(Last week: A confused Chartan returns to the comfort of driving a limousine as he doubts his ability to teach psychic healing to others.)
Chartan clutched the podium. The 100-seat community room was full, but his focus was on the student in a wheelchair positioned in front of everyone—it was Elisa. He didn’t see Brazil in the last row.
He cleared his throat and began the speech he had created yesterday while waiting for Minerva to finish her session with Dr. Kodor. “Each of you has a reason for being here. Each of you desires an outcome from your investment of time and money in this class. If you don’t agree with what I have just said, please stand.”
“I can’t stand,” yelled Elisa.
Chartan calmly left the stage with a hand-held mike. The audience squirmed. He stopped in front of Elisa. She looked up from the wheelchair with quivering eyes.
“What do you wish to tell me…and everyone else in this class?” he asked.
“You deserve to die!” she said, pulling a gun out of the purse on her lap. Gasps filled the audience.
Chartan surveyed the room. “Does anyone deserve to die, myself included?”
Dozens of people left hurriedly for the exits.
“The gun isn’t loaded,” yelled Chartan. The exodus continued.
Five minutes later a dozen people remained.
“Your idea backfired,” said Elisa, slipping the gun back into her purse. She didn’t see Brazil walking towards them.
“I’ve been asking myself that question about dying for forty years,” said Brazil as he confronted Chartan.
“Do you have an answer?” asked Chartan.
“Just one that covers my guilt.”
Chartan, standing with his arms akimbo, spoke clearly. “Each of us has an inner voice that depending on its strength may direct our lives or annoy us. But I no longer possess the self-control needed to see other people’s inner voices, let alone my own. I am no longer able to teach life restoration classes—I’ve lost my inner voice.”
His audience of two, Elisa and Brazil, sat on the yoga mat in his apartment with blank looks.
“Any response?” asked Chartan.
“I really don’t care anymore,” said Elisa. “The world is shit.” She did not make eye contact when she spoke.
Brazil looked at Chartan. “I thought you were on the right track—no one deserves to die. So what if the room cleared—I stayed!”
“But I panicked,” said Chartan. “I misjudged the effect of a visible gun. I get my comfort from driving now, not from introspection. I believe I need to drive…embark on a journey where I might be able to find myself again.”
Brazil stood up. “We can take turns driving—I’m ready for a change. “
“I don’t even have a car,” said Chartan.
“My beater is your chariot.”
“What about me?” asked Elisa as she rubbed the mat with her hand.
“You still owe me for the photo job,” said Brazil
“How about I buy the gas,” said Elisa as she grabbed Brazil’s leg and hoisted herself up.
“A motley crew,” said Brazil.
‘With no direction,” added Chartan.
“When do we leave?” asked Elisa.
(Continued next Sunday)