Flash Fiction: An Oblique Conversation Between the Otherwise Naked

Source: lily on pond

by LJ Frank

It was an Indian Summer day, late September though it could’ve been early October. I forget. Somewhere along the line we lost our sense of time or perhaps time flew above us like a jet stream of air in the distant bluish sky. We knew it was there. We couldn’t see the flow of time unless we looked in a mirror. And even then we were busy making decisions or having decisions made for us by an indecisive moment.

The afternoon temperature would be best described as quite warm. We were bi-coastal people, one from the California and the other, New York, rendezvousing in a partially wooded area encompassing a spring fed pond, somewhere in the Midwest.

The meeting was initially preceded by a telephone introduction and months of online communication involving a government sponsored project titled The Search for Mindful Awareness, with a blurred subtext. Money for the project was fuzzy. We only knew we were being paid and as far as we knew we were the only two people working on the project except for some administrative assistant who scheduled the project for her boss who in turn forgot about it in the fog of incorporated academia.

My distant colleague introduced herself as Stasia. Her name meant resurrection. Was that a sign?

“We’re alive and real.” I said as we shook hands and sat down in chairs on a sun-drenched patio behind a small lodge, facing the pond.

“I suppose details can offer or expose. The filters of the voice and a skype transmission are hardly ever an accurate portrayal of the human face. Wouldn’t you say?” Stasia winked.

“I agree. You do have lovely sandals, sun glasses and… “

Stasia smiled. “Thank you. I try being mindful of my appearance.”

“In person offers an opportunity for clarity, at least in the current conversation,” I noted.

“Still, the human face can be camouflaged even when a few feet away.” She said.

“I suppose we could take off our sunglasses and sandals to go with the rest of our… assuming we know the difference between the nature of a veil and the unveiling.”

“Amusing. Given that, how did you know I would be…you know what I mean?” Stasia asked.

“Envisioning is essential in the light of the unknown?

“A question or just a lingering?” She asked.

“You could say that. Though at times I felt a little bewildered with our research.” I suggested.

“Bewildered is better than lost.” She said.

“Concerning our project I’ve memorized my emotional states at various times and now I’m in the process of unthinking followed by rethinking. Trying to change the chemistry of my attitude and temperament created by new thoughts.” 

“Birthing and rebirthing into an alternate thought process,” Stasia said, “As I have done the same. Almost like…resurrection?” She smiled.

“Better than drugs.”  I returned the smile.

“isn’t what we do with the software we create…like being on a drug?” She asked.

 “It would account for the creative ache in my frontal lobe.”

“Mine too. My most productive thoughts linger in the unknown. I admit I like placing a tape over my computer camera’s eye as I type…naked…to aide a greater freedom of thought.”

“The naked body breeds the naked thought.” 

“And your thinking?” She asked.

“The process has its own rhythm.”

“Internally and externally.” She grinned. “And you haven’t seen anything yet.”

“Oh? Are we not naked with each other?”

“What do you think?” Stasia asked.

“Where do we go from here?”

“I’m contemplating having some of my internal software recalibrated.”  She said.

“What are you saying? I thought you were…?

“You mean…well, aren’t you…?”