(The other day I presented six paragraphs and relished the range of possibilities about what comes next. Now we’re beyond 600 words and still not quite sure what’s going on. Ain’t this fun?!)
“When my brain is clear, the pathways feel so snappy!” Barnaby Capsis cried not long after he awoke one morning, to no one in particular, as he lived alone.
Barnaby woke that day with all his synapses snapping like firecrackers. He could feel his mind snap-crackling and popping as if anything could happen, and, of course, it did.
As he was walking down the street, a woman he thought he’d never seen before called, “Barnaby Capsis!” He watched as she walked up to him as if she had a purpose, which, of course, she did.
“Barnaby, you’re just the man I’m looking for,” she said.
“Oh,” he replied, not quite snappily. “What can I do for you?”
And the answer to that question changed everything. Answers always change something, but in this case it changed everything, because of the wonderful whiz he was.
Now, you may ask, why the woman could possibly need Barnaby, and how helping her could possibly change not anything but everything.
“Changing everything” could mean that they are destined to live happily ever after together, but perhaps that’s too much a cliche. On another hand, “changing everything” could mean that she needs him to go on a hero’s journey that will change not just Barnaby but the whole world he lives in, but then it’s a big story and not just a bit of fluff.
As it happens, when Barnaby asked, “What can I do for you?” she smiled slyly, one of those smiles that says how delighted the smiler is to be asked that precise question, while also suggesting that the smilee may not realize how big a question that is.
And, the smile still in her eyes, she frowned and answered his question.
“That’s all, in point of fact,” she said. “I wanted to tell you you’re just the man I’m looking for.”
“Yes,” Barnaby said, a tad confused, “but why were you looking for me?”
“Do I need a reason to be looking for a man?”
“Ah! But then, why have you decided I am that man?”
The frown that disguised the sly smile now broke into a full grin.
“I knew you were the man I needed,” she laughed. “Your synapses are surely snapping today, aren’t they?”
He rose up a bit at that. “I’m not sure the condition of my synapses are any of your business, but yes, I do feel a bit snappy today.”
“Snappy in a good way, of course?”
“Good! Then come with me.”
She turned with a flourish, took his hand, and stepped away, but he did not step with her.
“Hang on! Where are we going?”
And she gave him that sly smile, which proved irresistible, and headed hand-in-hand down the street. He had to admit the warmth of her hand in his was comfortable, reassuring, and vaguely familiar, although he did not admit this out loud.
They walked that way for several blocks in silence, until they came to a city park, which should not be surprising because this was a very green city full of parks every few blocks, and the parks resembled each other in that they were full of grass and trees and sidewalks with benches and people who enjoyed a bit of greenery in their cities.
She detached her hand and walked slowly, less purposefully, by his side, still quiet for a few moments, so it was almost a surprise when she finally spoke.
“I need your help.”
“I see,” Barnaby said. “So when you said, ‘You’re just the man I’m looking for,’ you were being more specific after all?”
She laughed, and he decided then and there that he liked her laugh and, indeed, was on his way to liking her.