A Tale for the Modern Attention Span
Just ask him. Come on, it’s not like you to be timid. Just ask him! Viveka Bolt cleared her throat, looked down the breakfast table at her brother Steel, noted the snarl on his face, and clammed up for the tenth time that morning. Maybe I’ll wait ‘til he’s in a better mood.
Steel folded the Business Section of the newspaper and glanced around the table. He snorted when he saw that Daedalus was practically comatose, his eyes half-open. “Daedalus, if you don’t do something to clean yourself up soon, not only will you be excused from attending breakfast, you will not be permitted to.”
Steel looked over at his wife. Her pale countenance worried him. Especially since he had no idea what was causing it. Perhaps I should decrease our lovemaking sessions to once a week, or even once every two weeks? Yes, exposure to coitus must be the source of this infirmity.
With that he stood and said, almost grimly, “I’m going to work now.”
He turned to leave but was halted by Viveka: “Steel, wait.”
“Oh, what is it?”
Viveka wilted in the face of his irritation. “I was, uh, just wondering if you’ve come to any conclusions regarding my marriage.”
“For god’s sake, Viv, I’ve got more important things to worry about than you getting married to that boy.”
“I know but—”
“Do you realize, Viveka, that Hard Hinges has already started production? Already started production! Do you know what that means?” Steel asked loudly.
“Not exactly. It’s just that it’s been weeks since Hugh came to see you—”
“I’ll tell you what it means! It means that a deal I thought I had sewn up with a Japanese company was suddenly taken off the table because they’re now considering a proposal from Hard Hinges! That’s what it means!”
“I realize this must be difficult for you, but—”
“Difficult? Did you say ‘difficult’? The thing that I care more about than anything else in the world—except for you darling,” he said, patting Charity on the hand (who surfaced briefly from her catatonic state at the recollection of human contact), “the thing I have worked interminably to see successful is now being threatened by an imbecile with a billion dollars. An imbecillionaire! Saying that’s ‘difficult’ is like saying....” Steel searched around for an analogy. “It’s like saying Daedalus enjoys a cocktail now and then!”
Daedalus turned his haggard face toward his brother. He wasn’t sure but he thought Steel just asked him if he’d like a cocktail. “Yes I believe I would,” Daedalus muttered, but no one heard him.
They didn’t hear him because Viveka was crying.
Seeing his sister weep softened Steel (which is odd when you think about it because back when she was drinking, Viveka cried her way through most family breakfasts). “I’m sorry, Viv,” Steel said with genuine tenderness. “What is it?”
“It’s just that,” she sobbed, “it’s just that it’s been two weeks since Hugh came to see you, and we’re eager to start planning our wedding, but we can’t until you give us your blessing; and the sooner we start living our two lives as one, the happier we’ll be, and we love each other so much that we just want to be together, and this not knowing, this uncertainty, is worse than anything. I have no idea what you could possibly object to about Hugh, he’s such a kind and gentle man and, and....” She started to cry harder and was unable to continue.
Steel walked over and patted her on the shoulder. “There, there,” he said, “you go right ahead and plan your wedding. I have no objections.”
Continue Reading: Episode 46: Talkin' Phony 'Bout Matrimony