A Tale for the Modern Attention Span
Beth Breath trudged in. (Even walking is onerous these days, as her depression drags her to heretofore unknown depths.) She found Steel not seated at his desk, but looking out a window. She went and stood beside him and saw that he was watching construction on the land across the street from Bolt Fasteners—the land he’d sold just two weeks before.
“Tell me what you see, Miss Breath?”
Despite herself, Beth brightened slightly; he was asking her opinion for the first time since he’d gotten married. She looked carefully before saying, “They’re not tearing down the old factory. It appears they’re renovating it, as if they’re going to use it themselves.”
“Exactly. What possible use could a factory that previously produced fasteners be to anyone?”
“I’m not sure.”
“And look, look at the sign that’s going up.”
Beth did look and saw a crane putting huge letters in place atop the building. So far an “N,” a “G,” an “E” and an “S” were in place and an “I” was being hoisted up to join them.
“Either I just sold that land and factory to someone who is going to market syringes or fringes, or I sold it to someone who plans to go into direct competition with me.”
“Didn’t you find out who the buyer was before you sold?” Beth said, thinking she was asking a stupid question.
“No,” Steel replied reluctantly, ashamed that his world-renowned business acumen had been blindsided by the thought of buying baubles for his new wife.
“Oh Mr. Bolt,” said Beth with more reproach than sympathy.
“I know. I know.”
“Look,” Beth said suddenly, pointing to a truck that was arriving to the worksite with more letters that were to make up the sign. On top of the pile was an H.
“Good god,” Steel groaned, “I sold that perfectly good land and factory to a hinge company. What was I thinking?”
Beth was ahead of him in trying to decipher the mystery. “D-R-A-H?”
“Those are the other letters on the truck.”
Steel Bolt’s mental acuity was obviously diminished because it was Beth who solved the anagram. “No, they’re installing the letters in reverse order. H-A-R-D. Hard Hinges,” she announced.
Steel gasped. “As in Burl Hard?”
“I suppose it could be.”
“Oh, for god’s sake! Miss Breath, find out if it is in fact him. If it is, get him in here for a meeting immediately.”
Continue reading: Episode 37: Breakfast With the Bolts, Redux