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Aunt Irma Visits (Again)

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        Lunch in the basement of Reynholm Industries is never a particularly exciting affair. Usually, Moss or Roy go upstairs to grab sandwiches and coffees, and that’s it. There’s nothing different today, either. Well, nothing except for the fact that her computer’s not working. Again. Roy tells her that she should stop clicking on ads and that the problem would be solved, but Jen has given up trying to differentiate between ads and normal links. So, she’s clicked on a flashing box and her computer screen has turned blue.

        “Roy? You there? My computer’s gone blue again,” she yells in the general direction of the door. It’s pointless; even if Roy is there he probably won’t bother answering.

        “No Jen, it’s just me, Moss.” He sounds exhausted for some reason, and Jen almost feels bad for bothering him. Almost. He continues, “Have you tried-”

        “Yes, I’ve tried turning it off and on again!” After working in the IT Department for almost three months, she knows to always try that first. Roy had refused to help her after a few weeks of Jen ignoring his primary fix, so she’d learned the hard way to either turn it off and on again or coax Moss out of his chair with candy. “It’s still blue! Just come over here and fix it, it’s not that hard!”

        Jen hears Moss heave a massive sigh and then the sounds of Moss pushing his chair back. He stops moving abruptly.

        “Flip,” Moss mutters, and she briefly wonders if it’s anything important, but he’s at her door in a second and she forgets all about it. Jen rolls her chair back to give him access to her computer and spins around, just once, for fun. God, I’m so professional, she thinks.

        Moss is trying to do some sort of awkward squat at her desk instead of the highly unattractive position he usually assumes: arse in the air, fingers at the keys. He’s failing miserably, and normally Jen would find it hilarious, but what really catches her attention is the dark red stain down the back of his khakis. If Moss was female, Jen would’ve assumed it was period blood and offered a pad or two to the poor woman. But this is Moss, and Moss is definitely male.

        “Uh … what’s on your pants?” she asks, expecting some drawn-out and completely absurd story. But that’s not what she gets. Far from it, actually.

        Moss’s fingers still on the keyboard.

        “Oh, that? I just, uh … sat in some paint earlier. Yes. Paint,” Moss says haltingly. Why is he suddenly so nervous?

        There’s a very uncomfortable pause, and Moss resumes his typing, going much faster than before. After a few seconds, he rockets up from his strange position, going slightly off-balance but not stopping to regain full control before he practically runs out of Jen’s office.

        “Moss? Moss, are you sure you’re-” she calls after him, stopping as she hears both muffled vomiting and Roy slamming the door open.

        “Jesus, Moss, what the hell happened? Are you alright?” Roy asks, sounding panicky.

        Jen walks to her doorway to find Moss on the floor next to his desk, hugging a small trash can. He’s intermittently vomiting into it, and she thinks he’s crying. Roy’s put their lunches on his desk and is sitting down next to Moss, already rubbing his back soothingly. It’s a practiced movement, Jen notices. Obviously, this happens a lot.

        “Shh, it’s okay, Moss. I know it hurts, it’ll stop soon,” Roy coos, more gentle than Jen’s ever heard him, “Just breathe, that’s right…”

        Moss has stopped vomiting now, there’s just the occasional dry heave and pathetic sobbing. Jen is still standing in her doorway, frozen from confusion.

        “Wh…” she attempts, but she’s cut off by Roy shooting a glare at her.

        “Let’s get you cleaned up now, shall we? That’s right,” Roy helps Moss up and leads him past Jen to the bathroom. Moss is draped over Roy, his eyes red from crying. He looks terrible. Roy cocks his head toward the trash can, giving Jen a pointed look. She sighs and resignedly heads toward the trash can. She cleans it in the sink in the tiny office kitchen, grimacing the entire time.