He Appears to Be Real

Jeff opened his briefcase and reached for his library book.  Across its cover a sticky note read, “LUNCH WITH TALIA TODAY.”  He had nearly forgotten.  He replaced his book in his briefcase and pulled out his cell phone.  “Meet U in the cafeteria?” he texted.

Her reply:  “Sure.”
Jeff and Talia had lunch together on a monthly basis.  She was a volunteer Deputy Attorney General for the states’s attorney general’s office.  The attorney general had an office in each of Delaware’s three counties; the office in Wilmington was just down the street from the courthouse where Jeff worked.
Jeff sat down at a table with his turkey sandwich, yogurt, and carrot sticks.  Talia entered and upon seeing Jeff, motioned to the cafeteria line.  Jeff set his food out on the table, neatly arranged.  He decided to wait until Talia returned before he would start eating.  He wished he had brought his book with him.  He looked around the cafeteria.  A large table full of suit-wearing loudmouths; they must be prosecutors, he thought.  There were older ladies wearing sweaters and reading glasses that hung from their necks by a string.  They were probably administrators and secretaries, he thought.  His gaze stopped on an ultra-realistic sculpture of a man sitting on a park bench playing chess.  The man was eternally on the verge of completing a move.  Jeff decided that it would be very frustrating to play chess against this guy; he is too indecisive to complete a single move.  The seat across from the chess player is empty, allowing a photo opportunity of a real person pretending to play chess with the sculpture.  Or perhaps the other player abandoned the game and his chair due to the tectonic-plate-slow pace of the game.  Jeff remembered learning in his wills and estates class in law school that the sculptor of this piece, among others, was the son of one of the heirs to the Johnson & Johnson fortune.  The art community had not taken kindly to the ultra realism of the sculptures, and apparently it was questioned whether or not they were truly “art.”  The sculpture was so realistic, that some cafeteria patrons failed to realize that it was not a real person before visiting the cafeteria five or six times.
Talia returned with her food:  a cheeseburger, fries, and a diet cola; although Talia’s parent’s kept Kosher, Talia clearly didn’t care.  “I met-up with Phil earlier this week,” Jeff said.
“Oh really?  How is he.”
“He is good.  He is still working at the mall, but he’s good.”
“Oh,” Talia said.  The conversation paused, awkwardly.
“He wants to start a law firm.”
Talia sipped cola.  She almost squirted soda from her nose and then blurted, “that plan he had back in law school?  Crazy!”
“Well, it’s not crazy.  It won’t be easy, but it’s not crazy.  Every law firm that exists now was once a new law firm.”
“That’s true,” Talia uttered, her cheek bulging with cheeseburger.
“And no offense, but it’s gotta pay better than volunteering.”
Talia rolled her eyes and sighed, “so true.”  Her cheek was still bulging with burger.  She had bitten off more than she could chew.  She sat, chewing and contemplating.  It would be hard, she thought to herself, but if it was a success she should move out of her step-dad’s basement.  She swallowed her food, took a sip of soda, cleared her throat and declared, “I’m in.”

The End

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