A Tale for the Modern Attention Span
Even though it wasn’t yet 10:00 a.m., Steel Bolt had already done more work than most people do in a day, if not a week. It was that elusive Japanese deal that occupied his time. Yesterday he thought he had it sewn up, today it was unravelling.
His hands flew from his phone, to his calculator, to his computer keyboard, to his notepad, in mere seconds. “I don’t give a shit about Japanese nepotism—I want that subway system built with Bolt bolts!” He slammed the phone down angrily and then rested his head in his hands. Cursed Japanese system. So proud of their honour, yet so thoroughly corrupt, he thought.
At that moment Steel heard the elevator doors in the outer office open. He looked at his appointment book. As suspected, no one was scheduled. Who would be fool enough to show up unannounced and expect an audience with Steel Bolt? His curiosity was further piqued when he heard Beth Breath gasp. Then Beth said, “We haven’t seen you around here in a long time,” then there was some mumbling and then Beth again: “Of course I’ll check. I’m sure he’ll see you.”
Instantaneously the phone on Steel Bolt’s desk rang that ring that indicates Beth Breath is calling. “Yes, Miss Breath?”
“Your brother is here, Mr. Bolt. Shall I send him in?”
“Daedalus? Here? Of course, send him in right away.”
Steel Bolt was halfway across his vast office by the time Daedalus opened the door. And before Daedalus was entirely in the room Steel was upon him, pumping his hand and gushing uncharacteristically: “I’ve always dreamed of this day, Daedalus. The day you would choose to take charge of your life and come back to work like Daddy always wanted. He’d be so proud of you right now. Of course, I can’t determine your exact job description at the moment, but I can tell you which office will be yours: the corner one on the seventh floor. The same one Daddy used to have you in. I must confess I’ve kept it vacant all these years in anticipation of this very day. You know, many people would say I’ve accomplished great things in my life: I’ve made scads of money, I married a wonderful girl, I live in one of the most marvellous homes in the world. And yet I have always been disappointed that I wasn’t able to help you more. Even on days when I put together billion dollar deals, I'd come home and see you sitting there all useless and debauched and I'd say to myself ‘there is your failure, Steel Bolt.’ But now I’ll never have to say that again. It’s going to be wonderful, you’ll see. Together we’ll rule the fastener world from pole to pole! Obviously the first thing we’ve got to do is—”
“Steel, stop. I haven’t come for a job.”
“You haven’t? What then?” Steel asked, genuinely puzzled as to what could have motivated his green brother to force himself into that blue suit (that anyone could see hadn’t been worn in years) and come to the office. Especially two hours after his bedtime.
“I have to talk to you about something. Something that happened, ahem, at the club—”
Steel’s enthusiasm turned to disdain. “Oh for the love of—you came all the way here to tell me about the goings-on at that den of iniquity you feel the need to frequent every night? What a waste of my precious time.”
“But there’s something you have to know.”
“Let me guess, there’s a woman there with absurdly large breasts who can lock her ankles around her ears and shoot things out of herself? Honestly Daedalus, I don’t know what we’re going to do with you. You waste all your time at that sinhole. Think what Mommy and Daddy would say if they knew you went to that place every night to get drunk and copulate with women made almost entirely of silicon.”
“But Steel, you don’t understand—”
“I understand perfectly! Your problem, Daedalus, is a profound lack of self-control. You, a grown man, blessed with intelligence and opportunities well beyond those of the average person, are a libertine who exists solely to drink and fornicate. It’s disgusting and shameful is what it is—”
“Get out, Daedalus! Get out of my office now. I am working harder than you could ever imagine so that Bolt Fasteners, the company that bears your venerable surname, secures a contract that will guarantee its success for years to come. I highly doubt that anything you saw at the club rivals that in importance. Get out of here, Daedalus; get out of here now so I can do my job.”
Daedalus considered leaving. He even moved toward the door, but when he reached it, he realized his brother had to know. He twisted his ring once, turned around and said, “I saw Chastity at the club.”
Continue reading: Episode 10: The Mark of a Saint?