1.2.2

“Hey Stefano, it’s Vince. I hate to send a message like this rather than talk with you directly, but your secretary said you’re in meetings all day. I’ve had some time to think over your offer and, well – I appreciate you keeping me in the loop, but… I don’t think its a good fit for me. Would love to sit down again sometime for another round of drinks. I hope this analytics venture is a wild success – thanks again friend.”

Vince placed the mobile device in his hand onto the granite countertop of his sleek, modern kitchen space. He paused for a moment, and then proceeded into a neighboring room where a treadmill was built into the floor. Already sporting a high-end track suit, he stepped on and began jogging.

“Speed five,” he called out, and the track beneath him accelerated.

Success isn’t something we find at the crossroads of our lives, he mentally recited. It was an overly familiar line from one of his frequent motivational speeches. We find success when we invest our hearts and souls into our decisions, with a resolve that only looks forward and never looks back.

After fifteen minutes or so, he stepped off the treadmill and wiped his face off with a small towel.

Success… It’s what everyone wants so badly, he thought.

Vince entered his spacious bathroom, showered, and returned to his living space in casual clothing. Sitting, he placed two small devices into each of his ears, and a thin metal visor over his eyes. He touched a small button on the side of the band that rested on top of his right ear.

The dark space in his view was quickly illuminated by the green glow of the word “Parallel,” which dissolved onto a cascade of particles as if they were swept away by the wind. His periphery was then filled with the view of a space much like his home, though a door in front of him didn’t quite match the surroundings. He moved forward, and passed through the doorway into a bustling city center. Far above him hovered a rotating marquee that spelled out “Global Server”.

“Parallel,” he stated, “take me to West 83rd Street… the fountain right on the edge of the park.”

The world around him fell away, and then rematerialized as a patch of greenery in a dense urban area. To Vince’s side bubbled a fountain with three angelic figures as its centerpiece.

He crossed the street and entered an unassuming bar with a sign that read, “Cypress Lounge.”

The familiar space was once again occupied by only a handful of patrons. But this, thought Vince, was part of its charm. He proceeded toward the bar, where an unfamiliar face was mixing drinks.

“Is Fey around?”

“Who?” responded the woman behind the counter.

“Felicia?”

“Sorry hun, don’t know any Felicia.”

“Oh, well, umm-” Vince stumbled over his words, a rarity for a man who gave so many presentations. “You’re sure?”

The bartender presented him with an irritated look.

“Of course you’re sure… You haven’t started recently, have you?”

She shook her head.

“Strange… sorry, I must have the wrong place.”

Embarrassed and confused, Vince headed toward the door.

I’d swear we sat over at that table.

Stepping back out to the street, he was almost immediately greeted by a familiar voice. “Hey handsome, looking for someone?”

Only meters outside of the bar, Fey was casually leaned up against a streetlight, a mischievous smile on her face. She was wearing a dark, stylish trench coat and a fiery red wig.

“Shania, thinks my name is Roxi.”

“And why is that?” Vince responded with a smile.

“Because I told her that.”

“Because…”

“What’s the harm in a little fun, Mr. Gevan?”