A Tale for the Modern Attention Span
“I’ve come to save you.”
“Save me from what?”
“From yourself,” replied Norbert Oglethorpe in his soft, high-pitched voice.
“That’s somewhat ironic, considering it’s your fault I’m here.”
“No ma’am, I don’t think it is. I’m just the person who discovered the truth and came forward with it.”
“You’re a real prince,” Viv said.
“You wouldn’t believe how surprised I was when I arrived in Crescendo Cove, just a few hours ago, and I asked after Hugh Rection at my hotel, and a nice man informed he was getting married today—and that he was getting married to you. Believe me, part of me said, ‘Don’t tell them, Norbert. It’ll destroy them. Just go away and never come back and never let them know what you know.’ But then I thought about it and I realized you would find out eventually. Someday, some way the truth would come out, and it would have been a hundred times more devastating than learning it now.” Norbert almost wept as he recounted the stress of his decision-making process.
Viv looked at him, icily still, and said, “Are you always so fucking earnest?” Then she raised her glass to her lips.
Again, Norbert reached out and stopped her from drinking. “Listen,” he said as assertively as he could with his girly voice, “I realize how shocking this must be for you, but drinking is not the answer.”
“It’s better than anything else I’ve come up with.”
“Why not try talking about it? It’s the only way you’ll ever get through this. I’m here to listen, I’m here to help you,” he said.
“Yes, I realize you’re here. You continually prevent me from enjoying my first drink in months.”
“If you won’t refrain from drinking for yourself, do it for me.”
“For you?” Viv scoffed.
“Yes. Think how hard it’ll be on me knowing that something I did caused you to revert back to the harmful, unhealthy person you were.” He spoke a little more softly, if such a thing were possible: “I don’t mean to be impertinent, but the bartender at the Inn Continental told me all about the self-destructive person you were before Hugh came along. I don’t want to have responsibility for your relapse weighing on my conscience. Please, don’t drink,” Norbert begged her.
Viv remained unmoved. “Maybe you shouldn’t believe everything Guy Laflamme tells you. Maybe I was happier before I met Hugh. Maybe I really, really like drinking,” she said as she raised her glass yet again.
And, yet again, Norbert’s hand shot out and kept the glass from her lips. This time all he said was “Please.”
But he said it in such a way that Viv felt compelled to look at him, to really look at him, for the first time. What she saw was an undeniably handsome man. He was at least six foot four, long-limbed and muscular. His jaw and cheekbones and forehead and nose were all impeccably structured and covered by delicate, chocolate skin. His lips looked soft and inviting.
But what really got her were his eyes. They were big and dark and pleading and they said to her, I really am here to help you. I have no ulterior motive. I am a genuinely kind person who wants to see to it that you do no harm to yourself. Trust me and I will love you, his eyes said to her. And after staring into them for fifteen seconds, Viv’s face lost its impenetrable veneer and she said sadly, “Okay.”
At that point Viv allowed Norbert to put his huge, powerful arms around her and carry her out of Chez Pussy—much to the chagrin of Isaac the bartender.
Continue Reading: Episode 58: Eat a Puss Hugh