Alice couldn’t believe she was sitting in the Black Rose having a Guinness with Dave Brennan. It was heady. He was talking to her not as her bosses did – dismissively, as if they might lose some irretrievable gem by giving her their attention – but respectfully, as if her opinion – or her approval of his opinion – had some actual consequence in the universal scheme of things.
Alice tore her gaze away from his face – the intensity of his acceptance making her dizzy – and traced a drop of condensation down the side of her pint.
“When Noam Chomsky was last here,” Dave Brennan said, “we sat discussing Zellig Harris…”
Alice smiled and raised her eyebrows, unwilling to interrupt with a question that might reveal an inability to place a reference or recognize a player. Her mind raced to keep up with the connections that rolled off of Dave Brennan’s tongue. Harris believed… Surface structure meant… She made a snarky comment, unaware she’d spoken aloud until she saw his smile, heard his laugh and realized they were for her.
“Yes,” he said. “Exactly.” He continued unravelling the intricacies of structural linguistics while her brain kicked into overdrive. The timbre of his voice rose and fell around them like the tune to some anthem only they knew. Her head filled with sparkles, and her eyes lost focus.
Seconds later, Alice felt herself return to the table, the beer, Dave Brennan’s voice. She hoped he hadn’t noticed. She checked the corner of her mouth for drool with a quick lick of her tongue.
You’re sitting here with Dave Brennan, she thought. Dave Brennan is sitting here with you!
Alice was talking herself down from a paralyzing state of ecstasy. ‘Listen now,’ she told herself. ‘Pay attention.’
Dave Brennan’s voice once again took over the air between them, its cadence marking her heartbeat. She recognized the name of a local politician she’d once worked for, and nodded, ready to offer him this tidbit of information.
Dave Brennan talked on.
333 words for including ECSTASY (noun) 3: trance; especially : a mystic or prophetic trance
The title comes from this Stephen Crane poem: http://kymminbarcelona.tumblr.com/post/48612186249/i-saw-a-man-pursuing-the-horizon-by-stephen-crane