“You sound surprised,” Jesse said.

“Not really,” Sheila replied. “Look, we all suspected there was something going on, but it all seemed innocuous, so we just ignored it. Not ignored, really. More like — you know that art gallery on Fifth Street?”

“Not really. I mean I know it’s there — “

“Yeah, anybody who lives west of here knows that place, because it’s right on the way to work. And it’s got that odd orange sign, so you notice it every time you drive by. But it’s too far from work to walk there, and there’s no good places for lunch nearby, so you think anyone here’s been there? Probably not.”

Jesse sneezed, excused himself. “I agree, but you mind helping me understand why this isn’t a non sequitor?”

“Sorry. See, I’ve been meaning to say this since last week, after I decided on a whim to stop in at that art gallery on the way back from work.”


“Yeah, it was Wednesday, I noticed the lights were on in the gallery, and since I didn’t have any idea what I was going to do myself when I got home I decided to stop in. Turns out Wednesday’s their late night. It was pretty neat — contemporary, mostly paintings and sculptures, some abstract work but most of it you could look at and say, hey, that’s a landscape, or an athlete. I’ve seen better galleries, whole lot worse — wasn’t really anything special about it, but I felt a whole lot better hanging out there for a half hour than I would have if I had gone home and wasted that time online. And while I was there, I was thinking, why hadn’t I come here before? And the only answer I could give was, because I knew what to expect, and I didn’t think it was worth the effort to find out if I was correct. So I went, and yeah, it was what I expected — no surprises — but it felt good to confirm something about my world. And this is where I come to the part about the Johnson contract. No, what we just found out wasn’t surprising. But by confirming what we suspected, I feel more alert, aware. And now that we know that it’s really not that big of a deal, we can  move on — I can keep passing that gallery every day, without any nagging curiosity. And yes, we’ll have to revisit this Johnson thing every once in a while now that we know about it, just like I’m sure to go back to that gallery every few months, to see the new exhibits. Surprised? My only surprise is how good I feel now that I know.”

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