A STORY by CECILIA KENNEDY

REMOTE TEAM USES TEXT-BASED CHAT FOR UNITY AND COHESION


Executive Director Natasha: Oops! I accidentally hit the audio option, but we’re not using

audio. Ever. Not allowed. Please don’t use the audio.


Executive Director Ed: Can someone tell everyone on the audio call to hang up and join us

here? Here are a few tips for using the chat feature: 1) You can create a new topic, or 2) you can

hit “reply.”


Heather123: Hello, everyone.


Janine40#: Hello!


Amber45&: Good morning!


Salisha805: Hello! Hello!


Fifteen Employees: Hello!


Executive Director Natasha: Hi, my name is Natasha Felding, and I’ve been with this company

for over 20 years. I like to snow board in my free time. Now, I’ll stop talking, so you all can chat.

Heather123: I’m from New York, and I live for antiquing. Woohoo!


Janine40#: I live in Ohio, and I don’t have much free time. I have, like eight kids and this job.


Amber45&: I live in West Virginia, and we were without power for a while, which means I’m

making up for lost time on the j-o-b.


Salisha805: I live in the state of Washington. Sometimes we get earthquakes while I’m working

here, but usually everything’s okay.


Executive Director Ed: I live in Alaska, and I like to go fishing.


Mishaocto8: Sorry I’m late to the party. I love to read and hike and make ceviche.


Executive Director Ed: I like ceviche.


Mishaocto8: If you like fishing, ceviche would be a great thing to make.


Jenna*867: Can we talk about the training manual? It needs some major updates and

corrections.


Executive Director Ed: What kind of protein do you like for your ceviche?


Mishaocto8: Well, it just depends on what I have in the house. Sometimes I make it with shrimp

or octopus.


Jenna*867: There are some serious errors in the training manual. I’ve just been correcting them

on my own, but if we train people, based on the suggested guidelines, our trainees could be

giving customers the wrong advice about our products, which would lead to serious lawsuits and

injury.


Regina!425: I agree. I’ve just been changing it on my own.


Executive Director Ed: Tell me more about the octopus.


Mishaocto8: It’s not native to where I live, but there’s this great market that flies things in from

all over.


Executive Director Ed: I bet they get things from Alaska.


Mishaocto8: Smiley face/thumbs up emojis.


Tammy95%: For instance, the training manual tells trainees that they can tell customers to use

our appliances safely near water, but I don’t think that’s the case.


Susie^679: I’ve just been crossing that part out.


Anisha(444: I haven’t done that, but I tell the trainee about it and hope they take notes.


Mishaocto8: You know what goes well with ceviche? A big hunk of crusty sourdough. I make

the starter myself.


Executive Director Ed: Get out! Really?


Jenna*867: It’s settled, then? We just cross that part out of the training manual? Can we do that?


Rae999: That’s what I’ll do. What are you all doing this afternoon?


Regina!425: I’ll take my Huskey, Charles, out for a walk.


Tammy95%: Hey! I have a Huskey too.


Regina999: I also like ceviche, @Executive Director Ed and @Mishaocto8!


Jenna#867: It’s great with hunks of sourdough—to sop up all of the juices.


Kayleigh54: Yum!


Executive Director Ed: Just letting you know that we’ll go past the original designated time for

this meeting, since the conversation is picking up. Don’t feel like you have to stay, though.


Heather)490: What do you do when you get distracted training someone?


Mishaocto8: Hey, @Executive Director Ed! I’m uploading a picture of the sourdough starter

from my fridge. It’s kind of gross, but it’ll give you an idea of how I make the bread to

accompany the ceviche.


Executive Director Ed: Wow! That is gross! But I’ll bet it makes a mighty fine bread.


Janelle65: Sometimes, I keep an Excel sheet to help me concentrate, with columns that read: What to Tell a Trainee/What Not to Tell a Trainee.


Winnie7423500: Ooh! I’d like to borrow that.


Rylie4250303: I’m not sure that will help me remain focused, especially when I get depressed

because the amount of work to do keeps dwindling lately, and I make just above minimum wage,

and we can’t call or video-chat. This is nice and all, but


Mishaocto8: Sometimes I meditate while making ceviche—outside of work hours, of course.


Heather)490: I’ll have to try that.


Regina!425: I have to go now. Bye.


Nineteen Employees: Bye! Bye! Have a great day!


Executive Director Ed: There’s another meeting scheduled for next Thursday at the same time.

Bring your recommendations—or recipes if you’d like!


Mishaocto8: Here’s the website for buying octopus online: www…..

 

Cecilia Kennedy (she/her) taught English and Spanish courses in Ohio for over 20 years before moving to Washington state with her family. Since 2017, she has written and published short stories in journals, magazines, and anthologies online and in print in the United States, Canada, England, and Ireland. The Places We Haunt is her first short story collection. She is also an editor for Flash Fiction Magazine and Running Wild Press, an adult beverages columnist for The Daily Drunk, and she writes a weekly humor blog.