71
 

Dressed in denim—shirt and jeans sufficiently faded to suggest casual attire yet indigo enough to compliment Dad’s emerald irises—the Private Eye casts glances surreptitiously from laptop screen to couple, the screen compositing a portrait that mirrors the lad; there is no doubt whatsoever that the lad is Samuel Blumenthal. And the lass?

  • Twenty-ish

  • fair-skinned

  • paprika sprinkling of freckles on freshly filled out face

  • hair, the color of a jack-o-lantern, stylishly spiked

  • lips artificially lush

  • limbs slender

  • figure...

not unlike Flo’s during the one time she was pregnant—outcome of our honeymoon in Venice, we calculated, counting backward, looking forward to a parenthood we neither of us entertained, too wrapped up in our May-December passions, Flo enthralled by my crow's-foot-stamped maturity, me by her sweet disposition and buoyant derrière as it bobbed with taut allure before my resurrected ardor, keeping me erect and relentlessly inflamed, intent on taking her repeatedly, middle-age prostate be damned, till one imperfect spermatozoa swam its way into an equally imperfect egg, the short-lived upshot running out of vim by second trimester’s end, vacating her whose optimistic plumpness thenceforth withered like a raison, barrenness reinstated, never to conceive again.

  • ... faintly Rubenesque, if not in heft, in maidenly pulchritude

  • outfit, to my fuddy-duddy aesthetics, brazenly indiscreet...

youth obsessed by sex, flaunting body parts, oblivious to consequences my generation faced—hers having vaccines aplenty to minimize threats and maximize extravagance.

  • ... a mesh and pigskin halter, matching short-shorts, vintage panty hose, and alligator pumps

synthetic, one would hope, but the young are also environmental gluttons, theirs the only species whose endangerment earns concern, while others fall by the wayside. Why preserve mere remnants? People are the planet's premiere life form. Always have been. Always will be. "World without end, Amen." A singular anthropocentrism that I, with my whole heart, share... or did once... not so long ago... during Flo’s brief pregnancy... faith renewed in humanity albeit fleetingly while placing ear to bulge, listening to the promise of our progeny like the score of an unfinished symphony...

"What’s he saying now, Dad?"

"Hush—'he' is a she—don't interrupt. ’Tis a wee voice, Flo. Takes tons of concentration to bypass your digestion. What have you been eating, woman? Poor little lass is all but drowned out in your gurgle, gargle, gush. Soft, now... Soft, now... Aye... You don’t say. Bless me... As good as all that, is it? Wait; I’ll tell your mum. She’s giving me the blarney about what it means to float, how blissful life can be when it doesn't much matter which-end's-up. Fancies herself an aquanaut, she does, as if she knew the term. Comes from feeding her Lord-knows-what for breakfast. By lunch she’ll be the Pope, claiming amniotic fluid is some inland holy 'see.'"

... human beings being all the more miraculous during their creation. Would that she had lived.

"What’s she saying now, Dad. No. No! What’s she saying now! You’re not listening hard enough. Dad? Dad? What’s she saying now!?"

But all he heard that desperately hollow day was the echo of their loss.

What brought that on? True, the lassie glows. Saw it when she made her 'entrance' from the loo. Concluding she’s with child, though, is more than a little jump. Baby fat she owns, but that might come from lattés. Or maybe it was 'Samuel' going down on bended knee that brought back memories. Sure looked like a proposal he was making. Took her by surprise. Blushed, she did, cheeks turned rosy-pink as a baby's fresh-spanked bottom. What’s she showing him now? I believe... if she’s online... which she is... no firewall... quick... I'm in... Whatever is on her hard drive—"click"—is mine.

From Dad’s position in the coffeehouse’s corner he can monitor the couple and conceal his laptop’s screen, on which he displays what Joanna displays, having hacked into her computer, in which more than the Photo-Play she exhibits has been (opportunely) stored. What Sam beholds—with manifest astonishment—the Private Eye notes in passing, rifling through an array of clearly-identified files while he has the chance, racing well ahead of the dumbstruck twin to find the whereabouts of his no-doubt-about-it brother, emails saved a likely starting point in a folder labeled “ROCKEFELLER”—copied and downloaded—in another labeled “WEDDING”—copied and downloaded—in yet another labeled “JERK”—copied and downloaded—all of this accomplished through a Trojan Horse backdoor before it—disconnecting—slams.

"Walk?"

"Where to?"

"Golden Gate Park?"

"If you like."

"It’s close; right?"

"A few blocks to the Panhandle. After that it’s nothing but birds and bees, meaning trees and Mother Nature, all the way to Ocean Beach."

"Perfect."

"You mean we’re 'strolling' to the Pacific?"

"Incubators need exercise."

"Ah, the baby."

"Yes, the baby. Baby makes three. If you’re not okay about that..."

"I’m okay about that."

"You’re sure? Because I’m having this child, husband or not, so if that’s a problem, Sam..."

"You might not believe this—I hardly believe it myself—but what I said I meant, Jo; my offer still stands."

SRYME@JEANNECLAUDE.ET.NET

#8

STUYVESANT FINK IS REMINGTON FALK. RESIDENCE: WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND. OCCUPATION: PRODUCER AND PURVEYOR OF PRIMARY PARTS AKA BLACK MARKET ORGAN PEDDLER (FOOTAGE OF HIS RENEGADE OPERATION ATTACHED—BRACE YOURSELF; NOT FOR THE SQUEAMISH). I’VE BOOKED A FLIGHT TO AUCKLAND, THEN ON TO THE CAPITAL. CHANCES ARE MY IMMANENT ARRIVAL WILL NOT HAVE BEEN FORESEEN. SUBJECT LIVES ALONE, EVIDENTLY, BUT HIS SON ROCKEFELLER (A GRADUATE STUDENT IN ROBOTICS AT STANFORD UNIVERSITY, PALO ALTO, CALIFORNIA) IS VISITING. THE SON, IN A REPORT TO HIS FIANCÉE BACK HERE IN THE STATES, CLAIMS STUYVESANT/REMINGTON IS UNWELL. A MENTAL BREAKDOWN HAS LANDED MISTER FINK / FALK IN SOME POSH ASYLUM. I ASSUME YOU WILL WANT THIS DOCUMENTED ALONG WITH THE HOME ADDRESS. I ALSO ASSUME, ONCE I HAVE DONE SO, THAT MY DUTY HAS BEEN DISCHARGED. APOLOGIES MS / MR CLAUDE FOR MY UNPARDONABLE DELAY IN COMPLETING THIS ASSIGNMENT.

D. O'ROURKE

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