Behind Dark Shades


"Tiny pieces everywhere," she noted, eyes narrowed.

Dorothy Wayneright held the dust mop in her hand and observed the scene before her methodically.

Pieces of glittering smooth stone rolled across the mahogany desk. It resembled some sort of star spreading galaxy under the dim light of a candle. A group of tiny grains could be imagined as planets shattered and torn from gravity. Above it all, sat an omniscient presence whose hand trembled as bone white pale as the arm of the grim reaper.

The hand belonged to a dashing gentleman with his brow crinkled. In the flickering candlelight, he dared to sit quietly behind dark shades.

"Your hourglass is in pieces," Dorothy stated, to the negotiator.

Two Dorothys reflected in his shades dimly. Roger moved his hand brushing the pieces aside as if he had not heard her. They rolled faster and made soft tumbling noises onto the carpet.

"If you think I'm cleaning this mess, you're more of a louse than I thought," Dorothy said, bluntly.

Roger's mouth cracked a tiny smile. "You better. That's your obligation as per contract."

Dorothy moved closer to the negotiator's desk. She picked up one of the grains of sand and examined it. "Why are you shattering something you are usually fond of? I distinctly recall you most rudely threatening to dissemble me if I ever knocked one over again."

"Did I?"

"Yes."

"Guess it just doesn't seem so important today. Humans don't always follow logic, my dear Dorothy. Nor is our usual disposition so polite. We can be downright savage."

"Savage? Your manners I find to fit that description often. But Roger, why are you so human today?"

Roger's smile faltered. "You don't think I'm human? That's kinda of cold, Dorothy. Even I'm not perfect."

Dorothy lowered her head as if she were embarrassed. "I did not say you weren't. I didn't know what I meant. Maybe the words were wrong."

"That's all right then."

"It isn't. I want to be better."

Roger didn't answer but leaned back in his chair, his face tilted upward. Dorothy processed his attitude and the physical mess in this dark room more closely. There was something wrong that she should have noticed. She unconsciously reached out her hand and placed it over his.

She felt startled at her actions. Why did she do that? Perhaps something of memory deep within had struggled to the surface so quickly she did not process it.

Roger Smith did not recoil from the touch but peered at her through his shades. His breathing seemed irregular, Dorothy noted.

"My client is dead."

"I see."

Dorothy feared more words she would speak. She did not know comfort. Behind his dark shades, Roger Smith was alone. She could not see his eyes as he saw hers. What would a human woman do to reach him?

Roger rubbed his temple and took a deep breath. "A simple transaction that unfortunately held a simple and careless mistake. If only I had given a little more respect to time . . . no, I should have realized no mere mortal has power over that bastard."

He raised his hand. "Another second . . . all it takes for fate to swipe at you." He grasped pieces of the hourglass in his other hand which began to bleed profusely.

The blood displeased her greatly and Dorothy decided to take action. She could only be Dorothy Wayneright. Not some other woman.

She grasped the bleeding hand and squeezed hard. The blood oozed thicker and Roger exclaimed in pain.

"Does it hurt?"

"Ow, ow! Yes, Dorothy!"

"Then let go."

Roger's hand opened automatically and he looked up at her bemused.

"You're one pain in the ass android," he remarked, drily.

But he reached up and slowly removed his shades. Their eyes immediately locked.

"Oh," Dorothy whispered.

Dark and troubled eyes were Roger Smith's. Dorothy could not understand the pain but she could get him to release. To release and to rebuild.

"You don't understand this. Leave."

"No."

Dorothy was a wall of stubborn refusal. Her prescence was seeping into the very cracks of Roger Smith's troubled soul. His chest hurt with the pressure built inside. Roger Smith was also stubborn.

"I can't . . ." Roger started but his breathing became rapid.

Roger's shoulders shook and the negotiator's face held a look of surprise as his body heaved violently. Dorothy did not move away. In fact she moved closer and stood by him as he oozed a gut wrenching pain.

After a few moments, he quieted. Slowly as if drawing pieces of himself back into him, Roger Smith the negotiator was taking shape. Their eyes were once again connected.

Dorothy was satisfied to not those beautiful eyes were now a shade less heavy.

"I think I have made significant process in my human study today," Dorothy said quietly, wiping his desk off.

"Yeah, a small step for androids everywhere. Now, I think I have some work to do," Roger said, his eyes focused on his desk. Her dust mop stopped swishing at his words.

"All right then. Please remember that Norman will be serving dinner in an hour."

"Dorothy?"

"Yes?"

"Thanks. For helping with my mess."

The negotiator looked quite uncomfortable if Dorothy wasn't mistaking his flushed face and darting eyes.

"You're welcome. It's part of our contract after all."

"That it is," Roger answered, with a small smile.

R. Dorothy Wayneright left the negotiater with contentment. Even more content for she had swiped his dark shades unbeknownst to him. Her hiding spot for these shades would ensure he would not be finding them soon.

She would be gazing into Roger Smith's eyes and perhaps a piece of his soul for many more days to come.

THE END