Janine and Sara watched a man in a business suit run up to the plaza fountain, the one with the abstract sculpture that looked either like clouds parting or an uneven pair of woman’s breasts, depending on which gender you were. The man swung both feet over the fountain pool’s edge and plunged them into the water. He commenced cavorting in the water.
“What’s he doing?” asked Janine. She leaned forward on the bench, as if being a few inches closer could help her more easily solve the mystery.
“Cooling off,” said Sara. She took another bite of her turkey sandwich and thought about the recent study that showed there wasn’t enough tryptophan in turkey to make you tired. She wasn’t sure whether to believe it or not.
“He left his shoes on,” said Janine. “And he opened his briefcase and dumped everything in the water.”
“Maybe he just got fired,” said Sara. She took a few of Janine’s fries. Janine never ate them all, and she might as well have the leftovers while they were still warm.
“He doesn’t look upset.” Janine picked up her fries so Sara wouldn’t take any more, but kept her attention on the man.
“Well then he must be completely insane,” said Sara. “That’s bound to happen, you know. I mean, there must be thousands of people working around here.” She gestured at the twenty-story buildings adjoining the plaza. “I mean, even being conservative, if one percent of the population is crazy, that’s a few hundred crazy people within a few square blocks. I’m surprised there aren’t more people emptying their briefcases into the fountain.”
The man began singing gustily. Something Italian and operatic. Neither Jeanine nor Sara could have named the tune, but it sounded both adamant and triumphant.
“I’m going to get a closer look,” said Janine, setting her fries back on the bench.
Sara sighed and picked the fries up. Janine wasn’t going to finish them now, and Sara might as well eat them rather than leave them for the squirrels. Squirrels harbored diseases. Sara wasn’t a strong supporter of diseases.
As Sara chewed, she mulled over which excuse to tell their boss so Janine wouldn’t get fired when she didn’t return to work that day. Janine ate something that disagreed with her. No, she’d used that one recently. Janine got a headache. No, she’d used that one too.
Sara watched Janine climb into the pool. Janine stomped in the water with glee of a child jumping in mud puddles with no parent in sight. She tossed the sodden papers from the businessman’s briefcase up in the air; they fell heavily back into the water. She sang along with the businessman and their song merged into a happy parody of what the opera tune had been.
“She’s always been completely mad,” Sara told the squirrels. “I’ll just say she fell in the fountain. It’s more or less true.”
Sara gathered up the remains of their lunches and headed off back to work. Somebody had to be not crazy.