12 May 2011
The man with the tropical print tie sat in the meeting room, listening to a presentation about a new database. He was used to giving presentations, not sitting still during them, so he was busy thinking of clever things to interject. So far he’d only come up with “Oh, I bet!” and had used it a couple of times.
The man had a full head of thick black hair, which he wore over the ear — Beatlesesque, he liked to think — and parted on the side. He would prefer to use some old-fashioned hair cream, grease it up real good, but even a man with a tropical print tie and a short sleeve shirt knew that slick and greasy hair was not appropriate for database training.
Audibly yawning, coughing, shifting in his seat — the man was pulling out all his tricks. No one was paying him any attention. He tilted his cup of partially melted ice and Diet Dr Pepper dregs and tapped it for maximum volume. Nothing. No dirty looks, no angry whispers.
He leaned back in his chair, balancing on the back legs. He reached in his Dockers pocket and jangled his change. Jingle-jingle. He counted the coins with his fingers. That’s a quarter, now a nickel, another nickel, Jesus, why do I have so many nickels. Dime, lint ball, penny, another nickel –
The man stopped jingling. He’d fouind something in his pocket he’d forgotten about. What luck! His prayers had been answered!
He carefully pulled out the object, turning it over in the palm of his hand with his thumb.
It was time.
Ping! Ping! He started to clip his fingernails. Ping! A nail skittered across the table. He paused. And then, finally, he heard the sweetest sound coming from someone in the seat behind him.
“Gross,” the person whispered.