The House Always Wins

I watched the intern struggle, debating whether or not to say anything to him. “Would you like some help?” I asked finally, inexplicably disappointed by the copier’s breakdown. First the coffee, now this. Soon, the stereotypes would stick to one schtick, and… god help me, I had to check the mail room for any afternoon deliveries. I hoped Gary was still in a good mood.

The intern looked up, then down at his crisp white shirt as the copier belched black toner powder right across the front. He looked ready to burst into tears. “No… I think it’s just… stubborn,” he finished, not quite ready to admit defeat to the vicious whimsy of office equipment. “Maybe we should ‘call for service’?” He pronounced the phrase like a foreign word.

“Here, let me take a look,” I offered, crouching down before the machine’s open belly and spying the torn scrap of paper that was causing most of the fuss. I reached in, mindful of the black-smudged toner everywhere, and had just grabbed hold when Kathy’s voice rang out.

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