A Tale for the Modern Attention Span
Her brother was sitting in his bathrobe, unshaven, amid empty beer cans, wine bottles, champagne bottles, liquor bottles, bags of chips, chocolate bar wrappers, fast-food containers, dirty plates and utensils, playing a video game on the big screen TV he’d had installed in his study at stately Bolt Manor.
When he didn’t respond she continued evenly, “We are at a crucial point, Steel. Bolt Fasteners is about to go out of business. Daddy’s company, Steel, very near bankruptcy. You have to do something.”
“Fuck!” he shouted in response to a dropped pass. Then he finally deigned to give his sister some consideration. “Why do I have to do something? You’re a smart lady, you run the company. In fact, this is me formally resigning. Congratulations, Viveka, you are the new President of Bolt Fasteners.”
Struggling to maintain her equanimity, Viv said, “We both know I don’t have the requisite background or training for that. It has to be you. You have to save the company.”
“No, I don’t. Because you see, Viv, I don’t give a shit about the stupid fucking company anymore. Life is too short for me to spend all my time worrying about fucking bolts.” He took a big sip from his glass, filled it again, and then started up another football game.
“Please, Steel,” Viv said.
“Even if I wanted to—which I don’t—I couldn’t. I’m going on vacation.”
“I don’t have a set itinerary per se, but I’ve heard about some wonderful places. I think I’ll check out Mardi Gras in New Orleans, Oktoberfest in Munich, St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin, Carnivale in Rio, general debauchery in Amsterdam and Thailand. Quite frankly, I’m not sure I’ll ever be back.” Steel said all of this not looking at his sister, opting instead to focus exclusively on the TV screen.
“Fine,” said Viv bitterly. “Go. There’s only so much compassion one can invest in a person, and you’ve exhausted that supply, Steel.” She started to leave, but stopped in the doorway. “Maybe there’s another way. Do you know where I can find Daedalus?”
Steel laughed out loud, paused his game mid-play and looked at his sister with wonder. “You really are naive, aren’t you?”
“Daedalus is nowhere to be found, Viveka. He’s dead. I had him killed due to his distasteful habit of fucking my wives.”
“Oh, grow up, you stupid woman. You’d’ve done the same thing.”
“Get out of here, you bitch!” Steel roared, jumping to his feet and walking toward her menacingly. By the time he reached the door, she’d cowered backwards enough that he could slam it in her face. “I’ll be gone tomorrow,” he yelled, “probably forever. As for your stupid company, sell it, burn it, fuck it up the ass, I don’t care.”
Then Steel suppressed his rage, for he knows one must have a clear head if one is to defeat the Packers on the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field.