William Fisher, Bill to his friends, always thought he would feel something more. Happy, perhaps? Euphoria? Fulfillment, if truth be told? This was the culmination of his career after all. He tried to imagine his retirement celebration, mushy words capping off his years as an illusionist, misdirecting his audience with sleight of hand.
Out from under the hand of two Masters, he thought he should be feeling a sense of relief. Instead, he felt indifference. Not given to wool-gathering, he was surprised to realize the red light on his phone was blinking. How long had it been ringing, he wondered with a start? It was the direct line from the Director, himself.
“Of course, Director. My report is ready. Of course, tomorrow morning, nine o’clock sharp,” his arms felt like lead weights as he replaced the receiver. He couldn’t set aside the feeling it was something to do with his destiny. These last few days it seemed he was in the last act of his life’s play, the script written long before he was born.
He frowned, rubbing his forehead with his right hand, trying to scrub away the pain behind his eyes. What did someone once say about chance and providence? Horace Walpole? “Chance is merely the instrument of Providence, the secret agent that counteracts what men call wisdom . . .”
Bill knew something about secret agents counteracting wisdom.
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