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Episode 54: Genetics and Frenetics

Every person in the chapel gasped at the same time—producing a single, resounding gasp that threatened to empty the room of oxygen.  And then they were silent, staring open-mouthed at the bride.  And then the groom.  And then the bride.  And then the groom....

No, they thought, there’s no way those two are mother and son.  They look nothing alike.  That boy could not possibly be the product of Viveka’s ovum and the sperm of a black man.

But then the crowd realized they shouldn’t be too hasty.  They understood a little about genetics, after all, about recessives and dominants.  

Certainly a Caucasian-looking child is possible in cases of biracial reproduction.  And children don’t necessarily have to look like their parents.  But usually they resemble someone in the family.  So they looked at Steel.  See, it’s impossible; Hugh looks nothing like Steel, who, if what this man says is true, is his uncle.  

And then, just to confirm what they already knew, the crowd looked at Daedalus.   They gasped again.  It was obvious.  Hugh looked like—eerily like—a younger version of his uncle Daedalus.

Daedalus realized that the crowd had reacted upon looking at him.  He had no idea why, so he followed their eyes to the groom and saw, for the first time, that Hugh looked an awful lot like he did when he was 25.  Oh my god, he thought, how is it that I never noticed this before?

Poor Viveka was miles behind everyone else when it came to understanding the implications of the soft-spoken stranger’s claims.  Hugh is my son?  No, no, they’ve got it all wrong.  Hugh is my boyfriend, my fiancé and if Reverend Izzmore would ever finish the fucking vows he’d be my husband.  Don’t they know that?  Then the information penetrated her cerebellum just a little further.  She looked at Hugh with an expression of utter numbness.  “Huh?” was all she could say.

Hugh, his countenance the same, mumbled, “I, I had no idea.”

Twenty seconds of silence ensued.  No one moved, no one spoke.  Hugh and Viveka stared at each other, while everyone else stared at them.  

When it became obvious that neither the bride nor groom would make the next move, Steel turned back to Norbert Oglethorpe: “I assume you have proof of these bizarre allegations?”

“I do,” Norbert whispered, as if he wished he didn’t.

That’s when Viveka fainted.  She might have been badly injured had Hugh not reached out and caught her before she hit the ground.  He cradled her head tenderly in his arms.  After a few seconds she roused slightly and looked into his eyes.  

Without thinking he said, “Mother?”  Then, horrified, he popped up like a pubescent boy’s erection during Math class and bolted down the aisle and out of the chapel.

Continue Reading: Episode 55: Viv Leaves 'Cause of Pity...