Bert could feel his ears burning. “Riley!” he shouted.
Riley popped his head above his cubicle. “You bellowed?” He wore a sinister smile that only inflamed Bert’s rage.
“I’m done with you. Never again. You hear me?” cried Bert.
“What now?” asked Riley with a roll of his eyes.
“You stole my proposal,” accused Bert. He waved a stack of papers bound in a plastic cover.
“You’re exaggerating,” replied Riley.
Bert’s eyes bugged out. “Really? You change three words of my proposal and pass it off as your own.”
“That’s just semantics. What you call changing three words, I call making significant intellectual improvements.”
“What’s the difference?”
“Well,” said Riley, “In this case, it’s the difference between a good proposal and an exceptional one.”
A growl formed in Bert’s throat. “Enjoy this, because it’s never gonna happen again.”
Riley held up his hands in an effort to calm down his colleague. “Don’t get so worked up. You’re still a vital part of the team.”
“That’s because I do all the work!”
“And that’s vital,” joked Riley.
“Well, no more. I’m done being used,” exclaimed Bert.
“You see? That’s why you’re so upset. You’re looking at this from completely the wrong angle,” said Riley.
“Okay, enlighten me,” replied Bert, with arms crossed.
“Being used is just another way of saying you’re useful. Everybody wants to feel useful, don’t they?” asked Riley. His sinister smile returned.
Bert thought through Riley’s reasoning.
“You’re an evil man,” declared Bert, “You hear me? Evil.”
It made Riley laugh. “What some call evil,” he explained, “others call an effective use of human resources.”