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Chance

Fed Starving

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Wyatt was out on lunch at a restaurant close to his downtown office at Phazetek, the company he worked at. He was part owner of Phazetek in a three way divide with two good friends he'd known much of his life. They also employed another seven professionals that were well paid. There was a lot of work to keep his company occupied.

Primarily a firm that connects entertainment industry professionals with their particular needs, Wyatt and company at Phazetek profitted on finders fees and sales percentages, depending on the contract with the client. The companies' main goal was to ditch the go-getting altogether and become a company that sells physical products, no services.

They already started up a small products firm and purchased a medium size warehouse where the items would be created. Their initial test product was a cloth covered connector wire used for industrial machinery. This wire was known to wear and tear often more than other detachable wires on the same equipment and so Phazetek created a cloth covered version that proved a much greater durability in damage tests but longevity tests of normal use couldn't be performed yet because they were a new product. Phazetek sent sample connectors to all of the industrial companies that would be most interested along with a statement of intended direction that the company would head in with their tech products. This initial promotional campaign gained some interest but not much to win Phazetek a few thousand orders, many of the companies requesting them in full cases.

Wyatt was developing product ideas while he ate lunch. He worked non-stop when there was something that needed attention, many times staying extra late at his office. Today was that sort of day. He was ready to work himself into the late evening.

He finished his meal and returned his notepad into his suitcase and then locked it. He left the restaurant, holding up his arm and squinting to see the time on his watch as the sun glinted into his eyes when he crashed into a girl walking the opposite direction. She wasn't paying attention either and they were both startled. She was almost knocked onto her butt, Wyatt saved her though, swiftly latching onto her arm with the same hand wearing the watch before she could go down.

He set her on her feet and said, "Noelle! Good to see you! It's been years! How are you?"

Noelle gave Wyatt a sidelong look of apprehension and said, "Wyatt... why are you here?"

Wyatt said, "I live here! Why are you here?"

Noelle said, "I live here too. Moved here six months ago. I'm not leaving. Don't like the old town at all. Not going to return no matter what happens."

Wyatt said, "Why? Did something bad happen in the old town?"

Noelle said, "No. Just don't like the old town as you can see with my attitude." She curtsied, eyes alight with emptiness.

Wyatt wondered what was wrong with her, she seemed off and not herself. He said, "Where were you going, into the restaurant?"

Noelle said, "Yes. I wanted to get something to drink, you know how I like strawberry wine, this place has outstanding wines."

Wyatt said, "I can accompany you, Noelle, and we can chat some more. What has it been, 10 years?"

Noelle said, "Something like that. I think it was 2009 the last time we ever talked and 2008 since we saw each other last. How long have you lived out here?"

Wyatt opened the door to let Noelle into the restaurant first and said, "Around eight years. I think it was 2012 when I moved here, those years sort of blur together, you remember how much of an alcoholic I was. I kicked the liquor and now only drink moderately. Started a company with friends. What about you, Nolle?"

There was a couple waiting to be seated ahead of them. Noelle turned to him and said, "You know what, I always wanted to know what I would do if someone left a dozen boxes of dresses on my welcome mat."

Wyatt needed to think about what she said for a second. He said, "What would make you wonder about that sort of thing? Doesn't seem at all that likely, now does it?"

Noelle look worried and said, "Do cattle know really how good they taste? If cattle knew how good they tasted would they quit eating grass? Would they try and escape? Can cows be prophetic?"

Wyatt laughed thinking that Noelle was trying to humor him although he wasn't so sure because she seemed so sincere. He said, "I'm glad we found each other, I didn't think that I would ever see you again." He put his arm over her shoulders and squeezed her in a hug. He continued, "Were you going somewhere special or did you have plans?"

Noelle smiled and looked up at him, "Not at all. I was going to pick this wine up and then take it to my apartment. My sister is staying with me temporarily and we wanted to get silly drunk tonight. She's going to return to the old town next Sunday."

The couple ahead of them were seated and so Noelle and Wyatt took their spot on line, next up, Wyatt removing his arm off her shoulder.

Wyatt said, "This last week all I did was work. Ten, twelve, sometimes thirteen hours, sometimes sleeping at my desk. I need a break. You want to go see a movie or go somewhere and get re-acquainted?"

Noelle said, "Yes, I would love that. My sister wouldn't mind if I told her it was you. We could walk to my apartment and drop the wine off, it isn't that far away and then you could see my sister, she would be happy to see you too."

Wyatt said, "You know, I would like that."

The hostess returned and said, "Two for here?"

Noelle said, "No, I just wanted to purchase some of your delicious strawberry wine. How about three bottles?"

The hostess said, "Three bottles coming right up. Anything for you, sir?"

Wyatt said, "No ma'am."

The hostess left to retrieve what Noelle requested.

Noelle said, "When I leave my apartment I like to pretend that when I walk out that door there's going to be a dirt road there with some horses waiting but that don't ever happen. I guess that I don't pretend hard enough. They say if you pretend hard enough you can make anything come true. You never liked to pretend, didn't you Wyatt? You were always so serious, always keen to observe things precisely, you were never a pretender, not once."

Wyatt smiled and said, "I like to pretend that the spring never ends, the kittens never grow up, the bottled water is always blue, the tomatos are always red, the swing is always swinging, the air and my clothes are always clean and I always miss the commercials. That would be about all of the pretending that I am capable of. Beyond that, there isn't anything. I guess that's what being shallow is about."

Noelle said, "You don't pretend hard enough, do you?"

Wyatt said, "Nope, how did you know?"

The hostess returned with the wine in a paper sack. She handed the sack over the register onto the counter top and rung up the sale. She said, "$81.67 cash or credit?"

Noelle said, "Credit." she retrieved her card out of her purse and handed it over to the hostess. The hostess processed the payment and handed the card to Noelle.

Wyatt shoveled the sack of wine in his empty arm, suitcase in the other hand.

Noelle said, "Thank you." once the payment was processed and she received the reciept. She stuffed the reciept in her purse.

They left the restaurant and Wyatt let Noelle lead the way to the apartment she was renting. She said, "What do you do now, Wyatt? You were selling cars before we broke up. You don't sell cars anymore, do you?"

Wyatt said, "I uh, work at Phazetek, an agency for entertainers to find work and connect to each other."

Noelle said, "Nice! Interesting line of work, completely different in comparison to what you did before."

Wyatt said, "What do you do now, Noelle?"

Noelle said, "I am a secretary for a nutrition conglomerate. I talk with vitamin salesmen and make sure everything is going well in the pill department."

Wyatt said, "Really, I wouldn't have noticed had you not told me."

Noelle said, "If I tell you a secret can you promise you won't tell anyone? I am serious."

She didn't look serious. She was giving me that blank stare once again and truthfully I was getting sort of nervous.

Noelle said, "Listen carefully, there is this house at the old town past where we lived, you know what I mean? Out past the silos and the chicken farm."

Wyatt said, "Yes, there's a river out that way that dad would take us out for a fish every now and then."

Noelle said, "Well, there's this wood with sparse trees that stretches on for a long distance and there's a road through the area but its the only road there. It's a dirt road and it leads to an old rotting house. No one has lived in that house since my grandparents were children. This house was abandoned and I think no one actually owns it. Inside this house is a tree growing through the wooden planks and through the ceiling into the next story up! That was my favorite part of this house. Inside another room is a four legged table that stands on one leg, the other three legs are not touching anything but you need to look closely and slide a piece of cardboard under them. If you pour water underneath the lifted leg diagonally opposite of the leg that touches you can watch the water move slowly to the leg that is touching, where all of the weight of the table sits. If you use a construction level and check the tilt of the planks under the table you can see that the tilt is downward towards the legs of the table that are lifted up! That means that the water flows uphill there. There's some more secrets about the property that I should talk about another time, for now though, what do you think about that?"

Wyatt said, "That's really intriguing. I don't know about that place. You said nobody owns that property? Someone has to own it, it can't simply be not owned."

Noelle said, "I don't know, the state maybe? The city?"

Wyatt said, "Maybe.

Noelle yanked her smartphone out of her purse in a hurry, it was vibrating enough to hear it but there was no ringtone. She said, "It's my sister." They quit walking so Noelle could read her messages. She said, "You know what, Wyatt, I am going to need to pass you up on the movie. Why don't we go out some other time. I need to go in a hurry. Here," she said, taking the sack of wine out of Wyatt's arm, "Call me later, Wyatt, I am sorry." She quickly walked away, crossing the street.

Wyatt was disappointed because this meant he would need to get to his office. He took his smart phone out to call Noelle to let her know where his office was when he realized that she didn't offer her number. He looked up and she was gone. He yelled, "Hey Noelle, you didn't give me your number!" He waited a minute in case she would return. She didn't. He thought, "Oh well, some things weren't meant to happen."
 

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