Zeno and the White Light

July 28, 2004

While Chris Zenowich and I were working together, the agency hired another writer. He was an older gentleman and he had flair. He drove a white Bentley with vanity plates that read “WRITER.” He claimed relation with a famous actor and producer. He smiled warmly as he gave us advice, leaning back in his chair and bringing his fingertips together, making a little temple of his hands.

When payday rolled around, Chris invited the new writer to join him at the bank downstairs, showing him the ropes of check cashing. While standing in line, the new writer asked Chris why he was so quiet. Zeno confided that he had a sore throat. “Close your eyes, open your mouth, and tilt your head back,” the new writer said. Chris raised his eyebrows instead. “No, really,” the new writer said, and so Chris, now more curious than cautious, complied. A moment passed. “Okay,” the new writer said. Chris closed his mouth, opened his eyes, and the new writer said, “Did you feel that?” Chris said, “No…” The new writer said, “I sent a beam of white light down your throat. It’s ancient Egyptian magic. You’ll be fine now.”

Chris couldn’t wait to share the story with me, adding, “This guy is out of his mind.” A few days later, the new writer sauntered down the hall to the president’s office and told him all the things he was doing wrong with his company. The agency president worked his own special brand of magic and made the new writer disappear. I got his two-drawer file cabinet. Zeno got over the sore throat on his own.

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