“Why does everyone have red wristbands but ours’ are purple?” Brennan asked as they waited in line for their first camp lunch. The chatter in the communal cafeteria was similar to the orientation warehouse; loud and jocular. They had been handed wristbands as they entered the cafeteria and the entirety of the Green Team had been given purple, while it appeared everyone else got red.
“We’re special, clearly,” Patrick said as they moved forward to pick up classic cafeteria trays in shades of gray and rose pink. He threw a wide grin over his back at Brennan who immediately smiled back. Brennan’s eyes drifted down to Patrick’s love handles filling out the camp issued white t-shirt with the big number three on the back. They jiggled a little each time they moved forward in line and Brennan wondered if the number five on his own back was jiggling as well.
Patrick and Brennan approached the windows where ladies were unceremoniously dumping food on plates. Before them, the blue team was receiving what looked like a pasta salad and some sort of sandwich on wheat bread. Brennan’ stomach growled and he couldn’t agree with his belly more. This food wasn’t going to cut it but damn if most corporate events didn’t always tend towards healthier fare. Thus it was with surprised pleasure that he reacted when Patrick and he received their food.
The lunch lady, early 50s and maternal in a scary Russian way, called back to the kitchen, “The purple bands are here” and didn’t attempt to scoop the pasta salad sitting in front of her. She instead handed each member of the green team’s tray to a very skinny guy who ran out in an apron and hairnet from the kitchen swinging doors. He returned shortly with each tray heaping with fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, Caesar salad, two sweet rolls, several slices of brisket and a warm piece of apple pie with two scoops of ice cream on top.
“Holy shit” Dean said, the number four of their corporate green team. Each guy took their tray and was surprised by the sheer weight of it. Brennan used both hands to carry it to the table with the green flag where their leader, Greg sat with his own tray of bottled drinks.
“Hey guys! Come on over and let’s get to know each other better!” He started passing out the bottled drinks, which looked like an off brand Gatorade. Brennan paused before taking his from Greg’s hand. “Greg any chance of getting water?” Greg smiled and shook his head. “Unfortunately the camp water system is a little jacked up so no drinking water. But I’ll be sure to ask for bottled water for the next few days when the coaches meet with administration tonight!” Greg firmly placed the energy drink into Brennan’s hand and moved down the table.
Brennan surveyed the massive amount of food and even though he was trying his hand at gaining, wasn’t sure he would be able to finish it all. He was more of a grazer in general, a snack here, a snack there. He took a bite of the fried chicken and was impressed with how hot and delicious it was. Brennan uncapped the energy drink and took a long swig to follow the chicken. The drink tasted like a lemon lime concoction not unlike most yellow energy drinks. He took a bite of the macaroni and cheese which was also delicious. Good on these camp cooks, he thought. But why did we get this and everyone else gets standard corporate health food?
“Hey Greg, why are we getting this great spread and everyone else got rabbit food?” Patrick beat Brennan to the punch. Patrick took a big drink of the energy drink while looking at Greg for a response. Another classic Greg smile and spreading of his hands. “Guys you lucked out. Only one team is chosen as the Exponential Team and you guys are it. I’ve never had the Exponential Team before so it’s very exciting for me. All week long, you guys get special treatment so you can experience what leadership in corporate America is all about. Enjoy the perks guys!”
Brennan high fived Dean, their number four, and his stomach growled again. He suddenly realized how ravenous he was after the long bus ride and the weighing in. He tore into the brisket and macaroni with abandon. The other guys seemed to be doing the same, for as the other corporate teams of red, orange, black, blue and white were all still chatting amicably, the Green Team was silent. Everyone was eating with a serious intensity.
Within the span of ten minutes, every tray at the Green table was clean and each guy was leaning back with a very full belly. Brennan noticed with a rising reaction that Dean and Patrick’s shirts were raised a half an inch on their guts, a nice healthy section of hairy chub pushing out. Patrick’s classic Italian looks were utterly enhanced with the vision of well-fed plumpness he was giving off. Every guy looked ready to pop.
Patrick let out a large belch and patted his belly contentedly. “Damn this retreat is doing well by me so far. That was a great lunch!” Greg stood up and smiled his Prince Charming grin. “Just wait until dinner! Alright let’s go boys and get you into some workshops!” Brennan stood up with the other guys to head out into the camp and with a quick sway, steadied himself. Dang, he thought, I’m super full. It’s almost throwing me off balance. He gave himself a quick rub on the swollen tightness of his belly and followed the other guys to their first workshop.