Something in the Water

I edged closer to the coffee machine, puzzled and wary. The machine that had been broken – everyone on the third floor was wailing and gnashing their teeth about it, but no one had noticed it go missing to the eighth floor? To the secret … lair?… attached to the Controller’s office?

“Ah, you must be our newest employee.” The voice from the shadows made me nearly jump out of my skin, and I skewed around in alarm, clutching at my chest in a vain attempt to slow my thundering heart. “I’ve read good things about you.” The shadows moved, and I straightened, hastily adjusting my shirt and brushing off the last bits of coffee grinds as an unassuming man of average height and features stepped into the dim light from the hallway. He wore a plain grey suit that looked to be of average price as well.

“Are you the Controller?” I asked, trying not to sound as nervous as I felt.

“I take it you’re here about everything breaking down.” He patted the coffeemaker’s chrome side affectionately. “Want to hear a secret?”

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