A Tale for the Modern Attention Span
Clearly the two people struggling to get that couch into the apartment above Crescendo Cove Quality Florists are none other than Viveka Bolt-Vandermere and Hugh Gerald Rection. Even though they’re losing the wrestling match with the furniture, they’re laughing. That’s because spiritual happiness has a way of turning even the most labourious of tasks into a joyful undertaking.
For Hugh, this living arrangement represents the first time in his life he’s put down roots. He paid six months rent in advance for the apartment, he bought the couch on an instalment plan, and to pay for both, he’s got himself a steady job as a prep-cook at Tequila Mockingbird, one of Crescendo Cove’s fine restaurants.
He looks great too.
So does Viveka. A mere two weeks ago she appeared haggard and worn. Now her skin is discernibly smoother, a certain vitality has returned to her eyes, even her posture is better (what with the weight of the world being off her shoulders and all).
Isn’t it amazing what you can accomplish when you choose to take control of your life? Indeed, that’s what Viveka and Hugh have done. Neither of them has consumed any form of intoxicant for fourteen days. No booze, no drugs, no nicotine, nothing. Although it would be fair to say that they’re inebriated by life and very much in love (even though they are abstaining from sex).
No less in love, but on the opposite ends of the intoxication and abstention spectrums, are Daedalus Bolt and Trixie Testosterone. Every night after she finishes work at Chez Pussy, they go back to her apartment, drink scotch and vodka respectively, ingest all sorts of illicit drugs, and engage in increasingly experimental sexual behaviour.
No longer does Daedalus look at Trixie and think how strange it is that the two of them are together; he has completely gotten over the fact that, before her amnesia, she used to be Chastity Bolt. Now, to him, she is only Trixie Testosterone and he’s convinced that’s how she’ll stay.
You might think the pair would’ve been cowed into decelerating their relationship after Steel Bolt had Trixie kidnapped, but just the opposite occurred. Since that night they’ve grown even closer, united against their common, fearsome enemy. Daedalus will admit that he was wary of going home the following morning. In fact, he walked to the breakfast table as if treading on shards of broken glass, certain he’d face an outburst that would end, “Get out of this house, Daedalus, and don’t ever come back!” But no such speech was given. Steel didn’t look at him, or acknowledge his presence in any manner, but he didn’t cut him off from the family either. So every morning at 6:00 a.m., Daedalus leaves Trixie’s apartment and goes home for breakfast where he’s shunned, but allowed to continue living, by his brother Steel.
Speaking of Steel, you must wonder what he’s doing. There he is, as always, working diligently in his study even though it is late at night. He continues to work because a certain contract he’s been shooting for with a Japanese multinational is proving impossible to nail down. Consummating this deal has become an obsession.
With regard to his siblings, Steel is ambivalent. He’s happy that Viveka’s new boyfriend seems to have inspired the self-improvement kick she’s on. He realizes, however, that Viveka’s relationships inevitably end badly and he’s concerned that she mightn’t survive a fall from such heights.
Steel would be lying if he told you he didn’t consider having his brother killed after he found out that Daedalus was sleeping with his former wife. But he has decided, in accordance with what he thinks his parents would have wanted, merely to never speak to his brother again.
Steel Bolt is exhausted from all this working and thinking. You can tell by the way he’s rubbing his eyes and resting his forehead in his hands.
That’s exactly the position he was in when the phone in his study rang and the voice on the other end said, “Mr. Bolt, we’ve found an intruder on the grounds.”
Continue reading: Episode 24: Hope for Steel, Nun too Soon