A Tale for the Modern Attention Span
Each time Steel Bolt glanced at the gold watch on his wrist, he expected fifteen minutes to have passed; imagine his agitation when he realized only thirty seconds had elapsed. He paced his study some more....
He obviously didn’t get to bed until sometime near 11:00 a.m. Does that mean his whole day is backed up three hours? What if he doesn’t get up until midnight? Then he won’t leave for the club until 1:00 a.m. I can’t stay up that late. I’ve got to work in the morning.
Finally, Steel heard the sounds he’d been waiting for; the same racket his brother Daedalus makes every night as he leaves the house on his way to Chez Pussy. But this evening Steel intercepted him. He opened the door to his study and said, “Daedalus, could you come in here for a moment?”
At first Steel wasn’t sure what he’d say when faced with his brother—but when he looked up and saw Daedalus with that thing between his fingers, he didn't hesitate: “Daedalus! Put that out. You’re not allowed to smoke in here.”
“Oh, sorry,” Daedalus looked around for a receptacle for the butt. He finally settled on a glass from the bar in the corner of the office. “Do you mind telling me what this is about, Steel? I have to get going.”
“Ah yes, I understand your schedule is tight. I would hate to think I’m cutting into your valuable drinking time. Or that I might be responsible for you missing a particularly buoyant set of breasts.”
“I think I’ll just go.”
“Wait! I’m sorry about that,” Steel said quickly, his contrition unfeigned. “It’s just that I find it difficult to broach this particular subject. You, uh, know what I’m talking about, don’t you?”
“I assume you want to ask me about Chastity.”
“Yes, that’s it exactly. What I want to know is, well nothing really, other than I was hoping you could reiterate, or rather clarify, or perhaps expand upon some of the points you made this morning in my office.”
Daedalus could not recall ever hearing Steel fumble for words before.
“Are you absolutely certain it’s her?”
“Yes, Steel, I am.”
“She looks the same, she sounds the same, she’s got the same mannerisms.”
“I see. Also, one more thing: Earlier today you made reference to a particular birthmark you saw on this person’s body. Is that correct?” Steel asked, genuinely hoping he’d imagined the whole thing.
“Left or right?”
“Hmm.” Daedalus had to think about it for a moment. “Left.”
“In what shape?”
“Upright or inverted?
“Upright....” When another question didn’t follow, Daedalus spoke with a sympathetic tone: “Steel, I know how hard this must be for you. And I must say, I wrestled with telling you for a long time—but I realized you had to know.”
“Yes well, I appreciate you telling me," said Steel. "I, uh, hope you’ll forgive my reaction this morning.”
“No problem ... Maybe it’s not my place to say, but perhaps the best idea is for you to come to the club yourself and take a look at her? Maybe you’ll notice something that convinces you she’s not Chastity? Or maybe seeing you will snap her out of this alternate personality she seems to have developed?”
“Hmmm. That’s not a bad idea.” Steel nodded as if the idea were fresh to him--as if it wasn’t exactly what he’d been hoping Daedalus would suggest all along. “Yes, perhaps I will do that.”
Continue reading: Episode 14: In Which Steel Is Hard