A Tale for the Modern Attention Span
Look, there’s Chastity Fate cleaning out the storefront that used to be Crescendo Cove Copies (a small printing firm recently forced out of business by one of those big, soulless chains). Complete with toolbelt around her waist, she’s sweeping and painting and hammering with such vigour because this space is going to be the headquarters of the Crescendo Cove Council of Lesbians and Outed Gays (CCCLOG, which everyone pronounces “Clog”).
Like seemingly everything else she does, Chastity has taken to being a lesbian with boundless energy. Within hours of discovering there was no support group for gay people in Crescendo Cove, she’d formed one. She took care of fund-raising, renting office space, recruiting members and conscripting volunteers “almost single-handedly.”
Folks in Crescendo Cove say “almost single-handedly” because there’s no discounting the effort put in by one Guy Laflamme. He'd always wanted to start such an organization himself, but lacked the gumption. But now, because of Chastity’s fervour, he’s reworked his waitering schedule so he can devote as much time to CCCLOG as possible.
Both are pleased with their progress and look proudly on their new headquarters—though they’re a little disappointed that this project keeps them from the ones they love. Wouldn’t it be ideal if their significant others could work alongside? Alas, that’s not practical. On the distaff side of things, someone has to look after the kids, and that job has fallen to Charity Hope. Not that she minds. Meanwhile Hugh Rection is busy driving around in his gold Cadillac, spying on cheating spouses (most of the time wishing there were more intriguing cases to work on as a private investigator in Crescendo Cove).
We go from the unrestrained joy of doing what one loves, of working for a cause one believes in, to poor, poor Viveka Bolt. There she is behind Steel’s desk at Bolt Fasteners, scarcely able to comprehend what’s going on around her.
Since her youngest brother’s departure, Viv has made a commendable attempt to run the company—well, commendable in effort, but clearly deficient in execution (even with the help of Norbert and Beth). Viv is wildly intelligent and a marvellous painter, but these last few weeks have made it glaringly apparent she possesses no head for business.
(For Beth Breath, this whole experience has been the rudest of awakenings. She thought she knew everything that went on at Bolt Fasteners [where Steel invested the money, the size and importance of various accounts, etc.], but she’s discovered that, in reality, huge gaps existed in her knowledge.)
Perhaps Viv’s attempts to run the company would be more fruitful if Burl Hard didn’t call every hour and ask if she’s ready to sell it. Every hour she waits, the price he’s offering drops. It’s already ridiculously low, but Viv is starting to think it would be better to get something for the company than nothing….
And so it was, Viveka Bolt staring at a spreadsheet on the computer screen, a befuddled Norbert looking over one shoulder and a chagrined Beth over the other, when the phone rang.
“Are you ready to sell yet?” Burl asked, though with no indication he was enjoying himself.
Viv looked at the other two.
Both knew what she was thinking—and neither gave her a contrary look.
“Yes,” she said tersely.
“Fine. I’ll have the papers drawn up and I’ll bring them to your office at noon tomorrow.”