Byron’s neck was getting stiff from holding the phone between his neck and shoulder. Without delay he took the receiver in hand and rolled his neck, stretching the muscles, removing the kinks. That accomplished, he got back to the conversation.
Presently, Madison was mentioning more on the chocolate enema subject. Something about her trying that horrific experience, all in a professional sense. This at the urging of coworkers. Thankfully, for her, she stopped in mid-sentence. Byron could have spent hours lecturing her on the idiocy of bowing to peer pressure. He had the material at hand in fact. He had written an acclaimed essay titled, “The lemming call” on the subject.
He rose thinking to ask if she could call back. Not that he did not want to talk. He enjoyed speaking to Madison whenever the opportunity presented itself. She was his favorite sparring partner. One of the few that could keep up with him and not be offended by his often rude manner expression. But he was still in his suit and felt the need to change into his robe. He wanted to settle in for the evening. Relax with a cup of coffee and some well deserved entertainment. Unfortunately, the cord of his phone could not reach the bedroom or the kitchen. He had one of the old style rotary phones. His aversion to technological progress prevented him from joining the cell phone and cordless age.
“Yes, I do watch television.” He said in answer to her latest query.
“A contradiction in my basic philosophy, I admit. But I must have access to what is occurring in the world around me. Research for future projects and you understand. This contraption allows that without having to sully my hands by getting personally involved with the grubby masses. Consider television my magnifying glass that enables me to study the ants with better clarity.”
Somewhat annoyed at her comment about lowering IQ, he continued.
“I’ve registered IQ of 180 my dear. I’m certain I could afford to lose a point or two and manage to maintain my place well above the scratching rustics that surround me. And as you are certainly aware, IQs do not have a direct bearing on intelligence. They only measure how much information you are capable of retaining.”
He about to gloat about what he considered a successful deflection of her verbal jabs when Madison shifted conversational gears. And her comments struck a nerve.
“Horror movies, ‘rot your brain?’ ” He repeated in disbelief.
“Oh Madison, not you. Please tell me you have slipped so far as to become one of those raging, extremist clods who cannot see the value of such films? They are far more than mindless teenage debauchery and gruesome images. They offer a harmless release of passion and aggression. Would you not prefer to see the cave people of the world exercising their negative hormonal urges and violent tendencies through this medium rather than in reality? The planet has a enough harden criminals. Why add to the mix? All emotions need to be expressed. This seems a sensible way to be rid of the most base of them, girl.”
He had an annoying habit of refering to her with the demeaning term ‘girl’ when she was opposing him. It was his way of putting distance between them. His way of saying, your smart Madison, but I am smarter.
After a breath he added,
“Poor Madison. You were never like this when we were……….”
He did not bother to finish the sentence. He did not think he needed too. Like Madison, his mind shifted back to their mutual past. Many was the day when they would observe the comings and going of the sheep that passed for human beings. Giving their opinions on what they were viewing. Madison had some impressive insight. Of course, Byron would eventually turn his all seeing and all knowing opinions on her. And she would counter in kind. More than once it turned nasty. That was one of the few regrets of his life.
His pause, was lengthy as these thoughts passed by his minds eye. Despite the tone of their conversation, Byron was thinking pleasantly of her. Unknowingly, he was developing a similar idea to hers. Wishing she could be here now. He would never admit it, but deep down, he missed her. She was one of the few people that he could relate too. With whom he had any real connection. His self-imposed isolation was of his choosing and for the most part it suited him. But he did enjoy the challenge of their verbal sparring. But like her, despite his normally overly bold personality, he lacked the courage to request they meet.