“Due to the Republican Party’s revived interest in author Ayn Rand, noted editor Blag Dahlia (the Dwarves) has unearthed a piece that has remained unpublished until now. We present it here in an effort to educate those who might learn from it, and confuse those who might not.”
by Ayn Rand
Edited by Blag Dahlia
Seated sluglike and entranced by the massive television before her Cloris Gaul absently fed her porcine face with chocolates and dreamed of a better day, a day when she wouldn’t even have to get out of bed before she could start reclining. The shrill alarm of the telephone cut through her like a hot knife through suet as she imagined another call from one of the teachers at her children’s school (what were their names again?) and the thought of it made her contemplate, then reject suicide for being too much damn trouble. It took five rings for her to answer the phone though she was seated not three feet away on the couch that her husband’s hard work and tenacity had bought.
“Mrs. Gaul, Mr. Gaul would like to speak to you.”
“I’m perfectly capable of talking to my husband without your help, you whore!” Mrs. Gaul screeched into the receiver popping three Paxils and downing them with a half tumbler of single malt Scotch and a hazelnut truffle imported from somewhere or other.
“Jack, is that you?”
“Yes, Cloris, it’s me, J. R. Gaul, your husband until the papers you have been served with are signed. I want to know why you continue to delay the inevitable? My attorneys aren’t amused by your shenanigans and my new life awaits.”
Gaul’s wife winced as the brutal truth attacked her ears with the ferocity of a union steward told that he had to do a day’s work in exchange for a day’s pay. She forced her atrophied mind to creak into motion summoning all of the righteous indignation he had coming, but it was a wan defeated voice that said-
“I just got the papers this afternoon, I was waiting for you to call or come home.”
“I’m never coming ‘home’, as you call it, again. My home is where people move forward, where creativity is rewarded. My home is where I can fulfill my dreams and heed my calling surrounded by those who make some effort to understand and appreciate me…”
“Little Freddie keeps asking where Daddy is!”
There it was right on schedule, the overarching guilt that trademark of modern existence. His wife and children, his rivals in business, those bloated stomachs from Ethiopia, perennial victims all, poor suffering creatures condemned to walk the Earth with nothing but his charge cards and good name to run into the ground. Well from this day forward he would be grist for their pathetic mill no longer. This was Jack Gaul’s Independence Day and he savored it like a mighty oak standing firm on a strong windy day.
“Put young Freddie on the phone, I’ll have a word with him. If he needs some advice it’s safe to say you’re ill prepared to offer it. You sound like you’ve been drinking since noon.”
“I’ve been drinking since I married you, Jack. It’s the only thing that made it almost bearable.”
While he waited for his son the other cellular phone on his belt twittered happily with a text message from his college chum Reardon Browne. Ah, Brownie, the very thought of that lovable prankster filled him with good humor and bonhomie. They had roomed together as undergraduates and been thick as thieves ever since, two thinking class boys determined through pluck and determination to make good. And made it they had, Gaul vaulting to the forefront of science and industry and Browne in the Air Force and later designing satellite technology that had finally made of the skies something useful.
Over the last few years the old soldier had been pulling vintage planes out of mothballs and rewiring them for modern flight. The planes came courtesy of the Glenbeck Airshow and through his military connections he had even secured a coveted license to land on the helicopter pad atop the Gaul Building. There was no better feeling for Jack than soaring with his old chum on those aerial joyrides across Manhattan’s breathtaking skyline. The freedom, the sheer breadth of the nighttime firmament was indescribable to those unfortunates who had never experienced it and probably never would.
“I’m coming to get you tonight and I won’t take no for an answer!”
That rascal, Brownie! Looking out for his old friend Jack, a confirmed workaholic known to burn the candle at both ends. Gazing raptly at his secretary Gaul reflected that there could be no better comrade than one who recognized the truly great for the greatness that they sometimes were too modest to express, even through a publicist.
Gaul suspected that Browne still worked clandestinely for the military, but he tactfully avoided the subject, preferring to circumvent any uncomfortable conversations about the government. Browne was a man who had worked hard for everything he had gotten and in the process had earned the respect and admiration of his friends, his enemies and even his country (the part of it that was worth saving.) He had even taken some shrapnel to the skull in the first Gulf War, but had kept right on flying and achieving, the Six Billion Dollar Man, Jack called him. True, the war had changed him some, but only for the better as far as Gaul could see.
And yes, he’d relish that spin around the night sky tonight. He’d relish it because he had been working hard and man didn’t live by work alone, but also by the kind of play that lesser men could only impotently dream of. He’d relish it because New York was so much bigger and better than other places he sometimes enjoyed looking at all of it at once and really getting his money’s worth. He shot off the reply message with a satisfying whoosh just as his son Freddie came on the line.
“Hey Slugger, what’s the good word?”
“When are you coming home, Daddy?”
“I’m never coming home again, son, your mother and I have certain irreconcilable differences that are mainly her fault. Have you been excelling at your special school?”
There was a pause as the boy struggled to grasp what was being said by his sometimes impenetrable, but nevertheless reassuring father. He missed him so. Pulling at a thread that had come loose from his tennis shoes he said-
“Are you working hard and trying as assiduously as your limited abilities allow?”
An uncomfortable shifting around took place on the other end of the line, which rankled Gaul in spite of the concerted effort he was making to tolerate Freddie’s lack of basic comprehension in even the simplest of conversations. Mental retardation was an obstacle to be sure, but he wouldn’t allow it to become an excuse for tediousness.
“When are you coming home Daddy?”
“Please don’t repeat yourself Freddie, I find it tiresome. Put your mother back on the line. And remember, there is no shame in being ignorant, only in failing to live up to your admittedly miniscule potential.”
When Cloris reclaimed the phone she was sobbing uncontrollably as Gaul knew she would be. When guilt and shame proved ineffective the mooching class always switched on the water works. It was the only utility they had any use for apparently.
“How can you be so cruel and inhuman?”
“Oh, I’m human, Cloris, all too human. And you’ll be hearing from my attorneys every day until you get those papers signed, sealed and delivered. Remember, try as you might you can’t stop the future, only postpone it. Good day!”
Stay tuned exclusively to PWV for Part Three, but don’t fucking miss Part One!