Several days passed since Ilana had picked supply clerk. She, the girl who didn’t cry when paddled for not behaving in starter’s education 8 years ago, crumbled into tears at the sight of the slip of paper that told her about her new, boring, good-for-nothing job. Even after a few days of work, she was still upset. She hated every single bit of the work, from the gray uniform jacket to the behind-the-desk work. Still, she had no choice but to go.
But something strange happened that day at work. She looked around for Amber, the head of the supplying office, and she was not there.
Anne, a coworker that has been nice to her, dropped a tip on the way to her desk.
“Are you looking for Amber? She’s been fired.”
“What?” The blond woman, Amber, with her hot pink lip gloss, was a bit obnoxious but did her work well. Ilana could not understand how Amber could have been fired.
“I know. Weird. Who knows? Oh, and Ilana, I heard the ration station’s almost out of canned fruit. You may get a radio call from the station, so make sure you know what to do! Oh, and the call will be from the highest person in the station, so be respectful!”
Ilana responded with a smile and a nod. Ilana sank down in her chair and waited for anything to happen, drumming her long-uncut fingernails on her desk.
* * *
Olive was getting used to the work, even if it was dull. It gave her a lot of time to think, about...anything. Her orders were processed much faster than on her first day. She had also been able to take some more pineapple to Poppy.
Something strange, though, was that Sandra had been fired. She seemed to be a perfect boss, and she couldn’t think what reason would get her fired. The rations had been decreased, too. There were some weird things going on. But no, she told herself, I can’t get distracted. She got back to work.
On her last checking trip to the ration station, only half a box of canned fruits were left. She worked out the numbers in her head, and decided that she would be getting a radio call soon. She was nervous, and checked the radio directions for the third time in a row. The red button, she repeated to herself. Olive stared at her radio with a piercing gaze. Then, it buzzed and crackled. She took a deep breath and held the radio to her ear.
* * *
Ilana wondered when the call would come. It was the red button, right? Maybe Anne was being overly cautious. She impatiently waited for another person to ask for canned fruit, or the radio call to come. Still, she couldn’t help but be excited about using the radio for the first time. She looked at the clock hanging on the opposite side of the wall. The seconds ticked by... When would the call come?
* * *
Olive carefully listed and followed what directions were given to her. After the call from the ration station telling her that they have run out, she pressed the black button to connect with the production grounds. With an anticipating cough to clear her throat, she rehearsed her lines once again: This is the supply office. Please send 50 crates of canned fruit to the ration station as quickly as possible.
* * *
Ilana was about to give up using the radio when, finally, it buzzed. She was about to connect with the ration station! The radio crackled.
* * *
The light that meant Olive was connected lit up. She steadied her voice and got ready to contact the production grounds.
Strange. Olive and Ilana each heard the voice of a young girl who sounded no older than themselves.