Another belated response to a daily prompt. This one is Mind Reader:
It was fun but of course nothing had come of it. Her friends liked their joke; they probably were still laughing that she was gullible enough to believe it could work. She wondered whether the old man had been in on the prank. Oh well; she could take a joke as well as anyone, but she’d have her revenge. Some prank of her own. Still what could she say? She had always been fascinated by magic and she was willing to believe it existed as unlikely as it was.
Ah. Life was going on and no one was hurt except her pride. Even not that much. It was nice outside and today was the last day of the week; something to smile about. Or not if the barrista’s face was anything to go by.
“Good morning, can I have a large green tea, no milk no sugar please?”
“Sure. Anything else?”
“Yes, I’d like a blueberry muffin with it.”
Don’t thank me Lady. It’s just my job. Wish I could quit. It sucks.
“Excuse me?” She asked. The barrista looked at her with a blank stare. “What did you say?”
“I said nothing. Your tea is ready. And here’s your muffin.”
“Thanks. Have a good day.”
Yeah sure, a good day in a crappy job serving coffee to people before they had their first or worse super happy people like you. It sucks to be me.
She turned around looking at the guy but he was serving someone else. What was that?
She sat at a table sipping on her tea and perusing the newspaper: nothing much to be read really. These had truly become an enlarged gossip article not much content on anything but hipster and scandals. Sad to think…
I wonder if he will call me. I hope I didn’t sound too stupid. Gosh and I hope I didn’t have salad stuck in my teeth. I hope he calls.
A voice interrupted; she turned to look up to a teenage girl in dark leggings and a black shapeless dress. She had dark rings under her eyes as if she hadn’t slept at all.
“It’s just a guy,” she volunteered.
The girl looked at her as if she were crazy.
“Why are you talking to me?”
“Oh sorry I thought you were talking to me.” She apologized.
“I wasn’t even talking lady.”
“Ok. Sorry.” She said sounding more confident than she actually felt.
In fact she was quite rattled. What was going on? She grabbed her purse and left the coffee shop: ok so maybe it had worked. But then it begged the question: what the hell did the old man do? And what was he? She reached the bus stop: she nodded to the two men and the one woman who waited for the bus. She had seen them before… a few times; they took the same bus as her to get to work. Well when she was early; she usually took the later bus but today the coffee shop didn’t feel comfortable.
Oh my God! That guy is so hot. Do I speak to him? I see him every day maybe I should.
Look at that ass; man I could do that girl.
Where is that bus for fuck’s sake, I’m going to be late to work.
There was no denying it; she could read people’s mind and for some reason it was not nearly as fun or sexy as she imagined it to be. She suddenly dreaded the bus ride. What if she couldn’t filter people out?
And it turned out she couldn’t. Sitting in the bus she could hear everyone’s thoughts.
Fuck! Did I hide my stash at home? I hope mum doesn’t go in my room?
Why do I have to go to work? Should I go to HR about the harassment? My boss is a pervert. I don’t want to go.
Is my husband cheating on me? It’s the third time this week he says he will be home late.
I can’t believe she dumped me. What a slut!
Ma. I need to pee. I will pee myself.
That meeting should be interesting. Hopefully I get that promotion. What questions could they ask?…
“Are you ok miss?” A voice cut through; the person beside her. The gentleman who had waited for the bus and was so upset at it being late.
“You look a little pale. Nauseous.” Don’t be sick. Or be and I can be your white knight.
“A little. Something’s apparently not settling well. I need some fresh air.” She grabbed the bar and pulled herself up as the man pushed the button to signal the bus driver to stop. “Thanks.”
“My pleasure.” I wish you’d notice me though. We take the same bus every day. Almost.
She startled and took notice. Not now… tomorrow when things settled maybe. When that was dealt with. She stumbled through the crowd fighting their thoughts, which seemed to be waging war upon her mind. It became noise; only noise. But one that erased everything even her own thoughts. When she was finally out she sat down in the bus shelter and picked up her phone. She called Solange.
“Hey sweetie,” the voice came through. “How are you?”
“Ok. No. Not really. Are you busy?”
“No today’s my day off. Aren’t you at work?”
“Not yet. Can you come and pick me up at…” She looked about. “Fairmont and Bayview?”
“Sure. What’s up?”
“If I told you you wouldn’t believe me.”
When Solange arrived she rushed into the car and closed the door; at least the thoughts of the people in the streets no longer reached her. Or for now not so loudly.
What the hell?
“What’s wrong Cass’?”
“It sounds crazy. You know the guy you brought me to last night?”
“Yes…” Are you upset at the joke? Come on.
“I’m not upset Solange.”
“I didn’t say anything.”
“No. You didn’t; I can hear it.”
“What?” What are you talking about? “You don’t look well.”
“I’m not well. And I’m talking about reading people’s minds.”
You’re kidding. Is that your idea of revenge? Not even remotely believable.”
“I’m not kidding. It’s not revenge. Though I have thought of it. And I wouldn’t lie about it.”
“Fuck. You do. Cass’ it was meant to be a joke.”
“I know. But obviously that old man truly could do what he claimed. Can you bring me back to him?”
“I don’t know. He changes location every night. Dan would know. That must be cool.”
“Hearing people’s thoughts… I thought it would be; hence my request last night. But it’s not. Really not. You have no idea.”
“Can you hear me now?”
“Yes… I’m trying not to. But I can’t.”
“What am I thinking?”
“You’re thinking about what you and Dan did last night after you dropped me home. Honestly I don’t want to know the details. Can you stop thinking about it?”
“Does it bother you?”
“That the two of you sleep together. That you have for almost two months. No. That you didn’t tell me? Maybe. I’m not sure yet.”
“Ok. You really can read mind. I’m sorry. I thought you’d be upset. After all, you’ve known him longer.”
“Yes. And I’m not in love with him. We grew up together. He’s like my brother. Stop it! I don’t want to know.”
“I’m sorry I can’t help it.”
“Well you’d better because I really don’t want to think of how good he is in bed when I have coffee with him.”
“Ok. We were supposed to meet for lunch so you can call him.”
She did and they met within the half hour at Dan’s office. He had a meeting to go to but he promised to figure out the place and meet them for lunch. He looked a little bit more than unsettled by what she could do but other than that, he didn’t show much.
“She told me Dan. Well she didn’t really. It’s ok.” He finally smiled and allowed himself to kiss Solange. Gee at least it would make things simpler for them; maybe not for her. She spared a second to wonder if she would become the fifth wheel of this relationship but then other people’s thoughts were already overwhelming her own mind. “It needs to happen fast. I’m going to go crazy otherwise.”
“I’ll get the information. Promise.” He kissed her on the cheek and was gone. Solange drove her to her apartment where she called her boss to advise she was sick and wouldn’t be coming in. She had never missed a day so it wasn’t much to ask though she could hear him think that he would require she work some extra hours since her being off meant that he couldn’t leave early. So now she could hear people’s thoughts even over the phone. How long did she have till she could read people’s mind through walls and everything? She wasn’t looking forward to that. Sitting down on the sofa she put her head in her hands.
“Cass’, drink this.” Her friend gave her a mug of herbal tea and a glass of water. “Here are some sleeping pills. Maybe if you sleep you won’t hear people’s thoughts.”
“Hopefully.” She popped the two pills into her mouth and downed the glass of water before sipping on the infusion. Within ten minutes she felt drowsy. “That’s fast.” She said to her friend who shrugged.
“That’s what my doctor gave me when I had my anxiety attacks. When I first realized how I felt about Dan. It made me so nervous; I didn’t want to destroy our friendship. So yes it’s pretty strong.”
She hadn’t known Solange had felt that way. She didn’t have much chance to speak more as she felt asleep. And woke up in bed at the sound of the alarm going off. Same date 7:30am.
It was only just a dream; a nightmare rather.
She showered and dressed – purposefully different clothes than the ones she had prepared the night before and worn in her dream before heading out to the coffee shop. It was a beautiful day and it was the last day of the week. It was something to smile about though the barrista still looked unhappy as he said
“Good morning. I’d like a large green tea and a blueberry muffin please.”
“No… wait yes.” She whispered. “If you hate it here, just quit. There are other ways to make money.”
“Why do you care? It’s none of your business.” He asked with a frown.
“I know. But I know what it is to be stuck in a job you don’t like. So just quit.” She winked and grabbed her tea before she headed out. She usually didn’t do that.
In the bus shelter her usual companions.
“Good morning.” She said. They looked at her, slightly surprised. But one answered.
“Good morning.” She took notice in her nightmare; she did now. And she extended her hand.
“Stephen. Pleased to meet you.”
“Likewise.” Maybe not a nightmare after all…