Author : Skyler Heathwaite
Its illegal, but I love mind-surfing. I don’t even bother with TV anymore. I just go for a walk around town, see what I can find. Its a real gas to pick out the hidden truths in polite conversation.
For example, I sat a booth down from a really cute couple in this diner the other day. They looked nice enough, smiled a lot, held hands across the table. All of a sudden, real genuine like he says “Becky, I love you.” She lit right up, bright as Christmas.
I lace my fingers around my fork and press my thumb against the teeth. I get an image of her kissing another guy. Tall, scruffy, well muscled. The thought came before the words, a strange kind of stereo effect “I love you too.” I fight back a grin and leave a big tip.
From there I take the subway. Once I’m on I just close my eyes and drift, a sea of thought laid out before me. I don’t go for anything specific, no dirty secrets or credit card numbers. I just take what nature is kind enough to bring me.
A man three seats down and across the isle is drawing up plans in his head for a new apartment complex. Blond girl, just stepped off is worried she’s at the wrong stop. Little kid, no more than seven is dreaming about being an astronaut. The old woman next to me misses her husband John. I’d look just like him if I shaved a little closer.
My stop is up, and I walk up to the street. The constant babble used to drive me mad, now it comforts me. I go to my crappy hardware store job and start another day. I never had much of a plan, nothing like being an astronaut anyway.
I guess I could join the Psychic Studies Division, get registered and start doing government work. They’d teach me how to use my gifts, how to pick out a single private thought on a crowded street. I’d get a nice government loft in a nice part of town, with a nice paycheck and probably a nice woman to pair up with. The guys in long coats wouldn’t scare me out of my boots anymore.
But then I wouldn’t be me. I’d be a government man, no matter what they taught me. A fat woman walks up and asks if we can fix her husband’s power drill. She wants to surprise him for his birthday. This time the smile wins.
This is enough.