Experimental #2, December 21, 2012

By Richard Grunert

Completed December 21, 2012

Words: 348

Experimental #2, December 21, 2012

It was the late afternoon and he was alone. The world was supposed to have ended that day, but it was taking a while.

All around him his father's animals (two dogs; three cats) were napping. One, the husky hound, lay on the carpet beside the couch upon which he sat. Earlier, he'd felt an uncommon surge of compassion toward the creature in the guise of a treat, and the usual contempt the dog seemed to feel for him had morphed into an affinity; it had followed him all quietly all day.

He was reading.

'… – Mine too, he said.

Then he thought for a moment and said:

You have a queer name, Dedalus, and I have a queer name too, Athy.

My name is the name of a town. Your name is like Latin.

Then he asked:

Are you good at riddles?

Stephen answered:

Not very good.

Then he-'

He looked up. A series of the cat's low, droning meowls reverberated throughout the castle; a fat gray head shot up and looked around. One of the cats had a heart valve problem that his father had told him wasn't worth it to fix. He sat there still, gazing out into the void of the room, silent. Soon it came again, three low, sorrowful meowls. The dog got up and walked uncomfortably around the Christmas tree. Then, silence again. He gave it a moment, and then turned back to read.

'… sa-'

Ba da ba da ba da ba: the desultory home phone chorus of some old Mozart.

'-i, this is just a courtesy call to let you know that we here at Sirius XM Radio have yet to receive your payment for this month, and you are accruing a balance. If you would like to speak to a representative, please press -'

Click-! Robovoice. He put down the phone. The dog sat looking up at him, expecting something. He decided he wasn't going to get and reading done and trouced outside in disgust.