What Men Do


“Aaron denied any wrongdoing”, Uncle Jacob plodded ahead, “ but how could I believe him? No-one would make up such a story, certainly not Lucas. Not to punish Aaron could look like I would be favouring a blood relation. So he stands before us with the word of God heavy in his hands. Let me read the passage one more time.”

 After he finished repeating the passage, but before anybody could pick up a fork, Uncle Jacob said, “Lucas, now please take the Bibles in your own outstretched palms, just to be sure, and for another lesson, as in life there are many. Our job at Jacob’s Ladder is to ensure God’s lessons are well learned and every foot placed on Jacob’s Ladder is sure and steady.” Lucas unhappily assumed the position.

His first interview was a disappointment. They wanted someone to write ads for discount furniture sales flyers, inserted into community newspapers. “Desultory,” he characterized it to Alexis, both of them proud of his vocabulary and his past as a poet. He hadn’t quite given up on the concept, but thought writing lines that would be remembered from constant repetition was an acceptable form of immortality with the benefit of providing a living for a young family.

There were many other interviews, including for retail, market research a new and burgeoning field and even clerical work as the baby became more and more present. Due date soon approaching. Lady Luck, finally smiled on Aaron. A large advertising company was looking for a copywriter with a connection to Generation X capable of snapping their eyeballs and opening their wallets. Aaron didn’t know anything about Generation X or any other generation having enough trouble being whoever he was without being part of something else. But he was eager, and wanting to provide.

They gave him an image and up to twenty five words. It was a mobile phone. It was a handheld phone about the size of a full metal thermos, he had never seen one, but had read enough newspapers to know what it was and how it was going to be the next big thing. They asked for three samples of what he might come up with in an hour. They left him in the airless, windowless interview room with a coffee and a glass of water, and a pad of paper. He did not like being closed in so he was sure he could finish in less than hour.

He wrote: “Clear as a Bell.”

He wrote: “Who says you can’t it take with you?

He wrote: “You’ll never be stranded, saved by (the) Bell.

He was particularly pleased with the last one, thinking the parenthesis gave it a post-modern, but macho twist.

Aaron didn’t have a watch, but thought these lines might have come too quickly, and nervous at how easy the test. He drank his coffee, then the water, taking his time before opening the door. Opportunity, it seemed, had knocked. He was hired, starting immediately, though his cleverness was not credited in the subsequent campaign.

Wasn’t long after he had his first cheque stub that they moved to a two-bedroom apartment, the deposit and first and last month covered by Alexis’s family. He proudly rented a sander and redid the nursery hardwood floor, hiding the one gouge under the dresser. He painted too, though Alexis choose the colours and finished it all up with a runner around the room starting just above the change table. Done before the baby was born, a boy, whole, complete and squealing.





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