In a modest house in the northernmost neighborhood of Windenburg, Ace Sloan waited while his son Gardener attempted to prepare them both a breakfast of toast and eggs.
Though the two had been through an immense loss, the last mourning moodlets had long passed and they were, for the most part, just a couple of guys getting on with the task of living.
Their domestic skills were admittedly a bit withered from disuse. They’d both used busyness as a coping mechanism for a long while now and weren’t home all that much. And when they were, they were tired and grubby. It was easier to just eat cereal.
But they were starting to feel like they should probably at least work in a hot meal once in a while. Like, on Saturdays, or something.
Ace, a writer, had poured himself into his work and become quite successful. Or more accurately, he’d poured his time into his work; the heart and soul parts of himself he’d held back, now grown over by a mossy mound of easy puns and gallows humor. But those parts didn’t seem missed by the world at large.
To the smell of burning egg, he turned over the courtesy copy of his latest book in his hands, scoffing that it had actually made the Bestseller list.
“It’s like crappy analogue clickbait.'” Ace mused aloud.
“Are you serious, Dad?” his son chuckled as he plopped down the platter of food, “It’s hilarious!”
Gardener, a Goofball, found just about anything hilarious, though – the lower-brow the better.
It’s not that Ace didn’t appreciate a good ‘your mom’ joke, it just seemed like whenever he wrote something he felt was really meaningful, it flopped. After a while he just stopped trying. It was certainly easier not to try, but dang, he was getting bored with himself.
He imagined if Freesia were there she’d say something like, “what did you expect? People are stupid.” And he’d argue that they were just looking for a break from the burdens of seriousness and responsibility. Her dark outlook had always given him something to push against, a conflict which helped him achieve balance in his own head, if not in the world.
He wondered now if she was right after all – not about people being stupid, but that living fully was about conflict; about fighting and resistance. Without that stimulation his life seemed to lack a certain texture, or flavor.
Or maybe that was just the eggs. He was trying to be polite.
Gardener, by contrast, wasn’t plagued by such thoughts.
Since the recent celebration of his young adult birthday, Gardener had been happily advancing through the Tech career, taking shortcuts whenever the opportunity arose. Not a lick of shame, which Ace often found perplexing.
I mean, anyone might reasonably expect that a Perfectionist would take more pride in his work. But Gardener seemed to feel that crafting the perfect excuse was a perfectly worthy manifestation of his gifts.
He was starting to suspect that his primary objective, however, may not prove so easy to fudge through: as the last surviving heir to the Wolff legacy, Gardener must ensure the continuation of the bloodline.
If the string of horrid dates he’d been on in the past week was any indication, that one was gonna take some actual work.
He always seemed to say the wrong thing.
Or do the wrong thing.
He’s just the wrong dude for the job, seems like.
But he’s the only dude we have, so he’ll keep at it, bless his heart.
[ Introducing gen 7 heir: Gardener Wolff. Geek, Goofball, Perfectionist. LTW: Angling Ace. :B ]