Invoices. Requisitions. Replacement part forms. Chip Morton's desk was an
organized messif there was such a
thinglittered with neatly stacked piles of paper work. Chip scrawled his name
on another form and dropped it in the 'out' box. Reaching over blindly, he
snagged another form off a pile and quickly scanned it, frowning as he read.
Without warning his eyes went out of focus, crossed, then slowly refocused.
Placing the palms of both hands over his eyes, he reveled in the semi darkness,
ready to admit that just maybe he'd been staring at paperwork way too long.
He sat the forms aside then the clock on the wall
caught his attention. After 1900. Funny it didn't seem that late. Funny how
time flies. . . With a final glance at the pile of paperwork Chip decided there
was no way he was going to finish this tonight. He could get an early start on
it in the morning and get it finished up tomorrow in time for the weekend.
stomach growled, reminding him that lunch was a now faded memory. Maybe he
could have something delivered. Chip
gathered up his jacket and briefcase then tugged his hat down over his short
closed and locked his office door, walking past his secretary's empty desk. Two
doors down on the opposite side of the hall a light filtered under the closed
office door of Seaview's skipper. Chip paused outside of Lee's secretary's open
office door, wondering if he ought to stop and check on his friend. His stomach
growled again and that made up Chip's mind. Knowing Lee, the skipper had
skipped lunch. Maybe he could bully Crane into eating dinner with him.
Chip knocked twice then eased the door open.
Are you still here? Chip asked as he stuck his head in Lee Crane's
office. Lee looked up at his friend from
his desk and dropped the pen he had been writing with. It landed on the desk
top with a dull thud.
I should have left hours ago
but I got caught up in all this. Lee waved his hand in the direction of the
mounds of paperwork on his desk. Chip snorted.
Looks my desk. Come on, it'll
be there in the morning. I need food and if I know you, you either skipped
lunch or you took two bites out of a sandwich and tossed the rest. What a waste
of perfectly good food.
rolled his eyes and rose up put of his comfy leather chair, stretching his lean
6'1 frame, hearing his joints pop and creak
and loosening muscles grown stiff from hours of disuse. Mister Morton
you always need food. Trying to get you full is like trying to fill a
Like I keep telling you, I'm
a growing boy. Were you planning on taking root in here? Chip asked,
sauntering into the office proper and perching himself on the edge of the
desk. He took a good long look at his
best friend and decided he didn't like what he saw. Lee looked tired, dark
circles stained his undereyes, and his normally bright amber hazel eyes were
dull with fatigue. How long had he
been at the computer?
How long have you had your
nose stuck in that monitor? Have you had any lunch? Chip's voice carried
definite tones of disapproval.
I had a sandwich from the
cafeteria, Lee said defensively. By now Chip had slid off the desk and was
stalking the office, poking around a few unfiled stacks of folders and unpacked
boxes. He found the object of his search shoved behind a stack of National
sandwich? he asked, setting the half eaten ham and cheese sandwich down in
front of Crane. The edges of the bread had turned brown and the ham hanging off
the edge had dried, the cheese cracked and hard. The skipper blinked and stared
at the offending object as if he had never seen it before.
got sidetracked. I wasn't really hungry, he replied weakly. He gave Chip a
watery tired smile.
rolled his blue eyes. He tapped a finger against the top of the monitor.
that thing down, we're going to dinner.
raised a dark eyebrow and ran a hand through his curly hair. Dinner?
Yes, dinner. You know, it's a
large meal that usually falling at the end of the day consisting of several
courses, and if we're lucky, a very good wine,
scowled, the effect lost by the growling of somebody's stomach. I know what
dinner is, he said sourly.
Did you have something
specific in mind for dinner, or are we just going wing it?
considered the question. I don't know. Italian?
Too much garlic.
growled in exasperation. Well what do you feel like? he demanded. Lee just grinned.
Why not just a burger?
rolled his eyes. I'm buying, and all you want is a burger? Pal, something's
wrong with you. I don't know about you, but I'm in dire need of egg rolls, he
Now, wait a second, you never
said you were buying, Lee replied, as the two walked toward the open office
door at the end of the hall.