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Paper Hearts

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“Thank you for calling technical support this is Phil how can I help you?"

"oh uh hey Phil it's Dan again I think I pushed the wrong button and the whole excel file went away?"

Phil suppressed a sigh at the third phone call today from the new guy

"No prob bob I'll be right over"

He hung up the phone and started down the hallway to the other side of the building, lightly tapping the wall as he walked. As he approached the coding room, he scanned his badge and made his way through the maze of cubicles until he saw a man biting the side of his nail and staring at the computer.

"Dan?" Phil questioned quietly, trying to get the older mans attention

"Oh hi!" Dan said, frantically moving his chair to the side so Phil could see his screen

"Oh ok, this is an easy fix. Just give me a second" Phil bent over the guys' desk and opened up design mode, quickly altering the code written to fix the sheet.

"There ya go, good as new. Oh, before I forget, let me give you my email and then if you have any more questions just screenshot them and send them to me. Phone calls are difficult for me cause I'm hard of hearing." He explained in a low voice before grabbing a sticky note and jotting it down

"Now you can reach me directly"

Dan just nodded and apologized for having him come down again

"I really don't understand any of this Excel stuff..." Dan muttered looking at the screen

Phil laughed a little "That's alright that's why they hired me I think"

He winked and walked out of the room, headed back to his office on the opposite side of the building. He settled into his chair and started working on fixing other minor issues until it was time for lunch. He clocked out and quickly walked down to the lunchroom, taking his lunch bag out of the company fridge and finding a chair in the sea of tables. He took out his yogurt and popped in his earbuds, catching up on YouTube.

He finished up his lunch and headed back to his office, sighing as he stared at the clock. God this day was slow. His phone rang and he grabbed it quickly, using his best customer service voice

"Thank you for calling technical support, this is Phil, how can I help you"

"hi uh haha it's me again, Dan I mean… how do I take a screenshot?"

"just go to the search bar and look up 'snipping tool' it should come right up"

"oh ok thanks, sorry"

Dan hung up quickly and Phil returned to his work, a small smile on his face when he realized Dan spoke up so he could hear.


Phil unlocked his front door and threw his backpack down, collapsing on the sofa after a long day. His cat, Persephone, came rubbing up against his leg.

"You just want food don't you babe?" He laughed at the cat who looked at him with slight distaste

"Alright come on buddy let's grab you and me some dinner, yeah?"

He slipped out of his shoes and walked into the kitchen, grabbing a pan.

"Omelettes sound ok?"

Persephone just jumped up on the stool that was near the counter, placed specifically for him.

"Ham or turkey? I'm thinking about turkey. We had ham the other night. Honestly, we eat too many omelets."

He meowed as he worked through making their dinner. He made himself an omelet and made Persephone a mini one to go with his normal food

Phil grabbed his favorite cup and poured some water and then went to settle in the living room, switching on the TV and eating his dinner.

"Ya know pudding pop, I'm gonna head to bed soon do you wanna come?"

The cat just continued to lick his paw clean of egg, uninterested in his. He laughed and headed towards his bedroom, slipping on his jammies and getting in bed.


Dan stepped through the garage, throwing his bag down and greeting his tank of fish

“Hello, friends!!” He tapped the glass gently, getting their attention before sprinkling in their dinner. He walked through his door, putting on the TV and stripping off his work clothes, stepping into his pajamas and grabbing a frozen dinner. He watched it spin around the microwave and sighed as the sounds of the TV were the only thing to accompany him yet again.
He barely ate the meal, staring blankly at the TV. She decided to reach out to his friends and sent a message to the group chat

DH: Hey guys,,, am sad,, ughh
PEtertheWeinIER: wats wrong babe
DH: just sad,, big lonely dumb house
PSYCHOBABE: hang in there <3
Siple: :((( you have a WONDERFUL house
PEtertheWeinIER: uve seen his houze???
Siple: no but I know
PEtertheWeinIER: HOW??? He cld live in a boxx

Dan put his phone down, already tired of his friends. He just wanted someone to come home to. Everything sucked and he decided just to go to bed.


Phil pulled on his jacket. He grabbed his lunch and headed out to make the drive to work. It was only a few minutes from his house, but he still left early every day. Something was calming about being up before the sun and the bustle of 8 am traffic. He pulled into his usual parking spot at 6:30 and made his way to his office, smiling at his custodian friend he always saw.

Phil stopped by the fridge, dumping his lunch on the bottom shelf before he went to the third floor and to his office, scanning his badge to get in. He paused for a second, looking out the window.

"Maybe today won't be so terrible," he thought, settling into his chair.



Dan hopped in the shower around 8 am, groggy from tossing and turning all night. He washed quickly and got out, brushing his short pink hair. It stuck up in every direction whether he liked it or not, so he left it and went to find something to wear.

He decided on a pair of jeans, cuffing them at the ankle, and his favorite blue shirt. He grabbed a bag of pop tarts and went to his car, heading to work.

He arrived just before 9 and walked to the cubicle hell he occupied for forty hours a week. He was still unsure about the layout of the new building, even after three weeks of working here he wasn't even sure where the break room was. He put his bag down and clocked in, hoping he could just get through today.


Dan looked at his excel progress sheet. He was supposed to record everything he coded throughout the day on this and he kept messing it up. What had the IT guy said about the pivot table? How did he make it show today's numbers? The cursor blinked at him and he couldn't feel more stupid if he tried. Why couldn't he remember this simple thing? Maybe medical coding wasn't for his. Maybe he's just not cut out for it.

He's pulled out of his thoughts suddenly when he sees a group of people walking through the hallway in suits. He watches them stride along, talking softly to each other as they head to the conference room. Thank God he wasn't an executive, it looked too stuck up.

Dan looked back at his computer and sighed. He took a screenshot and sent an email to the IT guy.

Wednesday, May 1st, 2019 9:45am
Subject: Help?



it's Dan again. I'm really sorry but can you look at the attached? I'm so lost. I know you told me I just don't remember anymore



He clicked back into the system and started coding again, just writing down what he was doing on a sticky note till he could get some help.

Dan's email notification popped up a short time later and he clicked on it, seeing it was from IT.

Wednesday, May 1st, 2019 10:04 am
RE: Subject: Help?

Good morning!!

I attached a document explaining, but basically, you just right click and hit refresh and filter in the day you want to see.

I hope this helps, if not I'm extension 127 so just dial me directly and I'll come over.

Phil :)

Dan could honestly hit himself. Of course, that was it, how could he forget. She quickly updated the sheet and sighed, taking out his second pop tart.

Hours ticked by without his notice and he eventually decided his hunger was taking him over. He walked down the hall, headed to his car and sighed as he got in.

He went to the same fast food place he always did and got the same burger that he ate in his car before heading back. He listened to his favorite music and looked out of his window as he sat in the parking lot of the office.

He eventually headed towards his desk when he heard someone crying in the conference room. He walked towards the noise, running over his break to see if the person was alright. Dan peeked around the corner just in time to see someone crouched in the back of the conference room, curled up with their head on their knees. It looked like they were on the phone but it was dark in the room and he could barely see. He tried to hear what the person was saying through their sobs

"I just don't understand why you're saying that I didn't do anything I swear I'm so sorry I promise I'll come right over just please believe-"

He heard more broken sobs coming from the room and he realized that whatever was happening was extremely personal so he tiptoed away and went to his desk as quickly as possible. It was only then that he realized he knew that voice.