever they could. Except for Jill.
10 years on the job had, in her mind, made her a queen bee.
She would sit at her desk like some sort of unofficial manager, telling everyone how to do things the “right way” – all the while, sipping at her “This is the property of Jill” mug and adjusting her tacky desk trinkets.
Daniel did what he could to stay out of the drama, but it still found its way to him.
Four years ago, when he first joined, he made the mistake of asking her to switch a shift. She wrapped her lipstick-smudged lips around her cup and flat out refused. She had a television show to watch.
Everyone else explained that she NEVER switched shifts. Ever. Even if it were something important, her time was always far more valuable.
This ended up a regular topic of gossip around the lunch table. At least when she wasn’t there, chomping down the sweet and sour chicken she claimed to have made herself. But, it did somehow got worse.
Jill expected everyone to switch shifts with her. And, if they refused, she would either try to use her seniority or go straight to the manager.
She would cry and complain about how everyone in the office was so mean to her. Somehow, she ended up getting anything she wanted.
It was tenuous office-equilibrium, but they made it work. One day, Daniel noticed Jill come in late, looking rather shaken and pale.
She also looked around the office as if to coax someone into asking what was wrong. Unfortunately, he had to handoff some paperwork. He walked to her desk, imaging a target on his forehead.
He put it on her desk and tried to walk away quickly. She wasn’t going to let that happen.
“I can’t use this!” You didn’t do it right!” She didn’t let him reply. “Look, I’m pregnant! You can’t stress me out with these things.” He went back to his desk, feeling his stress peak.
The office turned into exactly what you would imagine. The shift-switching also exploded.
Most days she suffered from morning sickness, and Daniel was tired of moving his life around for her every week. One day, she approached his desk, but he was ready with a line he had been saving from a Reddit post.
It was full-on puppy dog eyes from her side. He was the only one available to cover her shift and let her go home early.
He pointed at her unplanned, pregnant belly and said, “A lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part.” The reaction had been worth the wait.
He watched her face drop and spike of anger make her eye twitch. It was like someone farted in her face.
It might have been simple, but it felt glorious. She waddled back to her desk, the fumes bursting out of her ears. There were only fifteen minutes left to go, but there was one more satisfying moment to come.
As expected, she tried to complain to the boss. Apparently he had had enough as well.
Fragments of a conversation filtered through the door. “Too many shift changes.” “Take time off.” “Lay down in the break room.” “My wife had bad morning sickness too.” “You’re not going to die.” Everyone tried to hide their snickers when she reappeared.
With a new burst of energy, Daniel watched the clock run down until his shift ended. He gathered his things, stealing glances at Jill.
She clutched her mug and glared at the monitor as if it had just told a child they had to go to bed early. One purple vein on her forehead throbbed.
He flung his bag over his shoulder and announced loudly, “Welp! I’m going home now. If anyone needs me, I’ll be home taking a nap.”
Daniel turned, not bothering to look at Jill’s face. However, he could hear the snickers and see the smirks of the other employees. He also got plenty of updates on his phone.
Jill had been extra unpleasant the entire shift. As soon as she saw the clock turn to 4:30 pm she grabbed her things and sped out the office door.
Watching Jill leave, her colleagues nervously smirk at each other, hoping she would learn from her mistakes; to learn to treat people better. But they had no idea what was in store for them.
The following day and feeling refreshed after standing up to the queen bee of the office, Daniel arrived at work.
He poured himself a coffee and nestled into his desk. But as the clock struck 9 am and the office became more crowded, Daniel realized Jill wasn’t sat at her desk. Where was she?
Throughout the day Daniel glanced over to Jill’s empty desk. Regret washed over him. Was he too harsh? After all, she is a pregnant woman. But then again it’s not like she didn’t deserve it.
It wasn’t until the working day was finished, that Daniel felt seriously sick with guilt. But he had no idea what Jill was up to.
The next day, Daniel arrived an hour early to the office to start some work he had been putting off. The entire office was empty, and all that could be heard was the sound of Daniel typing away on his keyboard and 90’s alternative rock playing through his earphones.
The hour soon passed and his colleagues arrived. Then suddenly, Daniel saw a woman walk in. But it wasn’t just any woman. It was Jill.
Jill sat at her desk while an eerily awkward silence lingered in the air. As expected, she gave Daniel a look that could freeze water. She had anger and revenge burning in her eyes. Daniel could sense it.
She never spoke to Daniel and he never spoke to her. Instead, they stayed as far away from each other as they could. But a week later, Daniel started to notice something strange about Jill.
Considering Jill was pregnant, it seemed like she was only pregnant when it suited her. She had no problem skipping away when she finished her shift, yet any sort of physical activity and she’d fall back into her chair, proclaiming” I can’t, it’s the pregnancy.”
But surely her bump had to appear soon? It just had to, right? A terrible feeling shivered up Daniel’s spine.
It was a Friday evening and Daniel was out in the city doing some last-minute shopping for his girlfriend’s birthday. As he navigated through the busy streets, he stumbled across a bar. After browsing the menu, suddenly he saw something that left him lost for words.
It was Jill. She was inside the bar, and what he saw her doing left him feeling sick to his stomach.
Daniel’s mouth drops wide open as he watches a supposedly pregnant woman pour shot after shot down her throat. Surely they had to be non-alcoholic?
Why would she be doing this? Daniel was stumped. He felt sick to his stomach. Was she lying about being pregnant? Was everything she said a lie? Daniels’s confusion turned to anger and he gets out his phone. He knew he had to make her pay for this.
The following Monday, Daniel arrived early at work. He still couldn’t get last Friday out of his mind. The image of Jill taking shots and drinking alcohol was etched into his mind like two loved up school children’s names on a tree.
He waited for his boss to arrive. And as soon as he died Daniel jumped from behind his desk and marched over. Finally, Jill was going to get what was coming to her.
Daniel burst into his boss’s office. “You have to see this,” Daniel said. “Before she gets here,” he proclaimed. He sat opposite his boss, his heartbeat racing in his chest.
Daniel got out his phone and showed his boss a picture. “She’s been lying,” Daniel said, “to all of us.” Daniel could see his boss’s face go as red as an overripe tomato and his fists clenched. This “pregnant” woman was going to get what was coming to her.
As soon as Jill arrived, everybody was stood watching her. “Hi guys,” she said, anxiously. Then, her boss walked forwards. “We need to talk Jill,” and just like that, the truth came to light.
Turns out Jill wasn’t actually pregnant and she had been lying all along. She was fired immediately, and Daniel was praised for his actions. Finally, he could get to enjoy his work.