He sat slumped on the office couch, staring out at space, slightly trembling hands shaking lightly clasping at a half-drank Redbull.
“Jerry? Jesus Jerry, you still with us?”
“What?” He shook himself back to the world, “Yeah sorry Pete must’ve just drifted off for a minute.”
“You look like shit man. You feeling ok? You ain’t doing drugs are you?”
Jerry let out a thin exhausted little laugh. “No Pete, nothing that much fun, not since college at any rate.” He shifted himself back to a sitting position. “Just been having a rough time sleeping lately, can’t seem to stay down at night.”
“Well just try and keep up, we only got a little bit more to go over.” Pete turned back to dry erase board.
Jerry watched him walk back across the room. It wasn’t that Peter Maslow was necessarily a bad person, it wasn’t even that he was a stupid person. He was just grew up with people not expecting too much from him; now that they did he really let it get to him, he overcompensated. This was the fourth time they were going over his carefully, thought out, bulleted list of equipment, and his ridiculously ordered time table. It was all he could do keep his eyes open while a telescoping pointer drifted repetitively across a diagram of a rather unremarkable intersection. The other men in the room seemed to just sit with humored impatience.
They were the real talent here. the specialists of the organization. They’d been working together for years, some of them had known Pete when he was just the boss’s son. Now the boss was dead, and the bigger fish up the line were letting the kid run the show for the time being; because that’s how it was always done. They listened as Peter droned over his plan again and again knowing that when the time came, they’d have their own plan to follow.
This was a comforting thought to Jerry.
“Jerry, you paying attention?”
It didn’t matter they’d been over it enough and his end was the easy part. “I wait in the car til Joseph and Victor get back from the pick up. Been a while since I’ve been a wheel man but, I think I got it.” Jerry let a smirk creep over his face “The gas pedal still the skinny thing on the right, or did we change that?”
The rest of the guys started to chuckle but saw Pete’s look of annoyance.
“Alright,” he said, “that’s enough for tonight. You guys go get something to eat.”
Jerry could tell that was not directed at him. He waited patiently for the managerial talk that was sure to follow as the other gentlemen left the room.
“Look Jerr, I know this kind of job is old hat to you but, this thing it means a lot to me. I’ve been under a lot of scrutiny, you know how it is. The new kid handed they keys to the corner office. I know I seem uptight about this but, I got a lot to prove.” he poured a couple of drinks from the decanter on the credenza, “Look, we got someone big in the organization coming in soon, and lets just say my transition into management hasn’t gone as smooth as I’d like. ” He handed one of the glasses to Jerry. “You, well from what we hear you’re good at what you do. Despite that, until I get the go ahead with my bosses I got to ease you into the job. When you look at you got a lot riding on this too.”
“I got you Pete, I really do,” he waved his glass casually at Peter, “sorry about that little joke. Just, everyone’s tired and tense, and we’re all anxious to just get the job done. I really do want to get back to work. ”
“Well you got your wish then. The date’s set, we move on Teusday.” Pete fished in his pocket for his cigarette case. “Just do me a favor Jerr, get some rest.
Jerry rubbed his neck. “I’ll sure as hell try, so long as you do something for me.”
“Stop calling me Jerr,” he smiled, “it’s bugging the shit out of me.”
“Try and take this seriously Jerry. I’ll hook you up with my doctor, he’ll give you something to help you sleep”