‘I got no new ideas,’ thought the biggest shark in the think tank. Evan strained and strained but he simply could not come up with a thought. Writer’s block was brutal. He had always been so prolific, but, suddenly, and with no apparent reason, the creative well just dried up. His pen was out of ink. His pineapple was out of juice. He hadn’t contributed a thought the company accepted in almost two weeks. He knew if he didn’t come up with something soon, he was going to be fired.
‘I’ve seen a lot of bodies come and go, think-tankers going one maybe two weeks without a thought, then bam! They’re out the door. I’m next. There’s always fresh blood to replace me. Guys that could go six months, maybe a year with fresh stuff, before burning out and getting replaced. A long career in the think tank was three years. I’ve been here seven. That’s the reason I haven’t already been fired. But, seven years will only carry so long.’
Evan’s boss, the head thinker, Mr. Walker, walked in The Speaking Room.
“Hello, hello everybody.”
“Hello, Mr. Walker,” said the set of six thinkers standing in The Speaking Room. There was no furniture in The Speaking Room, because Mr. Walker believed you speak better standing up. Sure, there were desks and chairs and even muffins in The Thinking Room, but The Speaking Room was void of furniture and muffins.
“So, what do you got for me?”
Janet went first. Janet always went first. “Sir, I have a thought that we create a jacket that adjusts to the temperature. Its outer layer would read the temperature and the jacket would thin or thicken depending on the reading. And of course the jacket comes in all the latest styles and colors.”
“Ok, I’ll take that. Next.”
Sergio was next. “I have a thought that we make an oven that not only cleans itself, but cleans pets as well. You put your turkey and your pot roasts in there, then after, you put in your puppy or cat, and hit CLEAN and you’ve got a clean oven and a clean pet.”
“I’ll put that in the Maybe pile. Next.”
Hannah was up next. “I have a thought that we create a bed that not only vibrates, it does your taxes.”
“What? What the hell does a vibrating bed have to do with taxes?”
“Taxes are hard to do. People pay-”
“Taxes have nothing to do with vibrations! If anything they’d kill the vibrations! People want something sexy! People don’t buy vibrating beds for a civic duty, you moron! Next!”
The five, including and especially Evan, hated Hannah right now for getting Mr. Walker mad. It was never a good idea to get Mr. Walker mad, cause he could get irrational when he gets mad. Also, he was less likely to like a borderline idea after getting angry.
Ronald spoke next. “Ah, sir, I have a thought that we invent diapers with a tracking device. So if the baby goes missing, his scanners will pinpoint the exact location.”
That seemed to do the trick. The mood in the room immediately lightened as Mr. Walker stopped pacing and grinned at Ronald.
“Yes, I’ll take that. Next.” Mr. Walker was not one for compliments, however, he wore his emotions shamelessly on his face and when you pleased him, you knew it.
Mr. Walker waited a few seconds for someone else to give a thought. He walked over to one of the remaining two to not have given a thought. Mary had been intentionally walking wide swaths away from Mr. Walker, who liked to walk throughout the room throughout the meeting. Mary had no idea and hadn’t had an idea all week. “Mary? Do you have any thought to add?”
“No, Mr. Walker, but-”
“You’re fired. Thank you.”
Mary left quietly in tears. Then Mr. Walker walked to Evan. “And Evan? Did you think anything today?”
Evan racked his brain for anything he could at least get on the Maybe List. He opened his mouth and just let whatever words come out. “I have a thought that we invent a beer that has the same affects of alcohol, but, doesn’t show up on breathalyzers.”
Mr. Walker took a rare moment to consider this. He pulled out pen and paper and made a pros and cons list. Pro: it would be very popular with the drinking and driving crowd. Con: it would be very popular with the drinking and driving crowd.
Mr. Walker was never one to let the fear of getting hit by a drunk driver get in the way of good business. “I’ll take it,” he said.
And three months later, Mr. Walker would only see the headlights of the drunk driver that would run him over crossing at a light. And Evan wouldn’t know what happened until the next morning waking up in his car parked in front of his house. His cell phone woke him. It was his secretary to tell him Mr. Walker had been killed in the night by a drunk driver. Evan said he was coming in to the office, then hung up, got out of the car and stepped in front to see the blood and what looked to be skin on the Cadillac’s dented grill.
He went into the house to get a bucket of soapy water and some towels. He cleaned the grill thinking he was wasn’t going to turn himself in. He had a thought that it was what Mr. Walker would want.