Challenge: The story must include at least three different characters with distinctive voices and personalities, they must work together towards a common goal but have different reasons or personal goals they’re trying to achieve with it and only one or none of the characters may be happy with the story’s conclusion.
I figured I’d write about Levi and Raiyo, and since I needed a third character, I decided to make their common goal clearing the flooded office building (alongside many other people).
It took a single step inside the building for Levi to know that this day would be even more miserable than he had expected. He turned to look back only to see Warren’s car’s taillights. Water was already seeping into his sock so, with a sigh, Levi put his other foot into the water as well and contemplated waterproof sneakers as he made his way past frantic coworkers.
“Levi! Come here!” Tabitha called out the moment Levi trudged into the floor’s lobby area. “A pretty bad mess, huh?”
“You could say so.” Levi grimaced at his soaked sneakers.
“Ah. The higher-ups probably should’ve told everyone to put wellies on.” Without her smile fading even for a second, Tabitha gestured to a few pairs of aforementioned footwear and goldfinch-themed socks on a desk. “Good thing I came in prepared! Any chance any of these are your size?”
Levi blinked. Had he not wanted this workday to end as soon as possible, he would have asked where the manager had gotten all of them. He checked the sizes and stated, “Yes, there is my size.”
“Good. Change into those — there’s a dried chair over there,” Tabitha pointed at a chair, “and leave your shoes and socks over there,” she pointed at a rack with three pairs of dripping socks and shoes, “then go check your office. Here’s a to-do list.” She pointed at a pile of papers next to the wellies.
“Good luck!” Tabitha walked away to resume whatever she was doing.
Levi rolled his eyes. Overdoer.
While going to his office, Levi came across Raiyo, who was taking a close look at each of the soaked papers he was going through. The two men greeted one another as he passed by.
Levi was done with his void office in fifteen minutes. When he went to take his soaked papers to the trash, Raiyo was still going through papers as slowly as possible. Had Levi not wanted this day to end as soon as possible, he would have asked the trainee about his slowness.
When their eyes met, he decided to ask anyway. “Shouldn’t Tabitha handle important papers?”
“Oh, no, these aren’t… I mean-” Raiyo stammered. “I’m just… uh… I mean, I’m making sure I’m not throwing away any notes. Like, this is all just from my office.”
Levi nodded. “Fair enough.”
“Already? That was fast!” Tabitha craned her neck to look at Levi. “Well, I suppose your office is the emptiest one here.”
“Have you seen Raiyo? He’s taking pretty long with his office.”
Levi could easily report that Raiyo was stalling. Regardless, he passed along what he had heard. “He is trying to save his notes.”
“Ah, makes sense. Must really suck, having a disaster like this during training.” Tabitha straightened herself. “Well, Samson and I have things covered here in the common areas, so there’s not really anything to do for you. Sorry you had to come all the way here for this.”
“It’s fine.” It was not — he could have used the time far better than this — but Levi was not about to start drama by being a prick.
Tabitha’s attention turned to someone behind Levi. “You’re done with your office, Raiyo?”
“Yeah,” the younger man replied. “What can I do next?”
“There’s not really anything to do anymore, so you can go home too.” Tabitha chuckled. “Think of this as an extempore half-day off.”
“Oh.” Raiyo shuffled his feet, making the water slosh. “Umm… If there is something to delegate, I could do it. I-I want to help out.”
Overdoers. Levi only barely managed not to roll his eyes.
“There’s no need; Samson and I can easily handle the common areas. Plus, I’m sure mister Oakley will notice my hard work.” Tabitha winked. “Just leave the wellies here — you both can keep the socks — go home and enjoy your time off.”
“Everything alright?” Tabitha asked.
“Yeah, I just… didn’t expect to leave work this soon today, that’s all. Gotta stop at the supermarket to get some lunch, haha.”
Raiyo’s heavy awkwardness was grating Levi’s nerves, so he decided it was time to leave. “I’ll be off then. Thanks for the loan, Tabitha.”
As Levi was waiting for Warren to come pick him up, curiosity got the better of him when he saw Raiyo wracking his brain for places to be. “You don’t want to head home?”
“Oh! Uh, well…” Raiyo pondered how to get out of the situation. “No, not really. Useless air conditioning. You could probably fry food there without a stove. You-you know what I mean?”
It sounded disingenuous, but Levi was not one to keep asking. “I do.”
“Good, yeah…” Raiyo looked around himself. “Well, I should get to the supermarket first anyway.”
“That sounds like a good idea.”
“Yeah… Well, I’ll be off. See you… when there’s a workday again.”
“See you then.”
“How was your day?” Warren asked with a knowing smile on his face.
“A waste of time.” Levi rubbed the bridge of his nose. “Really brought the overdoing side of people out.”
Warren chuckled. “At least it was a short day.”
“It’ll take the rest of the day to get my shoes dry, so not really.”
“Just leave it to me.” Warren smiled.
“Thank you.” That was one of the only things Levi actually meant on that ruined day.
Raiyo picked at his pathetic convenience food lunch. He could hang around in the park only for so long, especially on such a hot day and with so little to drink. If only he could have stayed at work…
Tabitha smiled her best smile at mister Oakley as she reported to him. The disinterest on her manager’s face told her everything she needed to know about how much he cared about her — or anyone else’s — effort. It was clear that neither she nor Samson were going to be promoted anytime soon. On her way back home, she cried for the uselessness of it all.