Friday, March 19, 2010

The Streak - 67

A maid was in the elevator when Evan got in. Absently, he followed her out. It was not the ground floor. Afraid to seem the fool, he strode purposefully the opposite way, to his right. Just a man getting off the elevator. Going where he's going.

He turned the corner to find a long corridor lined with conference rooms, ballrooms, meeting facilities of various configurations. He was fascinated by these desolate, cloistered spaces, haunted by the petty desires of conventioneers, the long-abandoned strategies of work teams, the delusions of get-rich-quick suckers. They were testaments to emptiness: empty chairs, empty tables, empty credenzas, empty vases. Stark, blank whiteboards. If you listened very closely you could hear a hum.

Evan froze. That half-open door on the right, at the end of the hall. Somehow he knew there were people in there. Couldn't see them. Couldn't hear them. But he knew. He sensed the unmistakable vibration of human presence. His heartbeat quickened. He tiptoed up and had a look.

It was them. It was the group. Tetsu, Kyle, Esteban, Sugar, Marlon, Chris. And their guru – what was his name? They sat cross-legged in a circle, eyes closed, heads bowed; a posture evincing gravity and purpose. And solidarity.

"Aum shanti, shanti, shanti, aum..." they chanted in a droning monotone.

Evan glanced at Kyle's solemn face. There seemed to lurk a stranger behind it now. Or was that who he really was?

He walked away in a daze. He got in the elevator. This time he pushed the letter L for lobby.

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