David Fishkind

Outside, he brushed along a dog, a chocolate labrador, which repressed a noise of surprise and, slight pain? Lattner wondered, connected to a burly man in dark glasses by an orange harness, waiting outside the building. ―I’m sorry, he proffered, as the ever-increasing abruptness of his pace diminished the sound of the man’s voice.

―Did you happen to see a…

―No, no, busy today. Can’t be bothered to, well, keep an eye out for every person I run into, when she spotted him.

Striding over, arms in front, balancing, clutching paper cups, near enough to cry out, ―Excuse me, Richard. He cut across the lawn, passed the engineering school, opened a door and stepped inside. She intercepted him in the athletic center lobby. He fumbled with his jacket. ―Richard.

―What is it? Oh, Laura. Yes, I’m sorry. I forgot all about our, see, this intern or whatever he is, he… Well, it doesn’t matter. Anyway, yes. What did you want to see me about?

―Well, um, maybe this isn’t the best time.

―I’m sure it’s fine, go on.

―Well, like, you see, taking his arm, she led him to a chair. Next to it, a window overlooked the pool, extending three stories below. He watched a man dive from the middle board. ―I was hoping, actually, that you might extend my funding into next fall, so that I can take a look at this new data that may be relevant, from that paper I was telling you about in Nature. It’s not like it really should counteract anything I have in terms of my dissertation, but it could, you know, be good to make sure that everything is in order, and believe me, I have plenty of reason to know this is a, like, worthwhile thing, and before we present the findings, like, and defend my thesis, it’s probably best for both you and the institutional publishing and everything that we see this through. A shaky looking man in a speedo ascended the high dive. ―Did you have your coffee yet today? I brought you some just in case.

He sighed through his nose. The capped and goggled youths appeared almost nefarious in their falls, the silent splashes and sprayed fluids from their mouths mixed with the pool water. He could smell chlorine.