Hearing Our Hearts: Do We Listen?
(Mike DePung — Post 351)
The following is a very rough draft of the next chapter in my novel, The Fellowship of the Heart. I want to establish two different approaches to dealing with Heart whispers and Ego shoutings. Stan Boyle is beginning to have his doubts about his part in a grand deception; his Heart may be warning him but his Ego is, too. He’s confused. I hope I convey this sense.
Paul Egan, the principal in the firm of Paragon Engineering, has a plan, one that includes Stan. Well, I will leave it there and see what you think.
Stan had become an accepted fixture with Anne’s team for the Riverview Canyon project. He could move freely around them; they considered him a full team member — all of them except for Anne herself.
She knew of his ambitions and politicking. She had been privy to even more information since she had become a senior associate. She heard others’ opinions of him, which seemed to confirm her opinion of his pandering sleaziness. However, she knew he was smart, and that raised even more cautions for her. At times, she wondered if he weren’t spying.
One afternoon about three or four months into the project, Paul Egan summoned Stan to his office. Egan’s administrative assistant escorted Stan through the sleek, modern, industrial-style doors. She left the two of them and pulled the doors closed.
“Stan, have a seat. How goes Anne’s project?”
“C’mon, Paul, you know it’s ahead of schedule and all the t’s have been crossed and the i’s dotted. But what would you expect with me looking over the accounting end of things?”
Egan laughed. “And you know that’s exactly why we put you there. I just haven’t seen you for awhile. What’s going on with the team? More specifically, how do you think Anne is handling things?”
Stan hesitated. Such cues didn’t escape Egan’s observation; however, Stan realized his mistake in that split second. He would not project neither weakness nor admiration for Anne. “Sorry, Paul, I was just thinking of something I heard the other day. Do you know anything about her team, the two younger engineers — Frank and Sampson — doing research and running drawings and estimates for an alternative materials design?”
Egan leaned forward. Stan’s shoulders relaxed. Egan looked straight into his eyes. “What are you talking about, Stan? Anne had no orders to approve such work. Why would she do this?”
“To be honest, I don’t think she knew about it at first. These two young people are really good, though, Paul. They not only finished their work on the standard design, but also they ran the specs on the alternative materials and they did a good job. They had no idea I even saw their work.”
“Okay, that’s really great work, Stan. You know, I don’t have you there keeping tabs on Anne because I want to injure her reputation,” at this point he stood up and looked down at Stan, “and I want to make it clear that you are not to do that either. You speak to no one else about this except to me. I just want to make sure there are no misconceptions here.”
“Okay, Paul, I get it; I have all along. You know I agreed to this little game of yours willingly. I do expect ‘things’ to happen favorably for me. Please don’t forget I have a law degree, too. I didn’t enter this as an unwitting pawn. I may be a pawn right now, but I expect to be swapped out for a much more powerful peace in the end game.”
Egan realized he may have been too forceful. He restrained his words, smiled broadly, and motioned for Stan to stand up. “Hey, let’s go into the ‘conference’ room. Safer speaking in there and the best Scotch is there.”
Egan pressed a button somewhere undisclosed to Stan, and part of the paneling slid open in the back of the office, leading to an exquisite, plush room, out of character with the modern design of the rest of Paragon Engineers building. He poured Stan and himself a bit of some thirty year old single malt.
He raised his glass. “To both of our successes.”
Stan reciprocated with his glass and smiled.
“Stan, you know I trust you, or Peter and I would never have designed this. The promise still stands, but let me make something clear: this is no ‘little game,’ as you called it. This is big potatoes. We have political connections and plans in place to get us linked directly to the White House. Governor Etts will be the next candidate for President of this nation. We plan to have Anne and her husband Eric occupying the governor’s mansion when that happens.”
“And my part in this is the same?”
“Gentlemen’s agreement, Stan. You will have a much more powerful position than the senior associate status Anne holds right now. You won’t be working with junior engineers. You’ll be our liaison with Etts and the Lafarnges. I know it’s hard now, swallowing your pride and biting your tongue, but it will be worth it for all of us. Don’t you agree?”
Stan sipped the Scotch, allowed it to roll gently over his taste buds, and smiled. “How could I not? It’s just been awhile since we spoke.”
Egan wasn’t looking at Stan. He peered down into the crystal glass. “Yes, it’s been awhile. Listen, Stan, I’ve got some things to do. Why don’t you sit down in the ‘presidential’ chair — you know two presidents have actually been here — and enjoy the drink. Just leave through the main door. Thanks for the information.”
Egan left, but Paul didn’t sit down. He finished the last of his drink, looked around and left the room. He didn’t look back. He didn’t feel like a rook, a knight, or a bishop. He knew it, then, but could do nothing about it: he was, indeed, a pawn.
Hearts know things. They warn us if we haven’t shut them off. Seems like Stan’s may be working, a little. Paul, though, seems to have preferred Ego over Heart. A purposeful choice like that has consequences.