“How was the old South of the Border!?” Matthew inquired, spinning his rolling office chair away from his desk to face Martin’s meagerly decorated cubicle.
“It was nice. Hot.”
“Long flight? I bet your arms are tired,” Matthew laughed, like it was the first time the English – speaking world had ever heard that joke. He was so proud I was afraid he was about to request a high five.
“That’s all you got?” I tried, “Any girls? Any crazy stories? Or is this like a ‘What happens in Mexico stays in Mexico” sort of thing.”
Martin didn’t turn around. He didn’t make eye contact. He watched his computer boot up and shuffled around the week-old papers on his desk.
“No, no…none of that. It was just uneventful, that’s all. Quiet. Relaxing.”
Matthew and I took his brevity as our cue to go back to the spreadsheeting and analysis that occupied the majority of our average workdays, but minutes later my thoughts returned to the weird interacting with Martin. He usually wasn’t so distant. And now, as I quieted my hands on my keyboard, I couldn’t even hear him at his desk. No phone call, no typing. I leaned back in my chair with the sort of fake stretch that usually signifies a low budget attempt to romance a girl at a movie theatre. From my backbend, I could just see Martin’s back as he hunched over something – his “Trees of the Northwest” computer screen saver replacing a Word or Excel file.
I couldn’t tell what he was doing, but he had been doing it for long enough for his computer to lock up. Because it was a departure from his normal office behavior, this clear distraction from work intrigued me even more. I rocked back up to an upright position in my chair, contemplating my next investigative move. Then my ears focused in. Beyond the typing, beyond the hushed phone calls, I heard a beeping. A patternless, high pitched sound that didn’t take my 21st Century ears long to diagnose – the clicking through of pictures on a digital camera. That was Martin’s engrossing activity – clicking through pictures from his “uneventful” trip to Cancun? Something about this Monday morning seemed off, and I was going to find out what.
-To Be Continued-
Prompt: Write about a roll of film that has been obtained surreptitiously.