A Tale for the Modern Attention Span
Steel Bolt knew it. He knew from the moment he first saw Chastity Fate she would never leave him. He knew it as they exchanged their wedding vows. He knew it as they made love that night—the first time for both of them. And he knew it every time he looked at her thereafter.
He also knew it when he got the call: “We can’t even find the wreckage, Mr. Bolt. I’m sorry, but there’s no possibility of survivors.” He continued to know it after he spent millions of dollars on a search and rescue party of his own—who subsequently reported that they couldn’t find the wreckage either and therefore it was ludicrous to think that someone had survived. But Steel knew Chastity was alive, and he knew she would come back to him one day. And now she was here. There was no refuting it; his own brother, who'd lived in the same house as the saintly woman for years, had seen her at Chez Pussy the night before.
Daedalus Bolt watched his brother’s face. He could see the euphoria Steel experienced at the thought his soul mate was still alive. But then his expression changed, to one of dismay, as he considered the notion that she, a candidate for canonization, was seen in a seedy strip joint. Daedalus awaited the onslaught, aware that the worst was still to come.
“You’re saying that you saw my wife, Chastity Bolt, a woman who was singled out by the United Nations for her work with the impoverished, at Chez Pussy?”
“What exactly was she doing there?”
“Working,” Daedalus replied sheepishly.
“Working?! That’s rich. My wife, a woman who once received a personal Thank You note from the Pope for her good deeds, is now an exotic dancer?”
“Ah, she’s more of a waitress actually.”
“Oh, I’m sorry,” said Steel, “I should’ve known that my wife, a woman who Mother Theresa called for advice on being kind, is not a stripper, she merely schleps drinks in a place your average motorcycle gang is scared to enter. Obviously she still retains enough of her moral fibre to draw the line at taking off her clothes.”
“She does take off her clothes occasionally,” Daedalus admitted.
“Oh, she does? My wife, who was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, serves drinks to drunken louts and ne’er-do-wells until the urge overtakes her to get on stage and spread her legs for the gang.”
“It doesn’t work like that. She’s a waitress, but once in awhile, when a girl in the regular rotation is late or sick or ugly or something, Chastity goes on instead.”
“Oh well, I’m glad to see that my wife, a woman who holds over 100 honorary degrees from institutions the world over, still has ambition. Clearly she’s trying to work her way into the ‘regular rotation’ at Chez Pussy.”
“Steel, I realize how ridiculous it sounds, but I know what I saw—”
“And tell me, Daedalus, what did my virtuous wife say when she saw you? ‘Hey Daedalus, what’ll it be? And by the way, how’s that brother of yours? You know, the one I pledged to spend my entire life with?’”
“That’s the thing; I don’t think she knows she’s Chastity Bolt. She goes by the name Trixie Testosterone now.”
“Trixie Testosterone?” Steel howled.
“Yes. And I thought all the things you’re thinking right now, Steel, but the more I looked at her, the more convinced I became that it’s her.”
“Did you ask her?”
“Not exactly. I did go up behind her and say ‘Chastity,’ but when she turned around, she clearly had no idea what that meant. I told her there used to be a waitress at the club named Chastity and I got confused.”
“Good cover. And ingenious test,” Steel said nodding his head approvingly.
“I know, I know, it seems absurd. And I knew you wouldn’t believe me. Hell, it’s taken me over a week to be certain myself. But Steel, there’s no doubt in my mind it’s her. She looks the same, she sounds the same, she has the same mannerisms.”
“It’s been years since you’ve seen her, Daedalus, perhaps your mind is playing tricks?”
Daedalus’s struggle for the right word kept him from noticing that all blood had forsaken Steel’s face. “It looks like a chalice,” the latter croaked.
“Yeah! That’s it exactly. It looks like a chalice,” Daedalus said, happy to have le mot juste at hand. And then he glanced at his brother. “Oh my god, Steel. You don’t look so good.”
Continue reading: Episode 11: Muddling Emotions