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The traditional ten o'clock convention of the Stimulants Against Sanity Party (coffee break) began with a safe enough bout of reverse ageism, so to speak, with the senior staff (by age) and departmental bosses (by actual seniority) joking about the recent Youth Policy (non-existent), which had led to the influx of a grand total of two (2) new staff members both below the age of thirty, of which He (father of two, ex-army, ex-several things) was one and She (multiple degrees, of a self-wrought development dynasty) was the other. Baby-boomers all, the Seniors tossed about the coffee table a book on "How to Get The Best Out of Your Generation Y Employees", only for Him to point out to the daft old codgers, in His light voice that nevertheless could bark quite sharply when provoked (he trained with the Territorials, weekly), that neither He nor She were actually Gen-Y, but rather, Gen-X, (if somewhat on the cusp, She contradicted Him, but modestly).

He was set to defend Her: against the mockery and sheer inefficiency of the elderly squad, She looked to be his closest ally, in all things, he had seen both her CV and her work, no deadweight, here.

'And what do Gen-X do?' asked Their Boss, raising his beetling grey brows.

'Why,' She said, smiling, 'while you're all busy creating new labels for arbitrary aspects of human nature, we come in and take over for great profit, firstly buying up all the land, speculating on futures, taking your jobs as you retire and then cashing in on our inheritances to re-instigate a class structure based on wealth you've all worked so hard to devolve through your excessive, aimless and not so successful liberalism.'

This was cause for great hilarity amongst the elders, though He, having heard somewhat of Her self-made empire, felt His protectiveness cede slightly to concern.

'I wonder what Darwin would have to say about our Gen-Xs,' said Their Boss wryly.

'Nothing,' He snapped, in unapologetic reprimand of His senior. 'Darwin was long dead by the time that particularly label-maker started printing.'

'Label-makers,' said Their Boss, grinning at the Young Ones. (Changing the world? Ha. They'll see soon enough.) 'How far we've come from monkeys, to our Gen-Xes pontificating, here.'

At which He snorted, an eloquent sound: 'Still confusing "generation" with "evolution", mate. Admittedly they're both a load of arbitrary crap.'

Only then She turned and looked at Him, bright and quizzical. 'You don't believe in Darwin's theory of evolution?'

A silence fell, and cheerfully picked itself back up into a murmur.

Now they were getting somewhere, He thought. He was delighted for further opportunity to show His self, untrammeled by workday topicality.

He leaned into the chair, arm stretched along the back, and propped right ankle on left knee, into a posture credibly both open and superior; all challengers would be welcomed, He said, yet thoroughly put down. Hard-pressed to admit affection for anything, He liked this job specifically for the conversational opportunities, having pretensions above those of His friends (He did strive to keep Himself the largest fish in His social pond). Such highly educated types surrounded Him, and here He was, holding His own against them, and more than! He worked His way up here, hadn't He, from a ground level grunt slogging through mud to now, sitting equally low on the plush pause area's designer sofas, a vital, irreplaceable member of a team of well dressed men and intelligently elegant women.

If He paused to ponder (which He did, occasionally), He recognised the presence of women defining the edges of this very different world. Women in His social circles frankly did not exist: He was married, and for what other reason were women around? Yet here was Woman, a distinct presence in His current workforce, astoundingly well dressed and for the most part minus the betrayingly short skirts and pushup bras of those girls present during His brief liaison with youth. After all, it was not husbands these women were seeking, but promotions, he knew.

He licked His lips, in His contemplative mood. Because, God, wasn't the absence of their blatant sexiness, so damnably sexy!

Carefully, He examined those members of the opposite gender clustered about Him for any possibility of mockery, yet the expressions turned His way conveyed pure and benign neutrality, a gentle feminine interest in His response.

Therefore He delivered the intelligent version: 'Some of Darwin's stuff is relevant, I'll give 'im that. Bits and pieces, you know,' He rolled His shoulders, quirked His lip. 'But we didn't come from monkeys, did we? Look at us, at you,' He gestured with His coffee cup at Her, so very well put together for a successful woman (was it a shame, her slacks, flats and long jackets? He could not decide). 'I think humans were a deliberate design. Purpose made. How can you not?'

'Adam and Eve and the apple and snake?' This from the lady who was Their Boss's Underling. A broad smile, and she twined her hand in a serpentine motion.

'Yes, exactly—'

'Creationism,' said She, who had been the one to question Him. 'You believe in Creationism.'

'Exactly.' Heartened by the lack of contradiction and his Boss's gentle scrutiny, He continued, portentous in imparting the Word: 'Woman came from Adam's hip.'

She corrected, 'Rib.'

'Uh, yeah, I'm...that's what I—'

'I mean,' She smiled at Him thoughtfully, 'one wouldn't want to confuse creationism with a bone marrow transplant.'

At which, the old bastards all laughed.

September 2011

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