[Edge1.1.14] Is Your Name Carla? – Dave Bailey

[Edge1.1.14] Is Your Name Carla?

Art was floored. He threw himself back on his seat and let that thought sink in for a minute. He closed his eyes and tried to visualize the ramifications of what all his technology would bring about.

His mind whirled at a million miles an hour. One thought after another flying through his head. He had to focus and concentrate on his breathing. The smell of fresh coffee lingered in the air. He could taste the tartness of the blueberries still on his lips. He opened his eyes and focused on the colors around him. Everything looked so bright and vivid. His life had suddenly taken on new meaning and significance. He slowly reached out his hand and ran it slowly across the armrest of the couch feeling the smoothness of the soft, light fabric beneath him. The buzz in the air around him felt electrifying.

Art wanted to jump and run and shout and scream. But he contained himself. He looked up at Tony with a huge grin on his face.

“Tony! You’re a freaking genius,” he half shrieked as he reached out and grabbed the man’s arm. “How did you come up with this stuff?”

“No, no!” Tony said and shook his finger at Art. “This is all your thing. We’re just coming up with a way to apply your research.”

Art stood up and paced across the room two or three times. He didn’t even realize what he was doing. His mind was a million miles away and several years into the future as he analyzed various scenarios.

The only thing that really bugged him about all this was Johnny’s warning. He had warned Art that they would make him an offer he couldn’t refuse and later trap him. But where was the trap in this? They didn’t even want the part of the technology he had originally worked on, and this was something totally different. And what if Johnny really was the bad guy that had just been trying to trick him out of a good deal.

Carla! Who was she and where could he find her. Maybe he could ask to use Johnny’s office and computer to do some research or send some emails. Or maybe he could go for a walk and talk to some of the other employees to see if they knew a Carla that was close to Johnny.

“Hey, Tony. I need to stretch my legs. You mind if I take a little stroll down the hall?”

“Sure, kid. Take your time. I already got our lawyers drawing up a contract for you. When you get back, we can go over the final details along with anything else you want to add. Then you sign it, and we’ll make your first payment.”

“What about my team? There are a few people I need to continue on the project to make things happen.” Art said.

“Not a problem,” Tony replied. ” We can bring them all onboard over here, or you guys can keep a branch there in Brazil. Whatever works best for you.”

Art smiled and thanked Tony as he walked out the door. The two big brutes that Tony kept around looked more like henchmen than bodyguards. He felt sure they were there more to stop him from doing anything wrong than to actually protect him. But he just smiled at them and continued mosying on down the hall greeting people as he went past them.

He saw a woman sitting at a desk that had a nameplate that started with the letter C. So, Art walked on over like he intended to look out the window. He saw a food truck below and turned to ask her about it.

“Food any good in that truck down there?” he asked.

“Pardon?” the grey-haired lady asked him with a very proper accent.

“I was wondering what they served in the truck down there, uh, Carol,” he said as he looked at her nameplate. He tried not to sound disappointed when he said her name.

“No, sorry,” Carol replied. “I don’t eat junk food. I’m a vegetarian.”

“Oh, okay.” Art muttered. “Good for you. Well, thanks, Carol. That’s a lovely name by the way. I have a friend from Brazil who was here recently. He told me to look up a friend of his named Carla to give her a message. Do you know her?”

The woman looked back up from her paperwork over the edge of her glasses as if she was a little annoyed. “Sorry, I don’t know anyone named Carla here in the building.”

“But you do know someone named Carla?” he asked.

“Yes,” she replied with a scowl. “My daughter’s name is Carla, and I have a friend from Sunday School named Carla. However, I highly doubt they are the person your friend from Brazil was recommending.”

“Yeah. You’re right. Probably not. Well, thanks anyway.” he said as he smiled and moved on. Art rolled his eyes and shook his head to the bodyguards as he walked on past them.

“You boys don’t know any Carlas around here do you? I really need to get her a message from my friend.”

Both men shook their heads and continued walking without saying a word. Not that he believed them. They probably wouldn’t tell him even if they did know something.

Maybe the janitor, he thought. Tony couldn’t have covered all his bases and have everyone lie to him. But she didn’t know anything either. Not that she told him much. She didn’t even speak any English. So, he used his Portuguese to try to make himself understood. Art noticed the two bodyguards looking at each other like they were trying not to laugh at him.

“I’m gonna go down to the food truck, boys.” Art said.

The men crossed their arms and shook their heads. “There’s plenty of food back there in the office.” one of them replied.

“Oh, c’mon guys. I can’t live on that fancy rich people food. I’m just a regular Joe like you guys. I need something with substance. Like a hotdog. Please. Just one hot dog. Real quick. Tony won’t even know we went down there.”

The two men looked at each other and shrugged.

“Alright, but make it snappy. And don’t try anything funny.” the same guy spoke up again.

“Sure,” Art replied and nodded his head.

They caught the elevator down to the ground floor. When the doors opened the two bodyguards stepped out first and looked around. Then they stepped to the side to let him out.

“Food truck is that way,” the spokesman said again.

Art started walking towards the main entrance. He saw a woman standing there that looked familiar. She looked like she was crying.

“Are you okay, ma’am?” Art asked.

The woman turned to him and nodded her head without looking up. But then she started sobbing again.

Art stood there awkwardly without knowing what to do. He didn’t know if it would be very appropriate to put his arm around her to try and comfort her.

“C’mon. Let’s go out and have a hot dog. You can tell me your story and cry on my shoulder.”

The woman looked up at him and tried to smile. She had a blue scarf and dark sunglasses on so he couldn’t really see her eyes. But she seemed to be a very pleasant-looking, young woman.

“Sure. Thank you,” she said. “I appreciate it.”

“Are you Carla?” he asked.

She put her head down and started to walk faster.

“Wait,” he said loudly. He reached out to grab her shoulder, but she jerked his hand off her shoulder and twisted his wrist down bringing him to his knees.

Dave Bailey

Dave Bailey started writing short stories when he lived in Brazil to help his students learn English. Now, he lives in Florida again where he continues to write fun and inspiring sci-fi and fantasy fiction stories. You can read his weekly short stories here on his blog. Make sure to join his advanced reading crew so you know when new stories become available >>> https://davebailey.me/go/crew