u201cHow many made it, exactly?u201d Nysha asks, looking at the young man in the security vest.
u201cUm,u201d the young man stumbles over his words as he flips through a stack of papers in his hands. He stops on one page, pulls it to the top, and begins to count. Nysha watches his lips move as he counts silently.
u201c36, mau2019am. Including yourself.u201d The young man finally says.
u201cDoes that include the baby?u201d Nysha asks.
u201cUh,u201d the young man scans the paper over, then sets the stack on the table as he pulls a pen from his vest pocket and scribbles at the bottom of the top sheet. u201c37, mau2019am.u201d
u201c37 people; out of two hundred sixteen.u201d Nysha sighs heavily. u201cZero engineers, zero electricians, zero plumbersu2026 I donu2019t think any one of them are farmers, either.u201d
u201cUh, no mau2019am, but, uh,u201d the young man hesitates, then closes his mouth.
u201cYes, Jeremy? If you have an idea, I am all ears.u201d
u201cWell,u201d Jeremy pauses, swallows, then finds the courage to speak. u201cWell, I know theyu2019re not farmers, but I know at least one person here who, uh, has some experience, um, growingu2026 stuffu2026 in an indoor environment.u201d
u201cAh, wonderful. We do not have anyone who can fix a light switch, but we have someone who can grow some pot.u201d Nysha says.
u201cYeeeaaaaah, pahhht,u201d Jeremy repeats, suspiciously slow. Nysha gives him an unamused look, then nods and smiles.
u201cThank you, Jeremy, that could actually be helpful. If I need anything more, I will call for you.u201d Nysha rises from her seat and Jeremy takes the cue to leave. He leaves the papers on the desk and turns for the door. The door swings open as Jeremy approaches and he freezes mid-step, barely stopping in time to avoid running into the woman standing outside with one arm raised, ready to knock, and an infant tucked in her other arm.
u201cOh, sorry,u201d Samantha says, quickly stepping to the side to allow Jeremy to exit.
u201cNo worries, mau2019am.u201d The young man says. He nods his head politely and passes by.
Nysha smiles warmly as Samantha steps inside.
u201cSamantha!u201d Nysha calls when she sees the new mother. She raises a hand and waves her closer. u201cCome to join me for dinner? We have plenty of M.R.E.s. Enough to last us all a few decades.u201d Nysha motions to the seat across from her desk. Samantha chuckles as she sits.
u201cNou2026 well, maybe, but no, I came here to say thank you for this morning.u201d
u201cPlease, there is no need to thank me. I am happy that I was able to help.u201d
u201cYou were a lot of help, and you made me realize I really need to be here to take care of Shay-u201c
u201cOh! You went with my suggestion!u201d Nysha interrupts Samantha with a joyful clap of her hands. u201cI am so glad.u201d
Samantha chuckles again and nods.
u201cYes, you were right. It is cute. I like it. But, I wanted to let you know that I am here. I have my arms full right now, but-u201c Samantha pauses briefly, shifts the infant in her arms, and looks Nysha in the eyes. u201cI knew my husband’s work here. He needed to study a lot for the position, and I was always there helping him along. I actually know the ins and outs of this facility fairly well.u201d
u201cI didnu2019t expect to have my position questioned so quickly,u201d Nysha says, leaning back in her seat.
u201cOh, no, no-u201c Samantha leans forward, extending her hand and resting it on the desk as though trying to comfort Nysha. u201cNo, I didnu2019t mean- I have my hands full as it is raising Shay, thereu2019s no way I could take your position here. Itu2019s just, you offered me help when I needed it, and I want you to know that I am here for you – in an advisory position.u201d
Nyshau2019s expression slowly shifts from suspicion back to a smile.
u201cI see. Well, we are severely short-staffed. So, youu2019re hired.u201du00a0