Image by congerdesign from Pixabay

I can’t believe it. 

Susan ate my food. Food made for a select group of people, not the entire hoard, not Susan. What gives her the right to dine on my baked macaroni and cheese? I don’t even think she contributed anything to the feast. There’s the cole slaw Mike brought in, store bought and soupy. There’s the homemade fried chicken Danielle made; hard work that paid off with its irresistible flavor. And here’s Susan, chomping on them all. Most of the mac and cheese is gone now. Didn’t she see the sign I posted? ‘For Mike and Danielle’s Taste Buds Only’. 

Not Susan. 

I bet Susan doesn’t know how to cook. How could she? She didn’t contribute, just about as worse as those who sign up to contribute napkins. Then there’s her poor taste in dress; those flimsy sneakers I could find for three dollars at any corner store she wears. Finer attire would be more appropriate for the workplace, I say. If I were in charge, things would be very different around here, and any potlucks we had would be selective. A slogan like: ‘If you don’t contribute, you don’t eat!’ 

Yes, that’s it, just like that. We need to be forceful to get the message across so leeches like the Susan’s of the world don’t muster up any bright ideas for a free meal. As a matter of fact… 

Kathy stomped over to her cubicle. It was a domain to tread lightly by. Everyone knew she watched and listened from this spot, waiting to catch any malfeasance, assumed or proven. While on hold for Human Resources, Kathy gazed over her ‘Ten Commandments of Kathy’s Workplace’ framed in rose gold.  

C’mon, pick up, I need to report Susan’s misconduct.  

Bottom of the barrel elevator music met Kathy’s ears, drowning out the sound of a gentle voice calling in the distance.  

“Kathy?… Excuse me, Kathy?”  

Bashful in approach, Susan was hesitant to speak as she tugged on her sweater, a poor attempt to hide the holes within its once vibrant gold fabric. Kathy’s eyes narrowed in suspicion, the phone still pressed to her ear.  

What does she want now? I hope she’s here to apologize for eating my food.  

“I’m so sorry to disturb you, this won’t take long. I just wanted to thank you for bringing in the baked macaroni and cheese. It was great, I haven’t had a decent meal in a while. I don’t know if you heard, but my family has been struggling as of late. My husband, Bill, I believe you met him at the team builder bowling event we went to last year? Well, Bill was laid off about three months ago and money has been tight. Any food we have goes to our kiddos, you know? I was so hungry… I was on day two of not eating much of anything until you, Mike, Danielle, and everyone else brought in your great dishes. I’m sorry I couldn’t contribute, I would if I could, it’s just, well, we all go through things, I guess. All I wanted to say was, thank you. I appreciate you Kathy, you really made my day.” 

Susan shuffled off, Kathy’s eyes remained fixed on the void where her enemy just stood. She put the phone down, just as Human Resources answered on the other end. Her eyes trailed to the mirror, staring at her reflection. Guilt painted her face, and the taste of hurt filled her mouth like doses of poison. She recalled her own journey where she walked a similar path as Susan once. 

…This was all a misunderstanding. 

Besides, who the fuck cares who eats what at a potluck? 

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