A Tale for the Modern Attention Span
A whimper escaped her boyfriend’s lips.
Benson Benoit laughed goadingly. “Look at him, he can’t even talk.”
Viv turned, an appalled expression on her face. “How can you mock him? He’s your son!”
“Just because one of the many vaginas I’ve deposited semen in over the years happened to emit a child, doesn’t make me a father. I’m no more a daddy to him than I am to that gay private investigator you and I collaborated on.”
Viv looked at him hatefully.
“The closest thing I have to a son is this guy here,” Benson said, putting his arm around Burl Hard. “This one I took and created, moulded, fashioned all by myself. He was an idiot, a dunderhead, an uneducated fool when I found him; now look at him. He’s able to carry on almost-intelligent conversations. Say something smart, my boy.”
Burl lowered his head in humiliation.
“Oh well, I didn’t say his education was perfect—or complete, for that matter.”
Dr. Dick Tickle laughed his raspy, too-many-cigarettes laugh. “Let me get this straight: You,” he said looking at Viveka,” had sex with him” (pointing at Benson) “and now you’re having sex with him” (pointing at Norbert) “who is his” (Benson’s) “son? And you used to also have sex with him?” (Burl)
“Correct,” said Benson eagerly, “but it gets even better. She also had sex with the child that resulted from our coupling while he” (Burl) “is the son of the man she used to be married to.”
Dick Tickle laughed incredulously. “This sounds like a tawdry, low-budget soap opera.”
Viv was oblivious to their taunting. Her only concern was Norbert. She stroked his hand imploringly. “Norbert honey, are you alright?”
“Enough small talk,” Benson said. “Let’s get down to business. Storr, give us the papers.”
Barry Storr put his briefcase on Viveka’s desk and pulled out a sheaf of papers. “I drew these up according to your wishes, Mr. Benoit. It’s a standard agreement in a buyout of this nature. I think you’ll find everything satisfactory, Ms Bolt.”
Viv paid no attention to him; she was still fixated on her uncommunicative boyfriend.
“All that’s required is Burl’s signature here and here,” Barry continued.
Burl Hard signed where indicated.
“And you, Ms Bolt, must sign here and here.”
When the papers were put in front of her, Viveka turned back around. She looked at them, saw Burl’s signatures and the blank spaces waiting for hers. It hit her that once those spaces were filled, everything her father had worked for, all he had achieved, would be gone. She hesitated. “You think I’m actually going to go through with this now that I know you’re involved?”
“That doesn’t change anything,” Benson said. “Bolt Fasteners is about to go out of business and you need to get something for it or you’ll be destitute. Come on,” he urged, shoving a pen into her hand.
Viv looked at him loathingly again, but realized she had no choice.
Oh, how different the future of Crescendo Cove would have been had that pen worked. But it didn’t. It was dry. Viv was forced to shake it, then find a scrap of paper and scribble across it. When a line still was not produced Dr. Dick Tickle pulled out a pen and gave it to her. “Here you go,” he said.
At the precise moment Viv was poised to attempt signing again, everyone in the room heard the elevator open.
Dick Tickle amusedly.
Barry Storr—actually he kept looking at Beth.
The office doors flew open. “Viveka! Don’t sign anything!”