My First Impulse

  • by KentOne of the backhoes ran over him.
  • The sun became pitiless.
  • felt almost like blasphemy
  • I dare not kiss you
  • a wobbly wire chair

Tune in next time part 234                           Click Here for Earlier Installments

My first impulse was to take command of the room and make everybody sit down and shut up while I asked the questions.

But my second impulse, to pipe down and think things through for a minute, felt smarter.

My father had been lying to me for years. Faking his death entailed lying to the whole world, but he’d made exceptions for other people while letting me go on believing the official version. The video footage of the construction mishap was quite convincing. One of the backhoes ran over him. Obviously that didn’t really happen. Not to Father, at any rate.

A glowing ball of resentful realization climbed in my mind like a desert sunrise. That sun shone hot on the Svenborgian sisters. The sun became pitiless. They had also misled me. Cleopatra withheld her real name and her nationality, and played dumb about her family when we watched the zeppelin tape. Esmerelda lied about the misappropriation of state funds. She knew Father hadn’t paid Darlene, because she knew Darlene.

Darlene was the one person present whom I did not know for a fact had lied to me.

Employing my Academy training (Tactical Upholstery 245, an elective for third-years in the accelerated track), I went straight to the seam in the curtains and passed seamlessly through it into utter blackness. I spun around, and spotted Darlene’s pale keister swaying in the distance. I gave chase.

Soon I was close enough to call out to her. She looked forlornly over her shoulder, still walking naked through the featureless darkness. Her face was lovelier than I had noticed before. So, though it felt almost like blasphemy to say it, I said, “I dare not kiss you, because right now my mind is like five jigsaw puzzles all in the same box, and my heart is like a wobbly wire chair.”

That made her smile, and the sun rose again, casting a gentler warmth within my soul.

“No, you dare not kiss me because you haven’t paid. And you couldn’t afford it.”

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