The Wrong Printer

Today’s boot camp prompt is:

Sent  to  the  Wrong  Printer 

You’re at work and you print something personal (and sensitive). Unfortunately, you’ve sent it to the wrong printer  and, by the time  you realize  it,  somebody else has already  scooped it up.

There was nothing in the output tray. I stood in front of the printer with my mouth hanging open and hands on my head. I had sent it to the printer on the other side of the office instead of the one right next to me, but had thought I jumped up fast enough to catch it. 

I turned my back to the printer and looked at the sea of cubes. My hands dropped limp against my sides. How could I possibly figure out who had it? Also, why would they take it if they knew it wasn’t theirs? It would be on top of theirs​ once they flipped over the stack of things that printed. They could have easily put it back on the printer.

My stomach clenched and I felt like I might throw up. Maybe they wouldn’t even know what it meant. No, that’s impossible. It may say “HCG, Total, Quantative” at the top (which most people wouldn’t understand), but it clearly states “pregnancy (HCG) interpretation” in the description which then proceeds to detail exactly what the values mean, then confirming that, yes, I am indeed pregnant. 

It was a one night thing. I hadn’t planned on it. He hadn’t planned on it. We had only known each other since that night and hadn’t seen each other since the following morning. I had talked to him on the phone a couple times but that was it. Everyone here knew I didn’t have a steady boyfriend. Everyone here knew my long-time boyfriend had split several months ago. Now they also would know that I’m pregnant.

“What’s wrong with you?” Lisa asked as she walked up to copy something.

“My life is ruined and I’m going to need a new job.” I state blandly.

“What?” She asked, but I had already started walking away. I found the nearest bathroom and threw up every drop of my lunch. I heard a tap on the door at one point.

“You okay in there?” Came a soft voice.

“I’m fine. Leave me alone.” I responded before wretching again. After there was nothing left to throw up I put the seat down and sat pondering what I would do with myself.

“Taneka, are you in here?” I tried to be as quiet as possible. “Taneka, I saw you heading this way earlier. You need to get back on the phones.” My supervisor was not exactly the kindest person in the world.

“I’m going through something right now, Malcolm. Can I get the rest of the day off?” 

“No. You’re already on warning number 2 about your schedule. Get back on the phone in 5 minutes or we’ll be having a different sort of conversation.” I heard the door fall shut and groaned. 

Working in tele-customer service is, by the way, one of the worst jobs ever. You are just a number to the managers, someone to yell at to the customers, and an easily replaceable voice to the company. I cleaned myself up and walked out of the bathroom.

Malcolm stood in the middle of the cubes and locked eyes with me immediately. The guy had to have been watching the bathroom door the entire time. He pointed to my desk with a hard straight finger. I rolled my eyes and mouthed “I’m going.”

I sat back down, put my headset on, and let the calls distract me from my current dilemma. I took call after call, not taking any breaks in between. When my shift ended, I transfered my last call to a supervisor (it was that kind of call), and punched out. I stood, stretched, and saw a couple girls talking by the door of the cafeteria. They saw me and one covered her mouth as she spoke in the ear of the other. The other laughed and then said something back in the same manner. I didn’t even know their names, how would they know me?

I picked up my stuff and headed toward them. They quickly dispersed. I walked into the cafeteria and went straight to the bulletin board. Another note about working in a customer service call center, it’s like being in highschool. Everyone is immature and rude. I found my test results pinned to the board with a photo of a pregnant woman with my face photoshopped onto it. Why would someone even take the time to do that? How did they even get my picture?

I took it down and carefully peeled the tape, removing the photoshopped image from the test results. The only reason I printed it was to show the one night stand guy proof that I wasn’t lying. I should have just said screw it and not tried to tell him anything. But I had wanted my kid to grow up with a dad since mine died while my mom was pregnant and had never remarried. No, it was better for a child to have a father.

“They shouldn’t have done that.” I turned to find Jerome looking at me across his food.

“Well they did, so it is what it is.” I sat down next to him. We weren’t exactly friends, but we did talk every now and then. “Have you heard what anyone is saying about it?”

“You don’t want to know.” I folded my arms on the table and dropped my head on them.

“Why did this happen?” I said though it was muffled by my arms.

“My guess is you didn’t use a condom.” Jerome liked being matter of fact. I looked up to glare at him.

“Duh! I was drunk, he was drunk. I meant why does this whole building have to know? Why does it feel like I’m still in highschool? How does everyone find out about my personal life so easily?” I sat up a little straighter. “The guy doesn’t even want it. I printed this as proof because he claims that I’m not really pregnant and that, if I am, it’s not his.”

“So don’t worry about him. Just worry about you and the baby.” I dropped my head again.

“This place doesn’t pay me enough to have a baby.”

“You’ll figure it out. And there’s always plan B.” He said in between bites of salad.

“I think it’s a little too late for a pill to do anything.” I looked at him. He raised his eyebrows at me and I understood. “Oh, that plan B.” I thought about it for a second then shook my head. “No. This was my mistake. I got myself into this, I was willing even though I knew the risk. Ugh! I’m such an idiot!” I said as I threw my head back to look at the ceiling.

I sat like that for a minute of silence and then pushed my chair back.

“Thanks for the pep talk Jerome.” I stuck my tongue out at him and he flashed a big smile at me.

“Anytime sweetheart.” I left feeling hopelessly lost and alone, but I had test results so maybe that would push baby daddy to man up.


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