By R. John Quisenberry
Stephen was feeling odd. His head had begun to ache and his joints seemed to be stiff. “Lorelei, I don’t feel well. Can you help me back to the office?”
“After dealing with Dick so well, it’s the least I could do.” she said as she quickly moved around to the side of his chair and helped him up. He began to feel as if he could barely stay awake. Looking around, Lorelei came to the sudden realization that most of the people in the room were sagging in their seats. As she helped Stephen from the room, she passed Dick snoring heartily on the floor near a napping secretary. His face had a red hand print on the cheek not pressed to the industrial carpeting. They only got a few yards down the hall before Stephen’s legs collapsed and he could not get back up even with the help of Lorelei. She ended up dragging him into an office that had nobody currently in it, and rolling him onto cushions she had pulled from the couch she found in the office and rolling his abused suit coat up as a pillow under his head. Exhausted, she quickly found a small wet bar. A cloth from the bar and some water from the ice bucket made a good cold compress for his head. Some time during this procedure, he passed out. Even passed out, he would moan from time to time. Cold and hot sweats came and went. After four hours of this, pale and gaunt, Stephen passed into a calm and peaceful sleep. Over the next hour, his color slowly returned to normal.
Lorelei had dozed off for a while and woke with a start when Stephen began to stir. “What happened?”
Groggily, she responded, “My boss, slash, lunch date passed out and I had to drag his heavy ass into a room so he wouldn’t embarrass himself by being asleep in the hall.” Rubbing her eyes, she tried to push back the pending migraine that seemed to be throbbing through her entire skull.
“You should probably tell him off, maybe quit.” he said with a weak smile. “Have you called 911? I think we may have gotten food poisoning.” He croaked through a parched throat. “Can I have something to drink?”