Three Word Wednesday is a once-weekly 3-word writing prompt.
This week’s three words were Adamant, Fabricate, Peculiar.
If there was a word one could use to describe Sasha Carter, it would be “peculiar.”
She drank her coffee sludgy and thick, with too much sugar and enough cream to turn it a pale tannish hue, and she drank it by the gallon. It was her one vice, her one addiction, and her sole source of calories during the work day; she supplemented it with a handful of vitamin pills while she bent over her desk, working ten-hour days regularly and twelve-hour days on Friday.
Her superiors didn’t want to question it – she worked hard, packing more work into a fifty-two-hour work week than her colleagues did into two or three thirty-five-hour weeks – and those colleagues were a little frightened of her, so, rather than bother her with questions that might, they feared, get them stabbed with a .07 mm lead, they kept the fridge well-stocked with cream, the cupboard with sugar, and the pot hot with coffee at all times.
And she? She noticed all of this, and said nothing, unsure what to say, not really aware of the aura of leave-me-alone she gave off but grateful for its results.
The coffee, while her only vice, wasn’t her only peculiarity, any more than her jittery over-caffeinated studiousness was her only social awkwardness. She was consistently adamant in her refusal to fabricate even the most trivial data, spending hours poring over old tomes, microfiche, five-inch-floppies in legacy Commodore machines, to find data points nobody else thought were important.
And “adamant,” as much as “peculiar,” defined Sasha’s work life. She did everything at the office with the same dogged determination, from filling out her time card to creating final presentations for clients (although, more astute than they let on, her supervisors always chose someone more personable to actually present said presentations). She was the sort of woman who, excessively caffeinated or not, was the living embodiment of the phrase ‘dot every I and cross every T.”
Although her colleagues wondered about, and speculated on (when she was down in the archives, perhaps, or somewhere else far out of earshot. .07mm leads were a real threat), Sasha’s personal life, no-one really wanted to be the one to ask, or to otherwise endeavor to find out. They assumed she had one, a home, a life, something outside of the office, but since she was there when they got there in the morning, there when they left at night, they couldn’t be certain. For all they knew, she had grown like a mushroom out of a file down in archives. It would, one colleague said unkindly, explain her personality.
The “adamant” and the “peculiar” combined tidily with her long work hours to make the mushroom theory almost believable, and certainly easier to think about than the images of Sasha going home to a cold, empty apartment where everything was meticulously filed and labeled, or a trailer full of cats, or anything else their rather practical imaginations could come up with. It was easy enough, indeed, that they found themselves almost believing it: Sasha Carter existed in the office, and nowhere else.
All of that made it even stranger when they came in one Monday to find Sasha not there. Her desk had been cleaned and emptied, her latest project was tidily stacked on the supervisor’s desk, and, sitting in her chair inside her favorite coffee mug, a tiny cloth effigy of Sasha sat staring at the world, as if demanding to know where her caffeine was.
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