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The Psychic Network - Geoffrey by Timothy Eldon
SUMMARY: At a train station, a woman finds herself talking to a stranger. And all sorts of ideas begin to sound good...
The train was late. That would help.
Geoffrey hurried along the platform, searching for the woman. He had her picture in his breast pocket, just in case, but he didn't think he'd need it. Like most of the Network, he had a photographic memory.
Tall, thin, and balding, Geoffrey moved in a manner that seemed hesitant. His mannerisms were of someone who was not comfortable in the current environment, perhaps slightly paranoid, as if he was constantly expected someone to jump out at him.
His search of the rail platform was not hestiant. He knew exactly who he was looking for. A woman, with black hair, blue eyes, pretty in a non-hollywood way, with a slightly worried expression on her face. Her name was Carolyn, and she needed help. Geoffrey had been sent to provide it.
He saw her! Sitting by herself, her small suitcase upright on her lap, both hands clutching the handle, staring out over the lines and trying not to make eye contact with anyone. Geoffrey sensed Carolyn didn't want anyone to sit on the same bench, if possible, and so had planted herself in the exact centre, hoping others would be uncomfortable enough to stay away.
Geoffrey slowed his pace, began looking around as if for somewhere to sit. He kept this up for a few moments before, appearing slightly confused, sitting on the end of the bench beside Carolyn. She gave him a startled look, then shuffled a few centimetres away - far enough to avoid giving offence, but more confortable as far as her personal space was concerned.
He flashed her a quick, uncertain, smile, without teeth, then spent some time looking up at the overcast Chicago sky.
"Strange sort of weather we're having," he said by way of an opening.
The reply, "Yes," came hesitantly, and delivered in a way that suggested she didn't want to continue the conversation. Geoffrey quietly listened to his senses, found that direct might be better.
"Carolyn?" he began.
She looked at him sharply, startled. "How do you know my name?"
"Ooh, ah, I didn't mean to, ah , startle you," he replied in his uncertain manner. "I thought you might remember me."
He turned away, as if a little hurt.
"Remember you?" Carolyn asked. Geoffrey could feel her mind begin its search for him. He would have liked to implant a vague memory, but it was forbidden. "I'm not sure..."
"Oh, that's okay," he said with a wan smile. "I'm not particularly memorable."
She gave him a small smile of her own. The first barrier.
"I'm not surprised," he continued. "You and Brian..."
"Brian?" It had worked. The thoughts came to the top of her mind. She glanced guiltily at her case. "Oh yes, Brian..." she said, distracted.
"It was a large party," Geoffrey continued, adlibbing for all he was worth. "You seemed so happy together. Not like Joanne and I." His British accent underlined the sadness implicit in this statement.
"Joanne," Carolyn said. Her mind had turned up no information on this man, but he seemed to know her. "How is she?"
"We parted a few months ago," Geoffrey said, turning to look at her.