A Tale for the Modern Attention Span
Behold the bright, sunshiny day in Crescendo Cove. Look all around, nothing but blue skies. And yet Viveka Bolt-Vandermere is shivering as she steers her luxury touring sedan through town. See how she quivers as she lights one of her imported cigarettes, takes a couple of drags, throws the remaining three quarters of it out the window and immediately lights another.
Viveka had been pacing around stately Bolt Manor for much of the afternoon when she suddenly felt compelled to leave. She’d gotten in her car, intending to go for drive, certain of only one thing: I’m not going to see him.
Yet, in spite of herself, she finds the car is taking her closer and closer to The Inn Continental. Before she knows it, she’s in the parking lot there.
No! I can’t go see him. Last night was too strange. She’s referring, of course, to the fact that she’d fallen instantly in love with a man the night before, and then had perplexing sex with him. It’s not that it was bad. It was just weird. She was further reluctant to seek him out because she'd fled his room at dawn without saying goodbye. No, I am not going to go see him, Viveka thought as she walked through the hotel lobby toward his room.
She stopped her hand just as it was about to knock on his door. I really shouldn’t do this. At that moment the door flew open and she was face-to-face with an anxious looking Hugh Rection. “I knew you’d come,” he said. “I’ve been waiting for you all day. Come in, come in.” To encourage Viveka to come in, Hugh grabbed her gently by the wrists and led her to the bed where he sat her. “Okay, okay,” he said excitedly, whirling around the room, “I have been doing a lot of thinking—nothing but thinking all day, actually—and what I realized is that the connection we made last night is too special to abandon. I mean, I felt something with you that I’ve never felt before. I felt ... whole or complete or something like that. Do you know what I mean?” He looked at her queerly, but started talking again before she could respond: “So because of the intensity of these feelings, I’m convinced that we must spend time together and explore them. I don’t know exactly how to do that, to explore the feelings I mean, but I figure if we hang out together our true emotions will eventually become apparent. So,” he declared, pointing his index finger at the walls, the rug and, occasionally, Viveka, “this is absolutely something we must do.
“I’ve also been thinking about other shit in my life. Like I told you last night, I’ve been addicted to just about everything. But, while I’ve always known that those things were bad for me, I never wanted to quit—until now. Suddenly I see that the drinking and the drugs and the cigarettes and the sugar are preventing me from doing anything meaningful with my life. I’ve got to cut that shit out. And the wandering as well. It’s time to settle down and see what Hugh Gerald Rection can really accomplish.
“In the past, I used my life-story as a crutch, as an excuse to do whatever I wanted. I’d tell myself ‘Sure you’re a fuck up, but it’s because you grew up without a family, no one loving you. Go ahead, have a drink, do that line, smoke that joint, have another Oreo, do whatever you want because you’ve had a hard life and you deserve it.’ But now I see it,” said Hugh, “suffering is ennobling! Everyone suffers at some point. The heroes are the ones who get over it and do something with their lives. The losers are the ones, like you and I were until today, who sit around and whine and use their pasts as an excuse. Do you see what I mean?” he asked, but again he did not wait for an answer. “So what I’m thinking is this: you and I spend some time together and we devote ourselves to kicking the booze, to getting off drugs, to not thinking about ourselves as victims and, ultimately, to accomplishing something with our lives. I’ve never been more excited about anything than I am right now. I’m convinced, based on the love and understanding we shared last night, that together we can do anything. As for the sex, well that was a little weird, but I think the problem is that we let it happen too quickly. So as far as that’s concerned, we can just cut it out until we’re both comfortable doing it again.” Hugh finally paused for a breath. “What do you think?” he asked with an eager, inquiring face.
Viveka made sure he was indeed finished talking before she smiled broadly and said, “Okay.”
Continue reading: Episode 23: Two Pairs and a Lonely King