It was still raining when James got in his Jeep to drive to work. He still couldn't believe what he found in his son's room last night. He had neglected to tell his wife out of fear she would blame it on him. It's your fault, if you hadn't of done it in college then he wouldn't be doing it now, they say it’s genetic you know. I did it twice.
James sipped his coffee. He usually didn't drink coffee in the morning, coffee was his wife's morning drink, he preferred a nice cup of tea but this morning he needed a jolt. Something to bring him back to reality after what he dreamed last night; something to help him compose himself enough so he could do his presentation today.
James was almost to work when he realized that he had left his laptop at home. He usually worked from home, he had a nice office. It was in the basement with the rest of his computer equipment. It was one of the few sanctuaries he had where his family knew not to bother him. Probably because they assumed he was doing work.
James phoned his wife. They had always had a happy marriage. . .RING. . .They had their share of fights but everyone does. . .RING. . .Why isn't she picking up. . .RING. . .I wonder where she could be. . .click. . .You have reached the mail box of. . .5. . .4. . .1. . .James always hated computer voices . . . 3. . .2. . .6. . .3. . .8. . .2. . .7. . .please leave a message after the tone . . . James hung up. She never responded to his voice mails except in person so he stopped leaving them years ago, might as well right it on a post-it note.
Not having his laptop wasn't going to be that much of an issue. He had everything he needed for the presentation he was going to give today but he knew that whenever he forgot something he always ended up needing it.
Flashing his ID card to the guard James hopped onto the elevator almost tripping. Sixteenth floor, I need to be on the sixteenth floor. James was always nervous on elevators. He never knew why, maybe he was claustrophobic, or maybe he just didn't like being so close to people, especially ones who had hairy nostrils and a rather rotund belly. James had seen this man before; he usually waited for the next elevator so he wouldn't have to share it with the man but today the man stepped on after James had.
James felt bad. It isn't this man's fault, I just feel uncomfortable around him. Why haven't we reached the sixteenth floor yet! The panel on the wall said fifth floor. James was about to scream. Seventh floor. Good we skipped a floor. The doors opened on the eighth floor and by the time they closed on the ninth the two people in the elevator had turned into twelve and James was being pressed uncomfortably against the man he had dubbed Orson Welles.
James fiddled with his keys in his pocket. A woman from the eighth floor flashed him a look. James stuck his hand in his back pocket to feel his wallet and elbowed a man in a silk shirt and tie who was holding coffee. The man yelped as the steaming coffee spilled on his silk shirt and James jumped into the fleshy arms of the hairy beast he hated. The fat man looked startled as if he had not noticed the commotion that was going on between James and the silk shirt and tie man and took a jump back.
All of this happened just as the elevator had reached the sixteenth floor. By the time everyone knew what had happened James had bolted out the doors of the elevator and was down the hall before anyone could give chase.
Walking into the conference room James became much more comfortable. Most of the members of his team were already there, as well as the customers. James seemed to be the last person they were waiting on. So he took his place in front of the projector.
Several hours into the presentation they broke for lunch. James picked up a sandwich and walked down the hallway. He needed some alone time, presentations like this always drained him. He also needed to call his wife.
She answered rather quickly this time, surprising James; she usually takes at least three rings.
"Hello dear," James wife answered.
"Hi, I was just checking on how you were doing . . . ummm . . . I tried calling earlier but you didn't answer. . ."
"Oh, I had an appointment, don't worry about it, we do have some things we need to talk about though."
"Yea, I agree."
"What?" She sounds startled, like she already knows what I found. She already knows that I am a failure, she is just waiting for me to bring it up so she can tell me how it is my fault he is doing this now. Why did I bring this up, I should have waited till I got home, at least.
James was the anxious one now. "Oh, it’s about our son. I found something in his room last night that we need to discuss."
"What was it?"
"What do you think?"
"Wait, you didn't find. . ."
"Yea, and I know what you are going to say, how it's my fault, how if I didn't do it in college. . ."
"No, James, this is serious, but we have other things to talk about as well. How about we meet for dinner some where after you get off work."
"Ok. That sounds fine."
"I love you, James."
"Yea, I know."
James hung up the phone and finished his sandwich. He didn't like where this was going. He didn't like it at all.