Vol. 2, Issue 5, February 3, 2004
The High Price of Success
Some people are difficult to Write about: for those of us not Gifted with prodigious descriptive Talents, recording the deeds and existence of an average Person is a veritable Challenge if one wishes to get beyond the Surface. A hat, an umbrella, a Masonic pin may all be Readily listed, much like an Inventory-list in a Pawn-Shop. But beyond This, we struggle to Define a person beyond the patently Drear information recorded on our Driving-Licenses: Eyes, Hair, preferred Whiskey.
Ephram, however, is a Lad graced with a Plethora of naturally occurring Epithets that spring to Mind whenever he enters the room. I think it not an Exaggeration to say that Adjectives cloud around him just as Readily as they did the unapologetically proud Heroes of the Homeric epics. Dissolute, crass, Remorseless - if Idleness were Rust upon the shining Metal of his character, he would have the aspect of a Relic fetched from the fathomless Bottom of the sea after a century of the water's cold Embrace. Sloth radiates from every Fiber of his being with gentle Insistence, suffusing an entire Room if it is Closed and capable of depriving All Within of their Wits and eventually their very Consciousness. It is for this reason I must constantly keep the Windows open in the News-Room. Indeed, a singular young Man.
So it is not with a great deal of Surprise that I was told by Elisabeth that he had gone to the Store following our most successful Week. I could only wait with a modest touch of Trepidation for him to saunter through the door of my Study later that day. And indeed, saunter he eventually Did.
"Uncle Zeke, in light of our recent success, I simply had to celebrate," he announced proudly. "What do you think?" He then displayed an object much like an ivory Cigarette-Case. "It's an Eye Pod," he exclaimed.
I allowed as how I didn't see any Eyes could fit in the thing, it was so Slender. Ephram paused, discomfited - I doubt the lad Thought of this when Buying the thing. Ephram, Ephram... He then produced a set of Keys from his Pocket attached to a small Box with Buttons upon it.
"Brand-new Lexus," he said, dangling the keys. "What do you think?"
I took the keys with Interest, and pressed a Button: a Chirping noise arose, seemingly from the Street. "It is impressive," I admitted, "I wonder how the Box throws its Voice; but how much amusement can ventriloquistic Keys provide?" He was once again Agog: does the lad consider Nothing when making his minor impulse Purchases?
"Should I even bother to tell you about the flat screen TV?" he said with a dejected Air. "What's the point of making a lot of money if you can't enjoy it?"
"Money, my lad?" I corrected him Gently. "We are not Compensated by the virtual Copy, young Ephram!" Our revenue model is entirely Theoretical, as I essay to Explain whenever he seems to be paying the slightest bit of Attention.
"Ah," he said, his eyes lighting up for the first time. "Well, perhaps I'd better return some of these then..."
"Nonsense, my Boy!" I assured him. "It has been a rough Week: keep your Eye-ball case and your bird-call Keys if you wish. You deserve a modest Reward for your hard work... well, for working at All this week." Indeed, he has been awake much more than Usual, probably due to the Noise of our Difference-Engines.
Then he appeared to Waver: does the lad have a core of Decency after all? But I insisted that he accept this small gesture of Largesse, keep the small Trinkets; and he reluctantly Yielded.
A good Editor must look out for the Welfare of his staff: largesse is a part of our Charter, I believe. When the bills come Due for his trinkets, I will dutifully pay the Charges. I suspect they may run into the Tens of Dollars, but a happy Employee is worth such costs.