You never liked too much preparation. Right from science projects in school to your first date and now, slavery solicitations. It has always seemed uncalled for; deceptive even, to build an Ark every time it drizzles. If ‘awareness’ was as high as it is now, you would have probably been diagnosed with ADD in your childhood. Sure stand-ups and musicians prepare copiously to look like they are improvising. But there is a big difference, they don’t hate their jobs.
“Do it like your lives depend on it!” was Head Slave’s unimaginative attempt at pep talk. You wish you had come up with a better response than a stifled yawn. But it could have been worse; you could have let loose a knee-jerk chuckle. It is the latest version of ‘the big presentation’ that needs working on. Post 5th revision, it has gone from big to morbidly obese. You have been paddling for too many years to let a little pep talk motivate you. So you let the new pair of hands on the deck carry the load. Unfortunately, you cannot send them out to bat. You have been bestowed with that honor/led out to slaughter when SIC visits.
As rapture draws near, you willy-nilly get sucked into the paranoia. Sleep is the first victim of this boot camp routine, weekly offs are the last. When you are finally up against the audience on D-day, you feel like a doomed gladiator under the scope of a heavy-breathing audience. You feel more pressure than an ethnic student in a spelling bee final. All you can think of is: ‘Where is an out-of-body experience when you need one?’
You do manage to make it almost to the end of your Bible-sized presentation without questions, queries or quotations. It is the closest thing to a spiritual experience you will ever go through. That is when the sound of a fellow human grinds you to a halt like a hand brake. SIC has finally spoken. You did not get what he said but going by his gestures, another look at the previous slide on obesity demographics is what he wanted.
So you flip back and wait nervously. As SIC ‘hmms’ and ‘ahhs’, the meeting room seems caught in a never-ending final slowmo sequence of a tiring baseball movie. He finally says:
“Well, that ‘s a lot of fat people!”
It is the kind of silence that can only end with a well timed laugh or a lot of nodding. Luckily it is the former. What follows is a wave of banter, chit-chat and small-talk as SIC disappears into a Sudoku of handshakes. It is almost as if he vanished into smoke. You would say he was beamed up but you are not a fan of body suits. Both SIC and the topic of the ‘big presentation’ have not been seen or heard from since…
…until the next drill.