He marched out of the break room door, his anger cocked.
“Attention! Attention, please!” He called in his deep baritone. “Will he or she who took the last donut please stand up?”
The room dropped into silence at his bellow. No one stood. Phil looked around the room. His eyes paused at Carolyn’s empty desk.
“What kind of animal doesn’t clean up after herself?” He yelled. He threw the box onto Carolyn’s desk. Crumbs and sprinkles spilled across her keyboard and pictures of her cat. Phil stormed off to his desk.
By the time he reached his cubicle his anger had stalled and gotten stuck in neutral. At his desk he found a funny thing. Two donuts a sprinkled and a chocolate sat on his keyboard like sentries, guarding between them a hallowed napkin. A napkin with a handwritten note. “If you spent as much time thinking about people as you do food, you’d know who this was from. All my love, your secret admirer.”
“There you are,” Steve said.
“What’s this?” Phil asked.
“I don’t know. Carolyn swung by looking for you. Maybe she knows?” Phil sat down. Those were the kinds Carolyn had taken. He’d seen her eat them, right? He picked up the napkin and read it again.
“Phil about those reports,” Steve said. But Phil was already walking away note in hand, heading down the main corridor toward the break room. He threw the note down on Carolyn’s desk. “Did you do this?” He asked, almost yelling.
Carolyn looked up from her desk. Jennifer her cubicle mate had just been whispering to her about Phil’s escapade. Someone had righted the empty donut box. Silent tears trickled down her face. “What do you think?” she asked almost whispering.
Phil was caught off guard. He hadn’t anticipated the tears or that he’d cause them.
“Do you have something you’d like to say to me?” she asked.
Every alarm bell and security system were going off in his head, but he could not get his feet or his tongue to move.
“Nothing?” she asked.
He wished he could run or hide or crawl into the fetal position right there on the floor but he still could not move.
Carolyn picked up the empty donut box and pushed it into Phil’s arms then walked past him to the bathroom. You could hear her sobs through the door.
Every eye focused on Phil.
He dropped the box.
He backed away slowly, turned, walked and then ran.
He never returned to that office, that job or even Palooka’s. From that day on he never stopped running. From one donut to the next, one job to the next, one relationship to the next. His hunger was so vast, so insatiable that it swallowed him whole.