Writing prompt: Friends

Thank you to /r/writingprompts for the inspiration:

Prompt :  A person who has used his ability to read minds to glide through life, finds the one person whose mind he can’t read

Tick, tick, tick, Jason smiled and nodded as the interviewer kept talking and babbling. He didn’t even recall the man’s name who sat across the shiny table from him. Their body language told the whole story, this job was in the bag. One man leaned forward, inquisitive, probing, absorbed; the other leaned back, quiet, a serious expression on his face but a smile in his eyes. One thing Jason learned young was when to be silent. How to control the flow of conversation by shifting his attention, and how to move the center of the room to his feet. He used that now to begin planting ideas into the mind of his interviewer.

The best part was approaching, the moment when all his clues and subliminal messages would unfold into an organic idea. The build up was slow and he was patient. He felt his heart rising, an inadvertent smile that didn’t help, but couldn’t be helped. His opponent had crumbled, and was ready to make an offer,

“Why haven’t we made a move in Cambodia yet?”

It was meant to be a trick, it was meant to lower his confidence before negotiations, but the interviewer couldn’t help but play with the answer in his head. Looping the same simple words over and over, “we already did, we already did, we already did.” It would be uncouth to be correct here, perhaps even illegal, and Jason was used to hiding his gift. Looking back, he couldn’t remember life before he could read the stories etched so crudely into peoples faces.

“That’s a good question,” Jason replied, willingly stepping into the snare. He got the job he wanted, at the salary he wanted, and returned to the hotel room he called home with a familiar red bag hanging between his fingers. He let it swing forward and backward, absent mindedly moving the weight of it between his middle and ring finger. Carefully avoiding the mirror in the elevator, and looking down before the door opened to another mirror across the hall.

In his room he greeted the one person whose mind he couldn’t read. He placed his glass next to his partners, and filled them both to exactly the same height.

“Cheers”

They sat in silence, an inevitable camaraderie. After the first glass he walked over to the radio, checked that the dial was still at one, and switched it on. Faint, almost discernable piano entered the room as he sat back down.

“If I go back…” would I be happy? It required no response. He drank without smelling, without swirling, without tasting. Without knowing what he truly wanted. Jason looked from his glass up to his friend only to see his friend was intensely staring at him. Looking into his eyes, unsmiling, probing, questioning. Leaning forward, challenging him to say something, say the right thing. Using that same silence which had been his weapon of choice and turning it against him.

He crumbled. Alone, with the devil in his room.

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