Episode 12: Applauding a Plodding Plotter

At the table furthest from the entrance of Crescendo Cove Coffee and Crullers, two men sat engaged in conversation.  Anyone could see that the individual facing the door was none other than Burl Hard.  Yes, the same Burl Hard who had, up until a few hours ago, been the Bolts’ stable boy; the same Burl Hard who had just been informed that his father, a person completely unknown to him, had died and left Burl a billion dollars.

Burl sat with a stunned, uncomprehending expression while the man with his back to the front of the restaurant talked rapidly and gesticulated often.  Burl Hard had never seen this silver-haired gentleman until an hour ago.  He looked across the table at the man’s face and liked what he saw, but he’d be damned if he understood much of what he was saying.

“Think of it Burl: With your money and my brains, we’ll be able to take down the Bolt family once and for all.  They’re finally going to pay for the hurt, the pain, the scores of injustices they’ve meted out over the years.”


“Do you realize that the lifestyle those people enjoy is the product of the broken backs and sweaty brows of people like you and me?  People who were never treated with a modicum of respect, a shard of decency, a shred of dignity?  But I’m getting ahead of myself.  I don’t mean to cause offence, but it seems to me you haven’t had much of an education.  If we’re going to pull this off, the first thing we must do is rectify that.  For starters, we’ll send you abroad.”

“Hey,” Burl said indignantly, “I can get girls on my own just fine.”

“What?  Oh, never mind.  Trust me, after a few months in Europe we’ll be better prepared to come back here and enact our plan.  Oh, it’s going to be fantastic!  Together we will destroy the Bolt empire and the entire family as well,” said the man.

“And why do we want to do that?” Burl asked, genuinely puzzled.

“Because we hate them!  We hate them for what they’ve done to us and to countless others like us who don’t have the resources or the wherewithal or the ability to avenge themselves.  It is for them as much as ourselves that we undertake this mission.  It is for all the nameless, faceless peons who have been pissed upon by Steel Bolt and his father before him.  It is for all those who hate the Bolts that we do this.”

“But I don’t hate the Bolts.  I love Mrs. Bolt-Vandermere,” Burl replied.

“You should hate the Bolts, young man.  You should hate them for the way they treated you over the years, forcing you to toil interminably in that barn, compelling you to clean their horses' shit.”

“But that was my job.  I was the stable boy.”

“I realize that,” the man said patiently, “but what about now?  What has Steel Bolt done for you recently?  Fired you and told you to get out of town before sundown like some spaghetti-western bandit.”

“He told me that I couldn’t be with Mrs. Bolt-Vandermere no more or else I’d lose all the money my father gave me.  Is he right about that?” Burl asked, sensing this stranger might know.

“Yes, he’s right, but that doesn’t mean you should hate him any less.  Oh, who cares.  Even if you don’t hate Steel Bolt, I’ve got enough animosity saved up for both of us.  And as for your infatuation with Viveka is concerned, trust me, it’ll pass,” the stranger said patting Burl Hard’s hand.  Then he clapped his own hands together and smiled broadly; “Oh, we’re going to do great things, my boy.  Just you wait and see.”

Continue reading: Episode 13: An Invitation to a Dance Recital