“Don’t you think it’s a little weird?” Claire asked. “I mean, he keeps a picture of the guy on his desk.”

I shrugged and picked a carrot out of my salad.

“I can’t even look at it.” Claire shuddered. “It’s just too creepy. I mean the guy is bleeding from his eyeballs. How can you worship a guy who’s bleeding from his eyeballs?”

“He’s also standing in a field of flowers. Maybe it’s supposed to make some kind of statement.”

Claire pursed her lips and toyed with her necklace. She’d barely touched her chicken.

“Look,” I said, “I’m not saying it’s not weird, but he’s still a good boss, right? I mean, we’re better off than Accounting. They have to ask permission to go to the bathroom.”

Claire didn’t look convinced. “Yeah, but at least they don’t have to listen to their boss chant every morning. It’s always the same thing every day. Doesn’t it creep you out?”

I shrugged again. “None of my business. He could be dancing around naked in there for all I care.”

“Ew.” Claire wrinkled her nose, then huffed and picked up her fork. “Well, someone needs to put a stop to it. It’s just plain unprofessional. I can’t believe they let him drag that nonsense into the office.”

“He doesn’t really bother anyone.”

“I just wish he wouldn’t do it.” Claire looked thoughtful for a second, then beamed at me and picked up her fork. “I’ll pray for him at church tonight. That’s the Christian thing to do.”

“Yeah,” I said. “I guess it is.”

“This is just ridiculous,” says Mom, shifting her considerable weight from one foot to the other. “I don’t understand why we’re still waiting. We never have to wait like this in New York.”

Christopher isn’t listening. He’s got his head bent over his iPhone, and he’s scrolling through his Facebook notifications. “Neil posted on my wall,” he says. “Do you think I should say something back?”

Mom doesn’t answer. Her bright pink shrug is slipping off her shoulder, and she tugs it up with a grunt. It never gets cold in California, not like it does in New York, but she had to wear the shrug. It matches her floor-length gown.

“I posted on his wall,” says Christopher. “I asked if he was coming.”

“Tell him to bring some coffee. You could have gotten us some coffee. I could have used the bathroom. I can’t believe how long we’ve been standing here.”

Christopher puts his phone away. A group of women pass, and Christopher says, “Hey there’s the actress from that show.”

“What show?” asks Mom. She cranes her head and looks behind her, but all she can see is the line, people in jeans and t-shirts. It’s disgraceful. No one in New York would show up looking sloppy.

That show, Ma. You know, the one I pitched to?”

Mom huffs and shakes her head. “I’ll bet you she won’t have to wait.”

Christopher takes his phone out.

“We wouldn’t have to wait if someone liked your script. You must not be pitching it enough.”

Christopher scratches his ear.

“You know, in New York, if you have a ticket, they just let you inside. I don’t understand what the problem is, Christopher. We’ve been waiting out here for ages.”

Christopher tucks his phone back into his pocket. “Neil wrote back,” he says. “He might not come after all.”