They Sail the World Alone

What did you just say?” Professor Quentin stiffly looked up from his morning newspaper, disbelief ringing throughout almost each syllable of his query. Easily distracted since birth, nagging jagged thoughts began shifting neurological gear cogs through his mind, engaging with more questions. Such as, when would his wife notice his empty side-plate? Would he be likely to receive additional slices of freshly toasted bread? What’d happened to the whereabouts of the small, glass jar of delicious orange and lime marmalade he’d received recently, as a gift? Would she accuse him of having finished it off yesterday all by himself, just as she had done every morning of this week so far?

“That’s what Aboko told me darling, in a text message last night. But, something tells me he’s making up excuses and in reality he changed his mind about selling us the elephant, once he’d got wind of our plans.”

On hearing this and lasting but a few seconds, the spartanly furnished, drab breakfast nook spun around in front of the professor’s eyes. His breathing quickened as a fear of being sucked into a time vortex filled with undecipherable overlapping whispers, came into full blossom. The sense of dizziness gradually faded away, leaving him with a dry mouth, causing the practical awkwardness of his lips sticking to his gums. He couldn’t resist turning another page of his newspaper, hoping to catch a momentary glance of what laid in store, on page six.

“Jasmine, just how on God’s Earth could he have possibly found out?”
“He started following us on Instagram.”
“Bah!” The professor took a moment to compose his jangly mind. As he did so, he found himself studying his wife’s calm demeanour, noting the ease of someone without a care left in the world. “I suppose my post announcing our upcoming publicity stunt to colourise an elephant pink, gave the game away.” With a practised flick of the wrist, he re-straightened the newspaper. “I regret doing that now.”

“I don’t know why, I never saw it. But don’t fret, we’ll just delete the post,” his wife suggested, “people’s attention spans are such that no one will remember it in a day or two. They sail the world alone.”

Lingering over his wife’s concluding sentence, the professor considered the wisdom laid therein. His glazed stare attached to the untouched cottage loaf located on the table, as he willed her to take a bread knife to it.

“If we’re to get this new invention really up and going, you realise Jasmine, we need to pull off a spectacular coup.”
“My darling, brightly coloured skin dye is going to be the next biggest thing, since … “
“Sliced bread?” The professor interjected eagerly, hopeful for a successful subliminal projection.

Story © Brinkinfield 2021 all rights reserved
Artwork © pedrov_dog 2021 all rights reserved

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