Ginger: Ruby, are you home?
Ruby: I’m in the kitchen, why – what is all that?
Ginger: A serious misunderstanding.
Ruby: Why are you holding balloons that say “We’ll Miss You,” “Get Well Soon,” “Happy Birthday” and “Happy Anniversary”?
Ginger: Because people don’t listen when I talk.
Ruby: Are those doughnuts?
Ginger: Yes. This box is gluten-free, because someone heard I developed celiac disease. This box is dairy-free, because someone else heard I developed lactose intolerance. And this is a bowl of fruit, because someone else heard I am now diabetic.
Ruby: And the vegetable platter?
Ginger: A completely different person – different from all the other people I have hinted at vaguely – heard I have a heart condition and needed to go on a diet.
Ruby: …can we start over?
Ginger: It might take a while.
Ruby: Try to keep it short.
Ruby: Don’t embellish facts like you normally do.
Ginger: But then the story is boring.
Ruby: Try anyway.
Ginger: So, you know how I took that world tour earlier this year?
Ruby: Yes. I recall the postcards and the phone calls at odd hours because you can’t understand time zones.
Ginger: Well, when I got back to the office, someone asked where I had been. I said I went on a trip around the world. He asked if that was something on my Bucket List. I said it wasn’t until I had completed it. He asked why that was.
Ruby: It’s because you hate having an incomplete list.
Ginger: Exactly. And I said as much. But he took it to mean “I have a terminal illness” and that now I’m trying to complete my Bucket List.
Ruby: …oh, no.
Ginger: He didn’t want to bring it up with me, though, because I was clearly in the Denial phase of my own process. So, he asked one of my other co-workers what illness I have.
Ginger: She said I’m not dying.
Ginger: She said I’m just on a restricted diet.
Ruby: …why would she say that?
Ginger: Because I’m allergic to peanuts? I don’t know! I think she misunderstood what he was asking!
Ruby: But then, how did all of this happen?
Ginger: Over the next month, various rumors about my failing health circulated the office and someone asked if I was going into a hospital or a special facility and I thought I finally squashed it saying I wasn’t going anywhere and that I wasn’t sick and that I’m not dying of any life-threatening illness.
Ginger: But some manager – not my manager, just some manager – overheard me saying I wasn’t going anywhere, stopped listening after those words and took it to mean I was looking for a new job in another office…or department…or state…or country – with her, it’s hard to tell sometimes.
Ruby: So she started giving you donut parties?
Ginger: She started taking me out to lunch once a week, which I didn’t know why, but…y’know…free lunch?
Ginger: And then because of the lunches, people thought she was trying to hire me into her department.
Ginger: And then my department got wind of that and decided to show me how much they appreciate all that I do, so they sent out invitations to an office-wide Ginger Appreciation Party and the invite was vague so that the other department trying to hire me with lunch once a week wouldn’t know what they were up to…
Ruby: And vague enough that people who hadn’t heard any of the rumors were confused as to why you got a party, so they thought it’s your birthday or anniversary with the company?
Ginger: You’re catching on.
Ruby: I say again – Wow.
Ginger: I have 62 cards in my purse – birthday, anniversary, retirement, congratulations, get well soon, welcome aboard, vague encouragement and one Quinceañera card that I’m still confused about.
Ruby: …yeah, that’s stumped me, too.
Ginger: I have two shopping bags filled with stuffed animals, a handmade baby blanket, two plastic tiaras and one giant mug that says “Bienvenido a Miami.”
Ruby: …was it with the Quinceañera card?
Ruby: What did you do at the party?
Ginger: I did what I had to do.
Ruby: You thanked everyone for coming out and explained it was all just one huge misunderstanding?
Ginger: …is that what I was supposed to do?
Ruby: What did you do?
Ginger: I wore different sunglasses, pretended I was a new hire, told everyone my name was Cassie, asked questions about what was going on and drank coffee like a fish that lives in a pot of coffee. Then when everyone I don’t work with and don’t know left, I had a very serious discussion with the four people leftover and explained the situation exactly as I explained it to you – now that I had all the pieces.
Ruby: Well, at least you explained the situation.
Ginger: They felt the best way to move on from this was to get me a new name badge claiming my name is Cassie Trey and to let people assume Ginger Blaze died, retired, moved to a new company, quit to raise the baby fulltime, or…apparently, went back to finish high school. In Miami.
Ruby: …Cassie Trey?
Ginger: You think of a last name while you’re staring at a fruit tray, vegetable tray, doughnut tray and you forgot to eat lunch again.
Ruby: What’s the real plan?
Ginger: I got a week off to let things settle down. Then the janitorial staff promised to start spreading lies about everyone else in the office so that when I get back next week, no one will remember the strange party I didn’t attend.
Ruby: What’s the real plan?
Ginger: A blend of the two first plans I told you. I get an extra few days off to help erase memories while the IT department does a computer upgrade to distract everyone.
Ruby: That still sounds like a shaky plan…
Ginger: I have to write thank you cards to everyone who gave a gift or a card or brought a food item. That’s what I’m doing on the extra days off.
Ruby: Well. Pace yourself.