A Tale for the Modern Attention Span
Chastity sat down beside her—suddenly feeling compelled, like everyone else, to protect the adorable waif. She patted Charity’s hand reassuringly: “Don’t think for a second that Steel married you to replace me. I’m sure the fact we look similar is nothing more than a coincidence.”
“Uh-huh,” Charity whispered uncertainly.
After that the two Mrs. Steel Bolts sat in silence for a few moments. One was pondering the notion that her marriage had nothing to do with her value as a human being. It was based solely on the fact that she resembled her husband’s previous wife. This thought bothered her for about 15 seconds, but then she decided she didn’t care since she never really loved him anyway and had married him just for sex. Talk about your all-time greatest let-downs.
The other Mrs. Bolt was reviewing her marriage to Steel as well. She was, for the most part, not regretting it as much as wondering, If I had known before I married him how predictable it would be for him to try replacing me with a clone—even the names are almost the same—would I have still gone through with it? She thought it a koan worthy of consideration. But not now, some other time. “I don’t mean to be rude, Charity, but what are you doing here? You look like you're homeless.”
“Oh, I am.” Charity sniffled at being reminded.
That prompted Chastity to throw her arms around Charity possessively. The latter took to the sympathy like a calf to a teat, clinging to Chastity and weeping.
“There, there,” Chastity said. “I know what it’s like to be homeless and alone. It’s terrifying and no one should ever have to go through it. I am, however, curious to know what possessed you to come here of all places?”
Charity looked up with ruddy eyes and said, “Daedalus gave me this address and told me to come here if there was a problem.”
“Daedalus?” Chastity spat out. “What does he have to do with it?”
“We had an affair—we were in love—and then Steel found out and he sent me away and told me never to come back to stately Bolt Manor, and he told Daedalus not to leave, so Daedalus gave me some money and sent me to a motel and he told me to wait there for him, but that if anything went wrong I should come to this address, so when he didn’t come for me, I knew something was wrong—I think Steel had him killed—I decided to come here,” Charity said without drawing a breath.
“Hmm, you may be correct about Daedalus being dead. Steel doesn’t dislike too many things in this world more than his brother, and if he found out Daedalus was defiling you, I think he would have him killed—”
“No, no, don’t cry. You’re much better off without Daedalus. You may think you loved him and that he loved you, but in reality he’s poison. Certainly not someone you can rely upon in a crisis.”
“But I need him so much. I have no money, I have nowhere to go, I can’t go back to Steel, I have the baby to think of, and I can’t—”
“Wait—what? Did you say you have a baby to think about?”
“Yes,” Charity whispered, regretting that she’d let that tidbit slip.
Chastity laughed as she stood up. “Oh, this is too much. Too, too much.”
“What do you mean?”
Without a trace of self-consciousness, Chastity lifted her over-sized sweatshirt up to her neck, patted her round belly and said, “Meet your baby’s older brother.”
Continue Reading: Episode 76: "A Cheap, Crappy, Stupid Soap Opera"