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The Tinkered Mind
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May 30th, 2021
Lucilius rubbed his temples and sighed deeply. He loosened his tie aggressively, as though he hadn’t fixed it that tight himself. He swivelled around in his chair and looked out at the city scape below, through his office window. He’d just had a very unsuccessful meeting with a competitor and he was at a total loss about how to move forward. He’d yelled all of the lawyers out of his office just so he could be rid of their yammering about legal technicalities. Lucilius didn’t like pedantic solutions. It was fine if a solution was complex and dynamic, but winning by some snivelling pedantic round-about strategy just wasn’t his style. Plus, even if he won this fiscal battle, the competitor would still be there, polluting their realm of business.
His phone buzzed, and he wondered what other bother had just landed on his radar. He enjoyed one last breath while looking at the silent buildings and then reached back and lazily grabbed his phone.
It was a friend’s request to watch their child. An anniversary his buddy had forgotten about, who was scrambling to pull a night out of the hat.
For the briefest of moments, Lucilius was bitter that his friend had failed to remember just how powerful and busy Lucilius had become. But it passed, and Lucilius was filled with gratitude. He was not yet lost to the perilous realms of self-aggrandizement.
“Sure,” he texted back. He got up and went to a full length bureau that was in his office. He changed into some shorts and a tee-shirt, slipped his feet into flip flops and left the whole mess of his suit on a chair. He threw on some aviators and just waved off everyone who tried to lance him with a question when he finally emerged from his office. He said nothing, but just smiled and shook his head, barely holding in a laugh.
The wind whipped through his hair as the light of the sun grew rusty. It was a perfect drive, far south of the city, along a winding road, carved into the coastal cliff.
The look on his buddy’s face was full of tension swirling with relief. It seemed Lucilius’s timing was perfect as his buddy mouthed the words “thank you.”
“He’s a bit of a handful today, but you’ve never shied away from a challenge now have you Lucilius?”
The woman wore a knowing smile as she spoke about her child. The two embraced and kissed each other on the cheek and she quickly whispered “thank you,” concealing the fact that she knew about her husband’s impromptu attempt to throw together a nice evening for the two of them.
Lucilius waved the two off and then retreated to the house. The kid was probably sulking somewhere, and Lucilius knew he’d show up sometime. In the meantime he went to the kitchen and fixed himself a sandwich. It had been such a long, strange day and it was so good to be transported to this different life, one like a mirage, a hiatus inside the lives of his good friends. He set down a perfect triple decker sandwich on the living room table and slouched back on the couch and clicked the T.V. on. He cracked a beer, took a sip and then picked up one monstrous half of the glorious sandwich.
It was at that moment, just as he was taking his first bite that the little boy screamed in the corner of the room and ran at full speed toward Lucilius in a rage, jumping and hurling his whole body at Lucilius, his fists outstretched in sheer anger.
The sandwich flew apart as it summersaulted from Lucilius’ grasp, busy as his hands and arms were to catch the infuriated kid. The young boy flailed his fists at Lucilius landing tiny blows on Lucilius’s shoulders and neck. Lucilius embraced the boy tighter, kindly, trying to calm the boy, saying over and over “Hey kiddo, it’s ok, it’s ok…”
Lucilius knew the boy well and was familiar with how upset he got when his parents left, especially with little for warning. He gently, and warmly shushed the boy, until the boy was exhausted with tears, slumped on Lucilius’ shoulder. After the boy had calmed down, the two ended up having a wonderful evening, playing games and having fun.
The very next day when Lucilius walked into the board room to meet again with his competitor, he was stiff with stress and anxiety about what his next move should be. But when he finally sat down and looked his competitor in the face across the long table, he saw his friend’s son, angry and confused, looking to lash out, and suddenly Lucilius knew what he had to do. He looked at all his lawyers.
“Leave,” he said. They hesitated, looking at each other. “Leave!” Lucilius aid with a big smile.
His competitor’s brow furrowed as he watched Lucilius’ Lawyers leave.
“You can keep yours if you want,” Lucilius said, motioning to his competitor’s team of lawyers, “but I just had an idea that I think will work for both of us.”