Continuation of yesterday's post. The working title for this piece is Separated Fog and it is taking on a mild sci-fi mood. Hope you like it!
She craned sideways to see who had been talking. No one was giving off the telltale signs of having just spoken in a meeting. No sidebar conversations between two women, eyes shifting toward the former speaker. No one attempting to look overly casual and unaware that she had just made a conscious and unrequested announcement of her opinion. Whoever it was, she really was experienced, because she was a ghost.
The meeting ended shortly after the phantom speaker. Joan collected her belongings with the same care and diligence employed by a post-graduate paleontologist who was looking for tenure among the brachiosaurus bones. Anything was better than going back to her desk. She had just begun the totally necessary task of rearranging the items in her bag when she heard her phone vibrate.
She emptied all but the most incriminating objects out onto the table before she found it, a magical device that manages to be the size of a small hoagie, but still impossible to find by touch, unlike a small hoagie. She pressed it against her cheek until the soft foam formed around her jawline. With her hands free, she started ever so slowly to refill her bag.
“Hey, babe. What are you doing for lunch?”
“I hadn’t decided. Did you see the link I sent you?”
“Yeah, but I was there last week. How about Gina’s?”
She had been to Gina’s a few days ago, but she was afraid another setback in the planning making would end the negotiations, so she agreed.
As soon as she pulled the phone off her face, she realized she wasn’t alone in the room.
“Gina’s is awful.” It was the same voice that had spoke in the meeting. Now Joan realized why she hadn’t been able to find her in the crowd.
“What are you doing here?”
“I was bored. There was nothing to do around the house.” Joan thought about all that could be done around the house, like cleaning or more cleaning. A flash of anger traveled across her face and made her forehead twitch.
“You shouldn’t have come here. And you definitely shouldn’t have talked during the meeting.”
“You mean the presentation? I don’t consider your stellar contribution to have turned it into some sort of collaborative event. Anyway, nobody saw me and you were the only one that was listening, barely.”
“I just don’t want to get us in trouble.” She immediately regretted saying that out loud, until she remember that the harm was in the thinking it, not saying it.