A Tale for the Modern Attention Span
Steel tried to raise his head from the desktop where it was resting—but in that instant he became convinced that someone had taken a large, metal wedge, either ice cold or burning hot, and used it to split his skull from front to back. And then, rather inconsiderately, left the wedge lodged in his brain.
He clenched his eyelids shut, battling the blazing pain and gut-heaving nausea. He wanted to warn Viv of his impending demise, perhaps get her to call an ambulance, but he knew if he opened his mouth he was sure to vomit.
“... I thought you’d gone to work already. Do you realize what time it is? It’s almost noon.”
Steel could only grunt in response.
“Oh Steel, we’ve received the most wonderful news,” Viv continued excitedly. “Moogoo Guypan called earlier. He said they won’t be arresting you because the Crescendo Cove Crusher struck two more times last night while they had you under surveillance. The killer struck again, Steel, isn’t that great?”
“And it gets even better: evidently a man called the police last night to taunt them and in the process divulged information that only the real killer could have known. So now they’re absolutely certain it wasn’t you!”
Slowly, blurry memories of the previous evening seeped into Steel’s consciousness. Benson Benoit.
“Naturally I came looking for you after Moogoo called. When I didn’t find you in your room, I assumed you’d gone to the office already and that he’d get in touch with you there. But Beth just called. She told me to tell you that everything is back to normal. All your numbers are accessible and she’s already made some crucial payments. I don’t know what that means, but Beth seemed very excited. Why didn’t you tell me there were problems at the office, Steel? I’m your sister, not to mention a part owner of Bolt Fasteners, I have a right to know. It must have been extraordinarily stressful for you to have the Crusher thing and difficulties at work hanging over your head. Steel, you have to learn to externalize your feelings better. You have to deal with your problems more effectively.” Viv was feeling particularly close to her brother just then. Not only because people enjoy being the bearers of happy news, but also because these were things she’d wanted to say to him for a long time. She reached out and stroked his cheek.
It didn’t occur to Viv to wonder why Steel hadn’t raised his head—until the clamminess of his skin told her that something was amiss. Only then did she notice the decanter—all but empty—and the glass.
Viv gasped. “Steel, you’ve been drinking!?”
Continue Reading: Episode 105: Steel Lies, Almost Dies, Practically Cries--Then Gets Wise