Drunken insights (Chapter 14)
My comfort is cloudy and cold. My fingers trail the condensation tracing the outside of my liquor glass. The icy milky liquor my source of consolation as the evening draws near, the drink aiding my bitter murky feelings. I set the glass on a free spot on the large desk. I’m too far gone to care that the housekeeper will give me a lecture on the need for coasters.
I have roped my secretary James into drinking with me, but that was my mistake. The guy is a dull drunk. Where is Kin when you needed him?
“You know next week is the spending bill for the Temple?” he said pointedly.
“So this year you need to go”
He is using our drinking session to discuss work. Sure I pay him to keep me on schedule and consult on various things, but damn he is a terrible drinking buddy. He is like a nagging mother, hovering around looking concerned. I drink to escape my problems not confront them -is that so hard to understand?
We were sitting my rather large office near the front of my house. The walls are lined with books on the bylaws, history, commissioned studies, and other necessary evils. Torches light the room which mix with the books giving it a dusky smell. My wood-carved desk is filled with various papers for me sign, letters from constituents, and books I need to read. The only real free spot now contained my glass, giving me no choice but to rest my feet up on top of a file on small business regulation. A large map of the city with the districts outlined hangs on the only free wall behind me. James’ office in the next room over has become the overflow room and has even more books and papers littered about.
“No” There is nothing he can do to convince me to go and vote for more money for that horrid place. If it was up to me, we would tear it down.
“People have begun to notice that you are not voting for the funding”
“Why do they care? The bill always passes and their precious fucking Temple gets its money”
“Men will find it hypocritical if you have a female yourself but won’t fund the Temple”
I take another sip of my liquor. “Fine, I’ll think about it.” I won’t but I don’t need to tell him that, I just need him off my back.
He raises his eyebrows at me. I’m beginning to think he isn’t drunk enough.
I am starting to get a headache from all the stress and I rest the cool glass to my forehead for a few moments before setting it back on the wet rings of condensation that mark its rightful place on my desk. Then, I grab the liquor bottle from a small but much appreciated liquor tray next to the desk and raise it in the air, “more?”
“Sure.” James stands up from his leather chair on the other side of my desk and grabs the bottle from my hand.
After this we are quiet for a little while. I am brooding over my predicament while James is no doubt trying think of how to bring up more work without irritating me.
“What do you think of this whole King Munter business?” he begins
“It’s stupid as fuck. You would have to be an idiot to believe him.” I feel my irritation grow.
“I agree but some men will follow him because they want to believe”
“Pinn’s aren’t that dumb.” I shake my head and take another sip.
“I think many are desperate enough to believe it. A female for every Pinn sounds like paradise”
I look at James. He’s young, good-looking, and accomplished. Yet, he will likely never have a partner unless he has a family fortune somewhere he forgot to mention. He’ll never be able to afford the down payment. With the salary I give him he should be able to rent one for a few years and maybe get her pregnant, have a kid or two. It’s simply the way it is. Its costly to bring the women here from earth and I’ll be damned if I didn’t think the Fushites, who have a monopoly on the business, don’t limit the number of women coming each year to keep the price up. But there is no way King Munter can deliver on a female for every Pinn. No fucking way.
Uncomfortable with what James said about Munter, I decide to broach another depressing topic: “Who all is coming to the dinner tomorrow?”
“Considering its Mrs. Senator’s first dinner I kept it the list to only close friends: Senator Maddoy, Captain Tutlier, Alex and myself. Once she is more comfortable we can expand to larger dinners”
“Good.” Good that fewer people will see my rotten mood and the fit Luke has when he finds out I have a new female.
Just then there is a knock at the door. James jumps up and opens it revealing that female in a simple green dress, hair flowing about loosely. While Ivy’s outfit is more relaxed than the last time I saw her, her posture is not. She stands stiffly, hands tightly held before her, her wide eyes looking at James. He in turn is looking back at her.
After a few moments their eyes slide to me. Ah, damn my alcohol-fogged brain. “Ah Ivy this is my secretary James”
She plasters a smile on her face and holds out on of her hands. “It’s nice to meet you”
James grabs her hand, bends into a bow, and brings her hand up to his lips. “The pleasure is all mine, Mrs. Senator”