In the middle of a hotel hallway I ran into my old group from my old firm having a meeting. I looked around. While most of the faces were new, of course, a few were familiar. A few were there who had left before I did.
I was looking at a display of boxed tchotchkes, mostly pens, when one of the old office managers, apparently recognizing me, told me not to take any and hinted strongly that I should leave. I had some papers and one of the tchotchkes in my hand, but I didn’t remember taking it; I think someone who had talked to me had given it to me. I tried to hide it from her in the papers. Her attitude seemed unduly belligerent and offensive, the opposite of mine. I was mainly curious.
Then a young man was introduced whom I knew to be a temporary administrative assistant. His computer screen was projected; it was a simulation of a battle. His side went into retreat immediately and could not recover, and I was embarrassed for him since he was supposed to be an expert. The person who had introduced him said, “Consolidate your forces!” so he rammed them altogether on a beachhead at twilight in a massive pileup.
I remembered what had been said of me (I was told) when I left, that I had walked out abruptly, without warning or notice, and how no one had believed such an obvious fabrication. I still resent it.