When he had the chance, Semple was going to tell her about a new Porta-Potty he'd seen by the chapel where no one went except Wednesday nights and Sunday mornings. He was going to make his invitation smooth as chocolate milk and maybe she'd reconsider her previous reluctance for toilet sex.
For now, he couldn't say anything because the sergeant from PAO was still standing there.
"So," Gooding said, "even though you know he's dead and I know he's dead and by now his momma probably knows he's dead, the dude's not really dead, is that what you're telling me?"
Semple leveled a flat gaze at Gooding and clicked at his equally dead in-box. "He ain't officially dead yet."
"What about unofficially?"
"Unofficially, yeah. He's road meat. But if anyone asks, you didn't hear it from me."
Gooding was already gone. He'd spun on his heel and started speedwalking back to his cubicle by the time the word meat had fallen off Semple's lips.
"Day-um," Andersen said.
"Ole sarge needs to slow hisself down," Semple said. "Guy's gonna have a heart attack if he starts taking this shit too seriously."
"Yeah. He needs to pace himself. We still got another six months to go in this shit hole."
"Why you always gotta bring up the deployment clock, huh?"
"What else we gonna talk about?" Semple asked. "It's all one big fuckin' Groundhog Day anyway, so what does it matter?"
"It matters. I'm sick of this shit already."
Semple snorted. "Your words: pace yourself."
"Whatever." Andersen brushed off her breast with wide, hard strokes to dislodge the crumbs, then picked up her People and moved on to Brad Pitt. Semple watched her, crossing his legs to hide his hardness.
"Hey," he said and Andersen looked up from the magazine. The words Porta-Potty were there on the tip of his tongue, but what he said instead was, "Check the server again."
Andersen clicked her in-box. "Well, lookee here. It's back up. Whaddaya think? Should we call him back?"
Semple grinned. "Naw. Let him sweat it out for a little bit longer. Pass me that other cupcake, will ya?"
Excerpted from Fobbit by David Abrams. Copyright © 2012 by David Abrams. Excerpted by permission of Grove Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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No Man's Land
by Simon Tolkien
Inspired by the experiences of his grandfather, J. R. R. Tolkien, during World War I.
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