Dan clapped Glynis on the back with enough force to stun an elk. "Set up for the presentation?" He smiled at her.

Glynis blinked as if to hold her eyes in her head, and said nothing. Dan Maxwell was her manager. Mr. Jerry Barnes was his manager. She'd never done a presentation for Mr. Barnes before.

"It's only Jerry, Glyn. He just wants to see exactly what you've done to streamline the interface," he said, leaning over her shoulder. "Did you set up the demo like I asked?"

"Yep." Glynis forced her frizzy hair into a barrette.

"You nervous?" Dan laughed, watching her thin fingers tremble over the keys of her laptop.

"Kind of." She busied herself with the projector cords. Words lurked like a bubble in her throat. She let them sit and wait, escaping only one or two at a time.

"Relax, Glyn." Dan waved her away from the projector cords she'd been struggling with, pushed plugs into outlets with ease. "It's not a big deal."

"Mmhm." She picked at pills on her sweater.

Mr. Barnes passed by the windows along the conference room wall, and then stuck his head in the door. "Hey, all set?"

Dan settled into a chair next to Glynis. She didn't answer, so he did. "Sure are!" Glynis wondered if confidence could be received by osmosis. Maybe if she touched him…she scolded herself for thinking about touching her boss, and just smiled at Mr. Barnes.

He smiled too, avoiding Glynis' gaze. "Well, I thought I'd bring the interns in as well, it'd be great for them to see someone really take the software by the throat, eh?" He gave a little courtesy laugh to lighten the mood. "I'll just round them up and we'll get started."

Glynis let out a stilted, rolling laugh, her nervous energy steaming up the room. She imagined it like moisture, condensing on the windows, both men inhaling it without knowing. She stuck the end of her pen in her mouth and went back to the computer.

With a wide glance at Dan, Jerry went to fetch the interns.

"I'm going to get a drink," Dan said, not moving. "Do you want anything, Glyn? Water? Coffee? A muffin or something?"

"That would be nice." Glynis didn't look up from the screen.

One of Dan's eyebrows hovered close to his hairline. "Which one?"

"Hmm?" She looked up. "Oh. Water would be good."

Dan returned as the interns filed into the conference room. Glynis sat at the computer, fidgeting with her earring and treating everyone like plate-glass. Mr. Barnes sat opposite Glynis, tapping on the screen of his PDA, while nine interns fanned alongside him. Dan hit the lights and sat down. The chatter started to peter out, and everyone watched the shaky cursor making slow circles on the projector screen while Glynis stared at her laptop.

"Hi, everyone…" Dan adjusted his cuff and filled the silence. "This is Glynis Carson, our Interface Coordina –"

"Hi." Glynis winced as she cut Dan off.

Dan looked at her, thinking she would finish. Glynis looked at him, pulling at her hangnails. "Glynis has been working with our newest applications," he continued, "and found a way to streamline the modules to be more efficient for our needs, so she's going to tell you all about that." Dan picked up his coffee and took a long sip.

"Hi," Glynis repeated. "I'm going to show a PowerPoint presentation."

One of the interns snickered. Glynis glanced up at her. She was blonde, and wearing a suit. Glynis glanced down at her wrinkled pants. Everyone else had ironed their pants. She should have worn a skirt.

A presentation entitled Pharmaceutical Client Relations and You! filled the screen. An image of Janet Leigh took up the bottom half of the slide.

"So, uh…." Glynis sat up in her chair. "I've titled my presentation 'Pharmaceutical Client Relations and You' because it's my understanding that what's old is new again!" She smiled a grid, gnashing her teeth together. "You know, in a retro kind of way…people are getting really into vintage, so I decided to use a fifties motif…"

She paused while the suited blonde giggled again.

"Janet Leigh was a film star of that era…" she continued. "So I thought that would fit the motif." She hesitated before clicking the next slide, looking for a recovery. "Also! If she'd been in touch with someone in Pharmaceutical Client Relations, maybe Norman Bates would have gotten the drugs he needed for his delusional psychosis and she wouldn't have gotten killed in the shower!" Glynis looked around the room. "Sorry, Spoiler alert!"

Mr. Barnes shifted in his seat.

"What we do here is very important." She continued. "Janet could have had way more screen time, don't you think?" The words were pouring out of her mouth faster than she could contain them. The bubble had burst. Glynis chided herself for her verbal haemophilia and changed the slide.

As the room darkened, waiting for the next slide to load, Glynis almost imagined a little pool of blood forming on the table in front of her – all of those escaped words dribbling down her lips. She wiped her mouth on the back of her hand. The slide lit up the room.

"So, I'm sure you're all familiar with the linear access module, though it's not really linear or easy to access, eh?" She faded into that awkward rolling chuckle again. Each guffaw really carried in such a small room, each syllable a bursting embolism. She blinked. Dan and all the interns closest to her, were spattered in blood.

She blinked again. No, they weren't. Just being silly.

"Anyway…." She paused. A young guy in silver-rimmed glasses caught her eye for a second and looked away, suddenly interested in the length of his cuticles. She glanced back at the slide. "Now, load up your client file. I'm using a generic health unit outline…"

She clicked to the next screenshot, and swallowed, forcing all those bloody words back down, trying to seal up the bubble again. She clicked through the next few slides of her presentation, licking her lips to keep the narration to a minimum.

"Sorry, Glyn, can you click back for a second?" Mr. Barnes asked, looking up from his PDA. "Can you tell everyone how exactly this works?"

She paused and glanced at the slide. Step four. She could explain step four.

"Okay," she sat up straighter, hoping if she didn't slouch, that sanguine ball would slide backwards into her, rather than out into the air. "So you take the client file and open the options panel. This is where you would normally decide which type of product they receive from us – capsule, vaccine, or research. The problem here was that you couldn't select more than one, and many of our clients receive both vaccine and capsule options. I'm sure most of you spent a lot of time making a second client file to apply to the extra option. Or, at least, you should have, because then I wouldn't have had to re-do all of the-"

Glynis reminded herself not to pick on the interns. She'd been one too, a long time ago. She offered a toothy grin in place of finishing the sentence. "In any case, if you go back to the desktop and open the modifier module I'll be e-mailing everyone, it will modify the program so you can choose both options. Wouldn't it be nice if you could always choose more than one option?"

Dan stared past Glynis as she continued.

"It would make the last episode of The Bachelor so much less heartbreaking, wouldn't it? Of course, that would mean polygamy would have to be legal, but we're all so indecisive anyway, it might not be so bad, maybe even a little romantic," she gushed.

Mr. Barnes put his PDA on the table, his eyes on Glynis. She avoided his glance and licked her lips instead, hoping to keep it all in.

"Does this work on all client files?" An intern in a checked shirt piped up. "Since private client files are a different module?"

Glynis smiled. "Interns always have trouble with their privates, don't they Dan? Don't you remember last year, when Jeremy made his privates public?"

Dan grit his teeth and looked into his lap while the interns giggled amongst themselves. Glynis' laugh sprayed out from behind the hand cupped over her mouth. She closed her eyes, and wondered if the moisture in her palm would turn out to be blood, and if it were sliding down the window next to her, a high velocity spatter of her awkward demeanour. Why couldn't she clot?