**Or, “Write a scene using the words code, witch, insult, and paleo cupcakes.”**
Ana scowled at her screen. She contemplated tweaking the title on her email signature. Perhaps she could use it, for certain “special” clients… Then again, when it came to a name like “Ana” in this shop, maybe only Lead Developer, Google would make a difference. Maybe.
“Hey, Ana Banana! Can you give me a hand with the Kilridge hack? This code is a beast.”
“Sure… Give me a sec.”
She knew her tone was… Less than amicable, but crossed her fingers that it didn’t translate. Devon was a sweet kid, and only he could get away with “banana” in this zone.
“Sorry, I just thought… Never mind. Didn’t mean to bother you. I’ll figure it out.”
She had to shout over the rush of traffic as one of her other starry-eyed novices held the door for his even greener (though adorable) boyfriend.
“What’s up, Dev? It’s all good!”
As the noise (and the novice’s parting assurance of, “Just hurry up, she’s such a witch.”) was muffled by the closing of heavy, fingerprinted glass, she stepped towards him and, deciding that honesty was the best policy, whispered, “Paleo dude just sideswiped me and I’m in a foul mood.”
Maybe the glassy-eyed emotion was imagined, but she slammed a box of kleenex on the table in his general direction, while dropping into a chair and making a point of riveting her eyes on the nearest screen.
He cleared his throat.
“Wait. Paleo dude is at it again?”
Typing furiously, and quietly savoring the fact that, glassy eyes or not, he had pulled it together like a pro, she knew her sigh was response enough.
The offhanded insult by a low-level client, let alone one who currently sold “half-baked” paleo cupcakes, shouldn’t have ruffled her feathers, but she knew Dan *The Paleo Man* wasn’t anything close to “low-level,” and his need to dominate women (as well as his other shenanigans) made for rough communication. Not to mention the fact that he’d screwed a few of her closest (and most respected) colleagues…
No more games.
“Yeah, he is. But this time, we’re going to stop him… For good.”
“Right on, Ana!”
Bright eyed enthusiasm trumped her eye roll since it was the only thing that kept her going sometimes.
She’d have to stop giving her novices permission to forego her title, but for now, camaraderie was exactly what she needed.
“You got it, kid.”