A Tale for the Modern Attention Span
But Steel didn’t say anything for minutes. His eyes were open, wide open, but he did not respond to Daedalus’s voice. A couple of times, during extended periods between blinks, Daedalus checked to see that his younger brother still had a pulse.
Then, quick as anything, Steel snapped out of it. He looked up and said, “What are you doing, Daedalus? Get out of here.”
“I’m just trying to help, Steel. You don’t look so good.”
“I’m perfectly fine," he said as he sat up. "I’m in control here. Now get out.”
“Maybe we should talk about what I told you? What are you going to do about Chastity?”
“Get out,” Steel demanded, standing now. “And don’t ever mention my wife or what you just told me to anyone else! Do you understand?”
“I understand, Steel,” Daedalus said solemnly.
“Good. Now please leave. I have work to do.”
But after Daedalus left, Steel did not do anything constructive (unless you consider pacing back and forth a fruitful endeavour). And he was angry because of it. He considered those who let their emotions get the better of them weak and ineffectual. But now here he was, unable to sit, unable to concentrate, unable to think of anything but the fact that his wife was seemingly alive and working at a strip joint. There must be some mistake, he thought over and over again. But what about that birth mark....
In the outer office, Beth Breath sat beset by worries. It had been a disconcerting morning for her as well. For one thing, Daedalus Bolt, whose shadow had not darkened the grounds of Bolt Fasteners in years, had shown up. Furthermore, Steel Bolt, the man she loved, had been pacing ever since his brother left. As Beth knew better than anyone, Steel Bolt was not a man prone to pacing.
She had even more reason for concern when the door to her beloved’s office opened and he breezed by her, saying, “I’m going for a walk. If anyone calls, take a message.”
Initially the walk was a lie. Steel fully intended to get in his car, drive to the outskirts of Crescendo Cove where Chez Pussy was located, storm through the doors, grab the woman who so closely resembled his wife that she’d fooled his brother, determine if it really was her, and then act accordingly. But when he reached the parking lot he realized it wasn’t yet noon and the place probably wouldn’t be open. Instead of returning to the office though, he continued past his car and headed toward the center of Crescendo Cove.
When Steel reached the downtown area, he saw Crescendo Cove Coffee and Crullers and considered going inside. But it wasn’t a donut and a decaf he desired; he craved a clear head, emancipation from the thoughts enslaving his mind. He remembered his Longfellow: “Sit in reverie, and watch the changing color of the waves that break upon the idle seashore of the mind.” Steel didn’t consider himself a great interpreter of poetry by any stretch, but he was pretty sure ol' Henry Wadsworth was suggesting that waves are good for clearing the head. He strode purposefully toward Crescendo Cove’s waterfront.
Alas, if only Steel Bolt had gone into Crescendo Cove Coffee and Crullers, he might have been able to interrupt a conversation that was taking place therein: a conversation that would ultimately lead to his doom.
Continue reading: Episode 12: Applauding a Plodding Plotter