I need to think more about how I tell this Televerde story, and since I am traveling, I am going to head back into The Trees for a bit. When we last were hanging with Dan and his family, they had just had dinner at the Rawls' house and Dan was dismissing his thought about J.R. and Brynn being together. Little did he know, right?
It was September 2 when the last piece of that story was added to the site, but it is all on the Ergonomic Fiction page if you want a refresher. Remember, this is a first draft...
Chapter 5 (part 16)
Dan caught John smirking at his phone as they waited to board the plane to LAX.
“Did you see Rob’s text?” John asked.
“He said he cancelled our car and would pick us up himself. He also said, ‘You won’t be able to miss me.’”
“Fuckin’ Rob,” Dan responded.
In a little over an hour, they would see what Rob meant, so Dan put it out of his mind. Rob always had something cooking but he’d been quiet about things since Vivian died. Dan thought about how good it would be to see their friend and partner in person. He was hoping Rob would have something to help take his mind off everything.
One of the few things John and Dan agreed on when it came to splurging a bit was travel. While John had sunk a fair amount of money into his home and always had the latest tech to play with, Dan had bought a nice piece of property and built an amazing cabin near Payson, which is about an hour and a half from Phoenix. Once the company was on solid ground, though, they always flew first class and made sure anyone traveling for business at Evolve did it in style.
When they settled into their seats, Dan felt a sharp pain in his lower back. This wasn’t uncommon, but the last thing he wanted to do was sit there and suffer for the hour or so they would be on the plane. He hadn’t had a chance to get to a dispensary yet, but he thought John might have some gummies on him. Maybe that would help.
“Hey…do you have one of those gummies on you?”
“Yes, I do. Do you want to sleep? Laugh? What about something that will make you think? I have a few different kinds.”
“Anything that would be good for pain?”
John’s smile waned.
“Yes, I got you covered. Hold on a sec…”
John fished around in his laptop bag and handed Dan a candy that looked like one of those “snow cap” chocolates.
“Really?” Dan asked.
“Just chew it up and in 20 minutes or so, the pain will be gone. Guaranteed.”
John would know. A few years earlier, he had gone through a painful surgery and recovery process due to tearing his ACL when he took a wrong step while hiking with the kids. He swore by his “candy” and was had been back hiking with gusto for almost a year.
Dan chewed the candy quickly and swallowed. He didn’t like the idea being high for their chat with Rob, but John was there to help and, if he knew Rob, they wouldn’t get down to anything serious until after lunch. He wasn’t looking forward to delivering more bad news to his friend.
John wasn’t much of a talker while flying, so Dan got as comfortable as he could and played a little solitaire on his laptop while he waited for the pain to dull. He had been a bit of a solitaire fanatic since high school when he bet one of his buddies, Tony, $5 he could win the first game he played. Five bucks later, Dan was hooked and when he discovered it on one of his early computers, he would occasionally wile away an hour or two flipping digital cards.
Solitaire was something Dan could do that took a little attention but allowed him to think. As their plane soared over the Arizona desert, Dan thought about time and how little of it he felt like he had. He was not going to let Rob talk him into staying overnight. He didn’t want to spend another night without Jan for the rest of his life.
They had spent too many evenings apart, he thought, as he placed a two of spades on top of it’s ace. She would have way too many nights alone after he was gone. Dan’s thoughts turned to the things he wanted to say to her about this. He was getting used to this finite arrangement he had with life, but the idea of Jan moving on without him or meeting someone else was difficult to grapple with, even as the warm glow of cannabis filled his blood.
He didn’t even notice that his pain had subsided as he thought about wanting to turn off his brain. Dan was not a jealous guy, by nature, but the fear of losing Jan to someone else ripped open his heart like a greedy claw. Jan would live a long life without him, with any luck, and she should not have to go through it by herself.
Unless that’s what she wanted, he thought. A smile slowly crept over his face as he stared at the cards in front of him. They were multiplying and spreading across the screen. He had won and he didn’t even realize it. He stole a glance at the screen on John’s laptop. He hoped John would close it down soon so they could talk but he didn’t want to interrupt his workflow.
Sales were in good hands, thanks to Allie, and John would know when the time was right to promote her to VP or even President. John had been grooming his second in command, Bill Sherrill, to take his place eventually and Bill was very capable.
Yep, Dan thought, John should retire. He was reveling in this new thought and didn’t realize he was high until the flight attendant announced they would begin descending into LAX. He waited until he saw John close his laptop before speaking.
“Feeling better?” John asked with hope in his voice.
“Yes, very much so. Was thinking about your retirement.”
“I’m not there yet, but when I do, we should go up to the cabin.”
“I probably won’t be here, but you can take my ashes with you.”
“Shut up. You’re the miracle man,” John said.
“You’ve been wanting to use that one for a while, I bet.”
“You know me too well.”
John tucked his laptop into his satchel, eased back, and closed his eyes. Dan was the miracle man, in his opinion. He started calling Dan that years before after a particularly tough negotiation with a new client. Dan could talk his way into a miracle, John had said, and Dan had liked it a lot. He had even considered adding it to his business card, but J.R. had talked him out of it.
“You’re not Jesus, Dad,” J.R. had said, before adding, “Besides, Thomas Hume said, ‘miracles are a violation of natural law.’ You’re not a law breaker.”
See you tomorrow.
Ever been in that bar? Is it even still there? It's an interesting place.