• Jeff South

Cincinnati Chili: Bait

A week of restless sleep interrupted by long stretches of staring at the ceiling had left Grover sluggish. He shuffled during that long walk from the car to the office like a zombie searching for its next meal. All he could summon at his desk was a blank stare no matter how much bad coffee he devoured from the breakroom coffee machine.

“You don’t seem yourself lately,” Gwen told him. Her voice pulled him from his stupor. She was his work crush, engagement ring or not.

“Let me ask you something.” He looked around and gestured for him to join him in the breakroom with the bad coffee. “Have you ever become fixated on something because you just couldn’t shake it the feeling it had greater meaning?”

“You mean like Richard Dreyfuss and the mashed potatoes in Close Encounters of the Third Kind?” she asked and Grover knew this wasn’t the time to admit he had never seen that movie so she went with it. He couldn’t take the bait of another pop culture reference lost on him.

“Does the term ‘Cincinnati Chili’ mean anything to you? Do you know a Reggie Marsh at Corporate?”

“I don’t know anything about that chili thing you said.” Gwen turned away, grabbed some cash from her dress she loved because it had pockets, and paid for a Snickers bar from the vending machine.


“But, I’ve seen Reggie Marsh around. She has an office in this building. Get some sleep Grover. You’re getting those dark circles under your eyes.”

She left Grover in the breakroom to ponder the reality that Marsh worked in his building and now he must know where. Also, a Snickers bar sounded really good all of a sudden.


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