By: Lee Almodovar
The leaves rustled gently as the wind cradled itself through the tree's thick branches, tickling the scalding hot surface of the car below the tree, moving through the tufts of fur behind the ears of the little yellow and white dog. The dog raised a sleepy eye towards its master, watching as the man leaned back lazily in his chair leisurely scribbling on a sketch pad desperately trying to capture the flight of a solitary green leaf on its way to the unyielding grass and dirt mixture below. The afternoon sun had settled nicely above the trees, filtering its rays like small light swords through the varying holes the tree created in the midst of its shade.
The ice cubes tinkled lightly against his lemonade glass almost harmonizing with the twitter of the little birds flying about, swooping high and low between the branches of the large tree. The air held its usual aroma of the city mixed in with the after-rain smells of spring. He set down his sketch pad next to the glass of lemonade, watching as the condensation droplets rolled down the side of the glass, and ran his fingers through his soft, short blond hair. A deep sigh rolled out of him, his puppy raising its fluffy head to stare up at its master, and pushed his arms and legs out in an elongated stretch of laziness.
Settling back deeper into the plushy deck chair he bought specifically for these lazy afternoons, he interlaced his fingers placing them gently on his chest while closing his eyes to feel the warm sun radiating upon him. His toes twitched slightly tickled by the breeze; the water in his small, round pool creating small waves under the breeze. If time had frozen at that precise moment, he would have been in heaven. Instead, the phone rang.
Since his afternoon had been shot, he sat in traffic in his small compact car dressed in the casual business suit he had picked up from an earlier trip to Singapore. He stared at his hair in the rearview mirror, watching as the crawl in front of him eased its way down the highway, and contemplated ditching everything to return to his mini-paradise at home. He focused on the "Wide Load" bumper sticker on the SUV ahead of him, and sank into the worlds within his mind. Idle forward, slowly step on the brake pedal, idle forward again, slowly step on the brake pedal, idle forward once more, mash the brake pedal, damned motorcycle. Watching as the other drivers flipped off the motorcyclist, and then dissolve back into the world within.
He sat, slightly hunched over the steering wheel, his speakers pumping out cool beats from the university's jazz radio station, watching the road markers come alive and dance across the lanes. Realizing his fantasies of the markers jumping down and attacking the careless motorcyclist much to the boisterous content of the other motorists. Loud, intermittent honks and cheering. Honk! Honk! HONK!
He snapped back into reality. Traffic had picked up, and the bitch in her own luxury SUV behind him had discovered how to use the horn. He gave a gingerly wave at the miserly old hag, and gently accelerated his car up to speed with the traffic that had initially ditched him. His cell phone rang, but was met with an increase in radio volume and a settling into the driver's seat for the last twenty-minute leg of his tired journey.
His proximity card refused to unlock the front doors. He stood in front of the office building on a Saturday afternoon staring at his proximity card and the authenticator box, the same breeze from earlier rustling his wrinkled Armani suit. He slid the cards in between the partition in the glass doors, and swished them back and forth in an effort to activate the motion sensor above the door. Loud click. Success. As he stepped through the doors, the authenticator box happily beeped behind him, unlocking the doors yet again. He sighed and rolled his deep blue eyes and walked up to the bank of elevators.
His cell phone began to ring again. He removed it from its belt holster and shoved it deep within his leather briefcase muffling any attempt to reach him. He wasn't there. He didn't want to be there. But, they needed him. They craved his knowledge. They were low on intelligence, and he was willing to share if the price was right. Saturday was not part of the deal, however.
The elevator sailed up the twenty-three floors efficiently and quietly. He stepped out into a sprawling silver and blue schemed lobby, his organization logo prominently displayed in the center of the room just behind the vacated receptionist's desk. To the left of the desk, a set of blue frosted floor-to-ceiling glass doors beckoned him forth. To the right, a vast silver brushed wall displaying certifications from the more important figures in the company along with various awards and statuettes. He despised the materialism of his bosses, but they paid him well to keep his imaginations flourishing. He despised the sweatshop fruits he wore; clothing forced upon him by the corporate big wigs. He swiped his proximity card over the authenticator box. Nothing. He sighed and swiped over the box again. Not a single confirmation or denial. He sighed and outstretched a hand to lean on the locked doors, but instead shifted his weight when the door mysteriously slid open. Unlocked?
The conference room was deserted. The leather seats and polished glass table sat in order, with a single parchment sitting at the head chair. He set down his briefcase on the table, a soft clinging from the glass rattling throughout, and walked up to the parchment. After a quick perusal of the document, he gathered up his briefcase and walked back towards the front doors. They took care of the issue, and tried to call him twice to let him know they were leaving. Drat.
The purple evening sun dipped lazily into the horizon just beyond his pool. He sat clad in shorts and a t-shirt watching the orb set while sketching the vista in front of him. The little puppy ran busily back and forth across the yard chasing after a small red ball. His phone rang yet again, but muffled out as the water surrounded it on its way to the bottom of the pool. He closed his eyes, and drifted away to enjoy what was left of his weekend.