The Fifteen Minute Novel: Day 175

The Fifteen Minute Novel is a novel written fifteen minutes at a time with each week day’s section starting with the sentence from the previous day. At least it is attempting to be a novel. For now I am just aiming at one continuous story, worked on for fifteen minutes each day. Started Friday January 1st, 2021 (in case you want to search for the beginning. I can’t wait to see where it ends up. It could be good, or it could be a mess. We’ll have to see. For now, here is today’s fifteen minutes.

Day 175: ‘Maybe I’m just not his type,’ James concluded.

‘Maybe I’m just not his type,’ James concluded. James decided the former charms of Doug Harris were not his concerns.  As he looked away he heard the man’s voice drifting down the corridor as he asked the next person in the paper trail about the status of his file. 

‘That is a man who firmly believes the squeaky wheel gets the oil,’ James thought. ‘Regardless of why he things he needs to squeak.’

The rest of the afternoon passed in relative quiet.  Everyone other than Harris was willing to wait for the paperwork to make it through the system, confident in his ability to put it into the system.  Midafternoon there was a bit of excitement as he had to take some time deciphering some travel claims.  The math was off and either there was a receipt missing or Gary Moore was really bad with basic math.  James figured out the missing amount and sent Gary an e-mail asking about the $42.96.  He tried to keep the e-mail light and give Gary the benefit of the doubt.  He knew it was easily possible to put a receipt in a pocket and forget to add it in with the others.  He also knew it was easy to transpose numbers when typing them into the form.  He also knew that in the few weeks James worked at thie company all three of the claims Gary filed has something missing. 

Gary rarely came to the office so James only saw in him passing.  Usually files were dropped off when he wasn’t around.  Left for him to find when he returned.  The last two times he sent gary an e-mail about discrepancies, Gary waited until the next morning to respond and then sent an e-mail the following morning stating the receipt could not be found.

In the spirit of fairness, James mentally conceded that the receipt could have been lost.  The amount was conceivably in the range of a dinner cost and could be legitimate.  There was something about it that seemed calculated to James though.  This far the amounts were always less than fifty dollars and designed to look like they could be acceptable.  The numbers for the missing receipt were always pasted somewhere in the middle of the pack and Gary never really argued when he simply took it off.  There were ways to deal with it if the receipt had been lost, but Gary never asked that of him.

‘Three times is a small sample though,’ James thought.  Still he marked it on his mental notes file as something to keep track of.  As James shifted the file to  the bottom of the stack, James wondered how many repetitions officially counted as a pattern.  He also wondered what he should do if it became a pattern.  As he always caught the discrepancy there was no actual problem.

‘And it could be a legitimate mistake.’

James shrugged and moved on to the next file and the neatly lined up receipts of Lizzie Franks. Each day was separated by its own clip, with a piece of paper marking the day and listing the receipts in that pack clipped to the front.  It was a study in organization.

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