"Rodney?" John guessed, seeing a nondescript but depressed boy in his early twenties sitting alone on the floor next to a urinal.
"Yes?" Rodney looked up and blinked, trying to place this stranger who was addressing him.
"We haven't met before, but my name's John Smith…"
"Oh, the psychic. Right."
"Can we talk about the play?" John tentatively sat beside him, wishing Rodney had found his seat near the sinks or paper towels or something, anything else. Rodney shrugged, and John glanced around for inspiration. His eyes landed on a flyer for the play, scotch-taped up on a toilet stall door. "It's called Hanky?"
"It's supposed to be a play on words. Mr. Hanks thinks this is his masterpiece, so it should have his name. And he thinks the audience will all need hankies just because he kills someone off at the end of every act."
"Even the last one?"
"Yeah. The killer commits suicide."
"Your character." Rodney shrugged again, and Johnny said, "You know who I am. I don't know if you believe in visions or not, but I had one out on the stage just now."
"Of Jim, actually. He was pretty bad." Here, he had to half-guess, maybe even half-lie. He'd seen no acting either way, but Jim didn't seem like a great actor to him. Even their confrontation felt forced. "Honestly, I don't see how you could do worse."
Rodney smiled. "Thanks for not lying and saying you saw me do great."
"Nope. I've never seen you act. Do you think you're any good."
"Yeah, I do, actually. Until I remember all the people watching me. Then I completely freeze up. That's why none of my fellow actors are back here trying to convince me to get back in the game. They know that if I'm afraid, I'm useless." He held up a hand to stop John from speaking. "Don't bother giving me any advice. It doesn't help to imagine the audience in their underwear. They're still there, and then I just add embarrassment to fear. It wouldn't help to focus just on one person – like you, for instance. It used to work when my mom was that person, but now she's dead."
"Ah," John said, starting to see the root of his insecurities. "You know, Rodney, I don't get random visions. They always mean something. And the fact is, I just got a vision of Jim taking your place on stage. Why? Experience tells me I'm meant to change that. So, will you please just do the part?"
"Because I'm meant to?"
"Really. You seem surprised." Rodney scrutinized his face.
"Sure. Usually these things are harder. And have more deaths."
"More than four?" Rodney joked, referring to the four acts of the play.
"Sometimes." John stood and automatically brushed off the back of his pants, not sure what clung to them but imagining a few possibilities all the same.
"Then don't become a playwright."
"Never. I'll see you at the play, Rodney." He exited the men's room with a lilt in his step that almost amounted to a skip. The thunder that still rocked Bangor didn't affect his mood. It didn't reflect events around him. There was nothing ominous at all today. It was something to savor. He flipped open his cell phone to call the Bannerman house. "Sarah," he asked, "what are you doing tomorrow?"