They jumped into the Beetle and sputtered over to Capitol Hill. On the way Justin told Shelby more about life at Mega Software. She laughed in pain with him. “Jesus—that sounds awful. I wonder how those people got so damaged.”
“I don’t know and I really don’t care. Try to imagine living your whole life like that.”
“Sounds like S&M without the fun.”
“Yeah, but you wouldn’t want to see any of those people in leather.”
Shelby found a back-in spot on Tenth Avenue and they stumbled over to Caffé Vita. After waiting in line without complaint for two perfectly-executed cappuccinos, they decided to sit downstairs where their conversation wouldn’t disturb the laptop geeks who always seemed to fill the upstairs seating area.
Shelby picked up where she left off.
“It’s hard to describe—something was definitely going on inside. I knew only one thing for sure—I was finally done with learning mode, at least in the traditional sense. And I think the experience on the plane convinced me that what I’d learned in college had been pretty much a waste anyway, so to hell with learning. I wanted to do something!
“Anyway, I don’t know if I ever told you, but when I’m ready to go through major changes, I get this incredible urge to sleep, like my dreams are pulling me inside, demanding that I pay attention. I had tons of dreams in BA. I don’t remember most of them, but there was one that finally cleared the fog from my head.
“It was you and me. We were out on the deck like we used to be but we were surrounded by a film crew—I don’t know why. We were just talking as always, and they’d move in for close-ups on our faces like what we were saying was like the most monumental pronouncements imaginable. Then somehow it became more of an interview format, and I was interviewing you. At first I didn’t know what I was interviewing you about, but I hung in there, confident and smiling, just like those bimbos on the morning shows.”
“How did I do?” Justin asked.
“You sucked,” Shelby laughed.
“Not surprised,” Justin smiled. “Couldn’t even imagine it in a dream.”
“But the dream got me thinking about seeing myself as someone who right now would be impossible for me or for anyone I know to imagine. I liked that.”
“So . . . you’re going to launch a career in broadcast journalism,” Justin snickered.
Years later he would still remember the look that appeared on her face when she looked up from her coffee. Only one word could describe that look: wicked.
“No. Something much better,” Shelby smiled. A wicked smile.
Justin felt himself getting curiously tense. “What?” he said.
“You’re part of it, too,” she smiled.
Justin was now even more uncomfortable, and said nothing.
Justin took the plunge. “Okay—what?”
“You and I are going to be the founders of a new world religion.”
–From Ringing True
©2010 Robert Morrow. Ringing True is available in e-book, hardcover and paperback formats on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powell’s and many other booksellers. Go to www.ringingtrue.com for a current listing of online retailers.