Just In Case

Sometimes I’ll tell myself, “I know you’re reading my thoughts.” Not because I think people are reading my thoughts, but, just in case. I’m not sure how this started, but once it’s kicked in, this idea that others are reading my thoughts, it becomes unshakable.

“Are you with us, Pronger?” Finestone asked. Pronger seemed in a daze. The board meeting had commenced. Finestone widened his eyes, but he continued. Pronger nodded, but only after the fact. Connor nudged–motioning from across the conference table–and with a look he asked, are you alright. Pronger swiftly nodded.

Finestone was talking about check orders.

“We have three buyers in Chattanooga,” Finestone continued. “Each one is boiling, two claim it’s actionable, and I say we’re not.”

Finestone’s spitting out jargon, of course, as always. What else is–Pronger halted his thought.

Finestone noticed a squirm in Pronger’s expression. “Pronger, are you alright? What the hell is a matter with you?”

Pronger said nothing. His face however, showed stun.

“Second week in a row, guy. Get it together, now, this is a critical path,” Finestone insisted.

Pronger nodded. Crit_ic_al path–Pronger thought this, but nothing more.

“Yeah. Critical path, Pronger. Critical path,” Finestone said, apparently pleased with the effectiveness of these words.

“You hungover? You’ve been hanging out with Connor too much, that’s the problem,” Finestone exclaimed, although convivial in his tone. The board members laughed, perhaps committedly. All that was except Pronger.

I didn’t hear that–what he’d said, I didn’t hear it.

Finestone tugged his left suspender, and–walking the perimeter of the conference table, stopping at Connor’s chair: “We all know Connor here, he’s got little bit of a wild side to him,” Finestone said, with his hand rested on Connor’s shoulder. Connor smiled, agreeing that this was true. Finestone was gazing into Pronger’s eyes: “He might be persuasive, Pronger, but don’t you go drinking the Kool-aid, now.”

Jargon. Such jargon. Pronger was certainly correct on that assessment. The man was a jargon spitting machine, and complete with two false eyes, perfect for creepy yet effective power gazes.

Pronger said nothing. As did his face. It said nothing.

“OHHH, YEAHHH,” Connor yelled, lurching over the table.

Scared the fuck out of me. It was just the moment, that’s all. And, that and Finestone’s gaze.

The board members had erupted.

Finestone was motioning as if he were crashing his way through a wall: “OHHH, YEAAH,” Finestone blurted. Laughing but, attempting to compose himself: “alright, alright, alright,” he added. “Let’s now, let’s uh–let’s get back on track. But uh, seriously, Pronger, get it together, soldier.”

I didn’t want to think anything. Not even one thing. It was not unlike like a radio where, the knob is continually rotating, cycling through static. Such was the state of my thoughts. Forcibly suspended in a stasis.

Finestone turned toward Connor: “Connor, that goes for you, too, pal. I need you to be a lifter, not a suppressor, umkay.”

Connor nodded. “Ohhh, yeahh,” Connor said, at a normal volume, still playful. Finestone smirked.

“Anyway–”

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