Okay, I revised the section of writing I shared a few nights ago. I like it better. I think it leaves more for the reader to imagine and understand. In other words, I spelled it out too much before.
Maybe I still did, but I have been thinking about the underlying rationale for this dialogue, that I wrote about this morning: People always want more. It boils down to intention: what kind of more do they want — Ego-more or Heart-more? I’m leaving it here for tonight with the revised passage. (It’s not as long as it looks — all dialogue and reads fast.)
“Stan, what is Anne doing with them? I’m concerned about that goddam alternative materials shit.” Paul stepped back from the window but still stared. “I told you to keep this under control.”
“I have, Paul. You know everything I do, including how much company time they have spent on it. There is no way I could have inserted myself more without arousing their suspicion.”
“Well, it looks like their suspicions are aroused anyway.”
Stan sat down in a nearby chair, and he watched Paul’s intense interest at the little group outside. “Paul, how do you know they are doing anything like that? Why are you so uptight about the three of them having coffee during break?”
“Just intuition, Stan. It wouldn’t hurt you to tune into yours.”
Stan frowned. “Okay, Paul, I get that, but why are you so opposed to their work? From an engineering and profit standpoint, it’s brilliant. Not to mention if we pioneer this, our engineering environmental impact studies would be smooth sailing.” Stan paused and tapped his fingers on the arm of his chair.
“Look, I told you I’m committed to success, so why don’t you just tell me what’s going on?”
Paul turned and stared at Stan. “I told you there’s a much bigger picture. I have chosen you to help us make it happen.”
Stan interrupted Paul. “Us? Who’s ‘us?’”
Paul glared. “Short memory. The other day I let two names slip. Do you remember?”
“Of course I do. It was enough for me to do a little research and find out you were talking about Jack Actov and Peter Colboard. You mentioned them in relation to Anne’s husband, Eric. They founded the law firm he works for.”
Paul smiled without disengaging Stan’s face. “You know what, Stan? You’re right. So I will be blunt. Others besides us are involved in our project, and it’s been going on for some years. You’re a part of it now, like it or not — and you may not.” He smiled a bit broader. “How do you think Etts got into office? How do you think he will garner the nomination of his party for the next presidential election? Do you think we would leave the governor’s office out of our control?”
Stan’s mouth hung partially open, and he was processing Paul’s words when he realized he had been asked a question. “Oh, no, if you’ve been engineering all this, of course not.” He broke away from Paul’s stare.
“Good. You understand. You also understand that you have no confidants. You have none to speak with about this. You will do what I ask if you want your success. And,” Paul renewed his smile, “you will never demand information of me again. Do you understand?”
“We have been grooming both Eric and Anne for this for some time now.”
Stan sat up a bit. “Okay, I understand more now, but what does the alternative materials design have to do with any of this?”
“Good. I’m glad you’re putting things together. The unions, contractors, and manufacturers of standard design products and procedures comprise a significant portion of our power base — big money and connections. We will not be using any non-standard anything.”
Stan smiled now. “I get it. You know, Paul, it’s easy to be superior when you have more information than others. I told you I’m no idiot. I’m being used expressly for this, aren’t I?”
“Right on both counts, Stan. You’re no idiot and you have been and are being used. Since you are no idiot, you will know you have a job to do.” Paul paused for a second and watched Stan’s expression.
“Hey, Stan, all the things I have arranged for you will happen. We aren’t pulling off some CIA plot here. We’re only making sure things go smoothly for everyone.”
“Yeah, I understand, Mr. Egan. Power, control, and wealth. Absolutely no misunderstanding. Nothing I haven’t desired and contracted for.”
“Well, Stan, if you keep even closer tabs, and a stricter leash on those two junior engineers, a bonus clause kicks in for you. Make sure you sabotage their numbers one way or another. Make sure you do what you can to cool their enthusiasm.”
“What’s the bonus clause, Paul?”
“You become our legal liaison with both the Etts and the Lafarnges. Forget engineering in the bridge sense. You’ll get to use that law degree of yours to engineer a lot more complex structures.”
“It’s pretty simple, straightforward. I can do this, Paul, but I have a question. Why can’t you simply order Anne to forget this alternative stuff?”
Paul frowned. “I thought you understood. She cannot know, suspect, sense one single iota of any of this. It all falls apart. You see, you were right about another thing. I do know more than you, have more information than you do. Anne’s husband is a bit more of an idealist than she is, and he would run. They have to be mentored, courted. No coercion or anything else that would set off alarms. They have to believe they want it for themselves.”
Stan smiled. “See, Paul, was that so hard to let me know what really needed to be done?”
Paul Egan flashed a malicious grin his way. “You still don’t know everything, Stan. If you need anything from me, ask. No one else. Understood? It would not be a positive move if one other person knows anything you know.”
Stan’s smile faded. He walked back to the window and looked down. Anne, Kathryn, and Edward were gone. “I have work to do, Paul.”
“So do I, Stan. I don’t plan on hearing anything else about this alternative material scheme.”
After Stan left, Paul accessed his Holocom wrist unit. “Everything is under control here, Jack. They always want more and will do almost anything to get it.”
Questions to consider:
How many times have you asked yourself or simply thought about the following questions?
Who am I, really?
What is my truth?
How do my actions reveal what I really feel and believe?
What would I do with my life if I could do anything?
What is my passion?
Why am I here?
How can I discover answers to any of these questions?
If you have considered any of these questions, I hope that my experiences and writing will give you some guidance. Please read my blog and comment and share your thoughts. I would love to hear from you!