by Stefanie N Snider
©2012, all rights reserved
James stretched his arms up toward the fluorescent lights and felt his back pop.
He'd been at his desk for what felt like days, trying to finish the team's presentation for the new clients. His arsenal of energy drinks came with him to the desk; now the empty cans lay strewn about, dead soldiers who had served him well.
He was racing against the clock, now: the system was going down at midnight for an IT update, and if he didn't hurry he'd have no internet access to send the report.
The clock on his monitor caught his eye. Five minutes left. Five, then he could finally shut down for the night and go meet the guys at the pub. His fingers sped up, frantically keying the last few corrections.
It was the longest day of a long week. One task after another, dumped on him by his unrelenting boss, had stressed him to his limits. It seemed the harder he worked, the more they threw at him, until he was drowning in other people's problems. He was exhausted, but at least this was the last of it.
With two minutes to spare he smashed the Enter button that sent the report. Instantly, he felt a little better. He had a long weekend ahead of him, and he planned on drinking away the knots that had tied themselves into his spine.
He shut the computer down, reached in the desk drawer for his keys, and went to stand.