The four of them are sitting at the table, round and wooden, covered with plain, white coffee cups and plates and crumpled napkins and discarded creamers and torn sugar packets, a coffee table, and they are talking to each other, passionately, about things not worth much passion, not to anyone else, perhaps not even to them, and they are saying things like,
“…create a critical mass…”
“…access to development systems…”
“…leveraging our assets…”.
At least, the three men are saying these kinds of things, again and again, saying nothing very interesting, but still nodding to each other and sipping their coffees very seriously. The fatter man, with the vertical stripes of his shirt visibly widening over his belly, is doing most of the talking. “We need to leverage our assets,” he says, “to create a critical mass that will open secondary markets.” The man to his left, the one who looks a little bit Asian but who is certainly not Asian but who maybe has an Asian hairdresser, bobs his head affirmingly, while the third man, fairly fat himself, but without vertical stripes or stripes of any kind, makes little guttural noises in his throat, noises that mean something like, “Yes, exactly. If we can get the preexisting network access to a development system…” or some other such random combination of the magic phrases that the three of them are exchanging with one another.
The woman, though, she is not saying anything much, and she is not nodding either, and she is certainly not making little noises in her throat, only sitting back in her seat with her legs crossed, the top leg sitting very high on the lower one, higher even than the table, because her thighs are large and round, and because her jeans, worn as business attire with a turtleneck and jacket, are very tight, which makes her upper body, slim and small-breasted, seem even more petite in comparison, perhaps too petite, as if she has been assembled from two different bodies, has borrowed her legs, say, from a neighbour or a friend, because she is bored with her own. Her lips are pursed, brightly red, unnaturally coral red, and her hair is cut short and close in what some people might call a pixie cut, leaving her jaw bare, which is only right, because her jaw and her neck are her beauty, the beauty of a mathematically impossible curve that nature nevertheless produces in some rare women.
This woman, whose jaw is perfectly and impossible curved, who is neither speaking nor nodding but only sitting with her crossed legs and her pursed lips and her pixied hair, this woman glances across the room at me, darting her eyes, now, and again, and once more, watching me watching her, and I wonder whether she can feel me looking at her, or whether she glances like this at anyone who happens to be in the room with her, or whether, perhaps most likely, she is just bored with the conversation of her companions and is looking for distraction, even such a poor distraction as I can assure you that I am.