“Hey, what are you up to?”
The person that the question was directed to looked up from a bunch of papers in front of her. “Please, don't disturb me. I'm trying to write”, said the woman clearly annoyed.
The burly woman who asked the question sat down opposite to her without paying heed to the annoyance. “Are you going to finish your food?”
“No. I told you I'm writing.”
The women were seated in those cafeteria canteen tables. The table tops were white and panelled with dark-brown wood. The burly woman started chewing on her hair while eyeing the food. Both the women had stringy hair that seemed like it hadn't been washed in weeks.
“My editor is expecting the first draft by tonight. Would you please leave me alone?”
“Yeah, sure. But, can I have your food first?”
“Have at it.” The woman replied without even looking up from her papers.
“You know, I don't really care much for beans and mashed potatoes; more so, because the cooking here is just disgusting. But, and this is just between you and me, I've heard rumours that there's going to be a Golden Key implanted in one of these lunches. A Golden Key out of this place! So, I've been going around eating as many lunches as possible.”
“Listen here missy! I don't know if you've heard me the first few times, but I AM TRYING TO WRITE!” the woman said, slapping the table; but, not too loud, so as not to arise suspicion of the guards standing outside the room. A few still looked her way so she quickly composed herself. She then leaned in towards the burly woman and hissed, “GO AWAY.”
“Say, you keep saying you're writing but where's your pen?” replied the burly woman clearly unperturbed.
“What do you mean? Here's my pen!” She held up the pen to her eyes and then towards the light to make sure it was still there.
“Okay, you're definitely nuts. That's just a stick. Did you find it in the compound outside during recreation hours?”
“As a matter of fact, I did find it there and the nurse said it was a pen. She would never lie to me. Now, go away and leave me alone.”
“Let me see what you're writing over there then.” She picked up a scrap of paper from the crumpled up pile and examined it. “Why, this is just an old restaurant receipt.”
As soon as she returned the paper to the pile, she found herself being thrown to the floor. The other woman was on top of her trying to stab her with the stick. “I told you to leave me alone, didn't I? Now you made me lose my cool.” She screamed at the burly woman.
In-between the hair tugging and the stabbing the guards finally intervened and dragged away the woman with the stick along white tiled floors through a series of ominous double doors.
“All of 'em are nuts here,” yelled back the burly woman as she picked herself up and dusted herself off. Then she went to the person in the next table inquiring about her lunch.
Tasnim Odrika likes pineapple on pizza and is willing to fight anyone who opposes her on this. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org