“We are so screwed.” Mindy was chewing her fingernails again, which was better than having a cigarette. She could find any number of ways to justify bad habits, a skill she brought to the table directly from Him.
Waldo was rubbing his face. “So goddamn screwed,” he agreed. “It’s been days since we had anything to show. It was supposed to be every day. We were stuck in here all weekend! I can’t take it any more.”
“He’s going to call any minute. We have to get it together. We can’t have nothing for Him.” Mindy slid her fingers through her hair, wishing she had left at least a bit of her nails to scratch satisfyingly down her head. Not that it would matter much longer.
“So what if He does,” Waldo said morosely. “What can he do if we just haven’t come up with anything?” Almost as soon as the words were out he regretted them though. The truth was, none of them had any idea what might happen, and that was the worst part of all.
Amit had been staring out the windows for several minutes, apparently skipping right past Denial and Anger, and headed straight into Depression. “Why couldn’t He at least put us somewhere nicer?” He gestured outside with a frown. “What is this, downtown Tulsa?”
The other two hadn’t much noticed the scenery, but they turned to look now. Amit was right though. Maybe they were on the top floor of a downtown building, but it was hardly prime real estate. Waldo looked around the room for the first time and nodded.
“For shit’s sake. I mean, look around. This table was never going to be filled with people. What good are four chairs with a table this size? And there are stains all over the floor.”
Mindy was in glum agreement. “There should at least be some blinds or something on the windows. This place is just depressing as hell. I feel like we just laid off an entire bankrupt company, and now it’s time to fire ourselves on our way out.” She shook her head. “What did He really expect to come out of this. Give us something to work with at least.”
As she said those last words the phone sitting between them started to ring. No one moved. They locked eyes briefly, and silently agreed to let it ring. After a long minute, the ringing stopped.
Seconds later a fax machine (had that always been there?) came to life, spitting out a grainy, uninspired photo of a man with a dog. It fell to the floor gently, and none of them moved to pick it up.
They stared at their hands. Another ringing. Another faxed photo, this time of a girl with an ice cream cone. Was He joking? This stuff was pointless.
During the third call, Amit’s eyes lit up, and he raised his head slowly. With a careful hand he reached out to the phone and quickly double-tapped the answer button, killing the call. Mindy and Waldo stared at him wide-eyed.
“Did you just-”
“Shut up!” Amit cut him off. “What if…” He trailed off.
Mindy and Waldo shared a moment of utter confusion, each taking comfort that they were not the only one at a complete loss. “What if what? Come on, man.”
A smile spread across his face. “What if… it’s us?”
The other two furrowed their brows at him, but realization slowly spread across their faces. Amit stayed quiet. They clearly knew what he was suggesting.
“That’s…” Mindy tried to gather her thoughts. “There’s no way he’d go for that, right?”
“He can’t be that dumb.” Waldo was always the pessimist, but they all knew that it was the end of the line. At least this was something.
The phone rang again, somehow more insistently than ever before. Amit scanned the others, nodding slowly. Without a word, they each carefully nodded their assent. Amit answered the call, and He spoke.
“Did you get those pictures I sent? Come on guys, I really need something here. It’s been too long.” There was a long pause, as Mindy and Waldo motioned to Amit. This was his crazy plan, and he was welcome to pitch it himself.
“Well, uh, sir, we were thinking in a different direction.” More silence.
“…which is?” Amit’s heart jumped, but he didn’t dare keep Him waiting much longer. On a whim He might wipe them all out of existence.
“Well, we were thinking. What if it’s us?”
Waldo was the first to break the tension. “We think it’s clever. Call us your ‘Dream Team’, maybe.”
“Hmm.” The tension was maddening, but they would hold their breath as long as it took. “I don’t hate it,” He said finally.
The Dream Team jumped up and silently punched the air, still not entirely sure why He fell for such a ridiculous premise but happy enough to celebrate their continued existence.
“Let me see what I can come up with. But guys, next time try to use the stuff I send you, yeah?”
“Of course, understood,” Mindy said through a wide grin. She even got a little confidence boost, enough to press a little more. “Oh and sir? Can we order takeout at least? It’s been a long few days.” There was a little static in the line as their connection got weaker.
“Good luck,” He said, drifting away. “I’m not sure there’s anyone else out there. I kind of put all my eggs in your proverbial basket with this one.”
The call disconnected, and they all sat back with a collective sigh. At least they hadn’t winked out of existence just yet, though from the looks of things around them this probably wasn’t a whole lot better.
Waldo shrugged. “All right then. So what do we have for tomorrow?”