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    Rigby Taylor
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.

Mortaumal - 20. A Present for Perdita, Stefan's Problems, & Mort's Performance

Brawl’s dire prediction about the future awaiting humans was not news to Mort; what was new was his reaction. Until then climate change had been something for ‘those in charge’ to ‘do something about’. He knew there was nothing he as an individual could do, because the day of individual influence, if there ever had been one, was over. Although all governments were denying it, the planet was not in fact ruled by them, but by giant banks and multinational corporations that controlled all mass media and most people’s opinions, as well as food production and fresh water, industrial production and distribution, energy production and distribution, the pharmaceutical industry, sickness services and hospitals, and increasingly - education.

Having control of governments meant they also had control over both their private security police and the regular police—increasingly armed with arsenals of weapons designed for the battlefield, but now ready to be used on fellow citizens. Control of governments also ensured that wars were fought wherever the economic interests of multinationals would benefit from destroying infrastructure, instigating border disputes, making war, bombing countries that demonstrated independence, or fomenting social discord and internal revolution so they could install brutal puppet dictators who would do their bidding by terrorising their populations and selling off natural resources.

The corporate worldwide surveillance network left no one out of the loop of their intrusive spying, ensuring that no dissident—even the most mild—was safe from retribution. If protesters weren’t murdered by the police, they were incarcerated in privately run prisons that gave the corporations that owned them enough slave labour to increase their already stupendous corporate profits.

It was common knowledge among the few, like Mort, who read the blogs of a scattering of brave, independent academics and philosophers, that point one percent of the planet’s population now owned and controlled ninety-nine percent of the world’s wealth. But knowing wasn’t understanding. The question that kept bugging Mort was, why hadn't these incredibly wealthy people stopped their meddling? If wealth and power were their aim, surely they’d have stopped once they had it all? But they hadn't. They were still dealing in human misery as the planet warmed, the seas began to rise and the natural world essential for our survival began to die. They were the only people who had the power to stop the slide into global chaos, but they seemed to have chosen not to. Why? Why would any sane person want to own a planet whose fresh water was mostly poisoned, whose air was fouled, and most of its soil degraded and toxic? What amusement was there in heating a planet until the life supports failed, causing more than seven thousand million people to start killing each other in search of food, shelter and water, while fires raged, nature perished and diseases ran rampant?

At first glance, to a logical mind such as that buzzing in the head of Mortaumal, the planetary rulers seemed insane... not mildly or amusingly insane, but vilely, criminally psychopathic. However by the time he had jogged the four kilometres home he’d decided they were not even that. They were just spoiled brats who’d discovered that having everything was unsatisfying, so they’d decided that if they couldn’t be happy with the planet, no one else was going to be either. Like selfish children they were deliberately smashing their toy to prevent anyone else from having it.

OK, so he had no influence on the future of the human race or natural world, but Brawl’s question about what he was going to do personally in the face of impending change, merited deep reflection. Meanwhile, the probability of a very unpleasant future softened Mortaumal’s feelings towards the world in general and Perdita in particular, and he resolved to try to mend their relationship; but of course not so well mended that she’d have the inheritance. Not only did he think she’d do more harm than good with it, but she didn’t deserve it.

However, try as he might, nothing Mort did could please her. He ran all the errands she demanded, cleaned the flat, did the washing, washed any of her dishes she left dirty, and after preparing and eating his own breakfast, started taking his mother coffee and toast in bed before leaving for work.

Nothing Mortaumal did or said could shake her conviction that he had stolen her rightful inheritance. Cunningly, she offered to go halves. He insisted he had nothing to go halves with. She cried. Tears ran softly for about a minute, followed by great wracking sobs that had never yet failed to bring men to their knees. The sobs subsided to gentle sniffs interspersed by heart-wrenching shudders generated in the deepest recesses of her soul—about a millimetre deep, Mort guessed.

He’d seen his grandmother try the same trick, and at first disbelieved his grandfather’s dismissal of the tearful display as fake. But Perdita proved her father right by suddenly switching to a towering, dry-eyed rage.

Resisting the urge to taunt her for her duplicity, Mort shrugged and left her to it.

The following day, hoping she had come to her senses, Mort decided to try at least for a truce. He would make a special evening meal during which he would give her his most precious possession—the elaborate little table he’d spent so much time and care making at school. If that didn’t move her, nothing would and he’d give up.

While preparing for the evening—making it look special with fresh napkins, candles, flowers and everything a fifteen year-old could imagine a woman wanted, he allowed himself to hope that finally, with this offering they might at least live together peacefully.

Perdita arrived home at the expected time. The front door slammed and she stomped into the dining room.

‘Why’s it so dark in here?’ She turned on the lights making the lit candles look silly. ‘You’ve put out the best cutlery and china! I've told you a thousand times they're not for you!’

‘Sorry, Perdita, but I wanted it to be special, I've made you a present and thought…’

‘You thought. You thought. You’ve never had a decent thought in your life! What present?’

Mort brought out his treasured table. ‘I made this at school in woodwork classes. Got top marks.’

Without touching it to admire the accuracy of the inlaid wood, or feel the silken lacquer that had taken two weeks of painstaking sanding and smoothing and fifteen coats of shellac, Perdita curled a lip, then gazed around the room. ‘You arrogant shit. If you didn’t like my taste in furnishings, all you had to do was say so, not bring in some tarted up rubbish to try and make my stuff look cheap. This thing would look totally out of place, so keep it in your room out of sight.’ With a disdainful sniff she turned and stared at the carefully laid dining table. ‘Did you steal those flowers?’

‘No! I bought them on the way home.’

‘Waste of money! You know I don’t like flowers inside. Messy things, dropping petals. Flowers belong in a garden.’ She headed for her bedroom. ‘I’m going to take a shower as I’m dining with friends tonight. Make sure you put my china and cutlery away carefully and clean up properly! I don’t want to have a mess to clean up when I return.’

An intolerable heat seemed to rise up from Mort’s belly, through his chest and into his head, triggering a hope it would burst and spray blood and brains all over the room. It didn’t, so he went to his room and sat on the bed where a numb chill replaced the white heat, sending violent shivers throughout his body.

He sat in the dark until the front door slammed. She’d left without another word. He could scarcely breathe. His heart pounded. Two hundred deep and slow breaths calmed him enough to return to the empty dining room and eat the meal over which he had taken such care. After tossing the uneaten portions into the bin and meticulously cleaning up all traces of cooking, he took a hammer intending to smash the rejected work of art to punish her. At the last second he stopped. She’d just laugh. He’d be punishing himself. Slowly, tense muscles relaxed and he put the hammer away, caressed his table and shook his head in despair at his own stupidity.

He should have expected it. Perhaps he had, and it had all been a more or less deliberate exercise to prove conclusively that his mother wasn’t worth bothering with. The table had cost him more time and thought than anything he’d ever done in his life, and if she’d accepted it and then gone on being horrible, it would have reminded him forever of this night, so it was a relief to know she’d never have it. But he knew someone who would appreciate it.

Standing proudly upright for what felt like the first time since coming to the city, he shouted, ‘Fuck the bitch!’ A ten minute jog took him to Lydia and Stefan’s. He could hear Lydia playing the piano, so they'd finished dinner. He rang the bell.

Mort had read enough stories of youthful adventure and life to know he was supposed to be tough and manly and not tell anyone about his problems—certainly not anything that would put his family in a bad light. But tonight he’d realised Perdita was irredeemably horrible so he wasn’t going to lie and protect her reputation. He wasn’t after sympathy, he accepted his lot and never felt sorry for himself; but he would like confirmation that he hadn't deserved the treatment.

Stefan opened the door looking very ill, so Mort decided it wouldn’t be fair to burden him with his problems.

‘I just popped around to get some fresh air.’

‘I thought you'd still be wining and dining your mother,’ Stefan said with a brave attempt at bonhomie. ‘Did she like the table? Ah, I see you have it with you. Come in.’

They went through to the sitting room and with slight embarrassment Mort placed his table on the carpet just inside the door.

‘Perdita didn’t want it, there’s really not much room in the flat, so I hoped you’d like it.’

Stefan knelt beside it and stroked the top. ‘What exquisite inlay! And the lacquer. Mort! This is a masterpiece, we couldn’t accept it. It’s yours, you’ve put so much work into it and it’s so beautiful. Don’t you agree, Lydia?’

‘It is certainly a fine piece of workmanship, but if Mortaumal really wants us to have it, it would be ill mannered to refuse such a gift. Are you certain, Mortaumal?’

Suddenly he wasn’t. Lydia’s grasping response irritated him, but he didn’t want to be encumbered with the thing until he was settled permanently somewhere. Anyway, it was too late for second thoughts. ‘Of course you must have it... I...’

Stefan caught the slight hesitancy and interrupted. ‘Tell you what. We’ll look after it for you until you’ve a place of your own and would like to have it. OK? It is very beautiful and we’ll take great care of it, won’t we, Lydia?’

Through a mouth drawn tight with displeasure, Lydia managed a smile and terse agreement, and Mort relaxed.

‘That would be ideal. I doubt I’ll ever want it, but its great to know it’s in good hands. Which brings me to you, Stefan, when are you going to see a doctor? I’m getting worried.’

‘I’m fine, Mort,’ Stefan began, ‘All I need is…’

‘Mortaumal has to know, Stef,’ Lydia cut in. She turned to Mort. ‘As you know, Stefan has been short of breath and suffering abdominal pains for some time. We thought it was indigestion, old age—although he’s only fifty-eight. Yesterday the results of tests arrived and he has cancer.’

‘How horrible! Stefan, that’s awful! What sort of cancer?’

‘Stage three stomach,’ Lydia announced as if it was superior to stages one or two. ‘He let it go on too long without checking, so now it’s serious. He will have to have an operation to remove it and relieve symptoms, but first he will have chemotherapy and radiation that will shrink it before the operation. His first session is tomorrow.’

Silence while Mort pondered the lack of justice in the natural world. If honesty and niceness was rewarded then surely it should be Lydia and not Stefan who was ill? She was the one whose sneering about weak men had embarrassed and therefore prevented Stefan from seeing a doctor in the early stages. But he held his tongue. Stefan looked at him and winked as if reading Mort’s mind and agreeing with him.

‘So it’s pretty serious.’

‘He has about a seven percent chance of surviving five years,’ Lydia announced as if he’d won a raffle. But it’s getting late and he’s tired, so as you’re here you can give me a hand getting him to bed.’

Stefan protested, but he was in considerable pain as he’d not picked up his prescription for analgesics, and appreciated leaning on Mort to the bathroom.

Mort sniffed. ‘You’re a bit ripe, Stefan. Want a shower?’

‘I... I don’t think I can. I…’

‘I need one too, so I’ll get in with you, OK?’

Stefan was absurdly shy, and ridiculously grateful to be so gently washed, supported, dried and dressed in new pyjamas.

‘Lydia isn’t strong enough to assist me like you do, so thanks, Mort.’

Lydia was perfectly strong enough, but Mort said nothing and took him to his bedroom. Stefan and Lydia had slept in separate rooms for the last twenty odd years, and she wasn’t about to change that. When he was settled, Mort took Stefan’s bike and cycled to the All Night Chemist in Toowong to collect the prescription. As it was so late when he returned, Lydia suggested he stay the night in the spare room if Perdita wouldn’t mind.

‘She’ll not even notice.’

In the morning Stefan looked somewhat better thanks to a good night’s sleep, finally knowing what was wrong with him, and that at last something was going to be done about it. He deliberately didn’t think further then that. Mort promised to keep the nursery going and told him not to worry. It was a quiet time of year. He knew everything that was required and there were no problems he couldn’t handle with Lydia’s support.

 

One of Perdita’s best-paying clients had persuaded her to break the alcoholic drought that Elbert had insisted on if they were to marry. Having used her services before she married, he knew she had a weak head when it came to strong drink. Two shots of whisky erased all inhibitions and made her dizzy and willing to join him in perverse, some might say depraved sexual acts.

Arriving back at the flat the following morning Mort opened the windows to freshen the air and was disgusted to find his mother sprawled naked over the sofa in the lounge, head lolling back, mouth agape with a trickle of dribble running over her chin. He bent forward to wake her but the stench of her breath made him merely nudge her with the toe of his shoe. She woke with a start, tried to sit up but rolled over onto the floor where she lay for several minutes, awake but confused until Mort returned with a cup of coffee.

She managed to sit up and drink it, then crawled to the toilet to vomit. Another crawl took her to the bathroom and shower. Mort flushed the toilet, cleaned around it, washed the dishes in the kitchen, made everything ship shape, then returned to the nursery.

 

Several long weeks later after losing his hair, feeling nauseous, frequently in agony and more ill than he had ever thought possible, the operation to remove the tumour was performed and Stefan was on the road to recovery.

But the road was long and bumpy and proved more treacherous than anticipated. The original symptoms returned, and CT, MRI and PET scans showed the cancer had not only returned aggressively, but was starting to spread to other organs. He was now in stage four, an officious nurse informed him with apparent relish, and that meant a cure was not possible. All that could be hoped for was treatment to help keep the cancers under control and relieve symptoms.

It was decided he would have a laser beam directed through a long, flexible tube passed down the throat, to destroy most of the tumour and, with a bit of luck, remove obstructions without surgery. If that wasn’t successful, then a hollow metal tube would be placed where the oesophagus and stomach meet, to help keep it open and allow food to pass through. If that didn’t work, then he would have a gastric bypass or even a subtotal gastrectomy to keep the stomach and intestines from becoming blocked. This might require the placement of a tube directly into the small intestine to help provide pre-digested nutrition if, after the operation, he had trouble swallowing.

But before all that, a little more chemotherapy and perhaps radiation would be used to shrink the other cancers and relieve some symptoms. But, he was reminded, it was not expected to totally remove the cancer and effect a cure. From now on he could look forward to palliative care in a hospice, which would relieve most of the pain and symptoms and help him survive for possibly another five years.

Stefan was not overjoyed at the news. Mort was shocked to the core. Lydia nodded sagely, as if she had expected this all along.

Mort’s days were spent potting and re-potting seedlings, taking cuttings, watering and fertilising, discarding diseased or unthrifty plants, mixing seed-raising soils, ordering fresh supplies, keeping the place as clean and as sterile as possible, composting waste and maintaining the shade and glass houses and equipment. Lydia maintained contact with their retailers and made deliveries in the Nursery van, which Mort loaded. Fortunately, new interests in the evenings helped him forget for a while the ever present tragedy of Stefan.

Stefan’s days were spent either in hospital, or lying on a day bed on the back verandah feeling guilty, or on his good days tottering slowly around the garden, admiring and complimenting and showering Mort with thanks, which were appreciated. Mort also felt a little guilty at being so pleased at being trusted to take total charge of the operation of a small, but well run business.

Lydia was reluctantly persuaded to teach him the Nursery accounting system, and was equally reluctantly pleased when Mort made changes to their website that increased their visibility.

 

*****

Mort had kept in contact with Raul, who belonged to a couple of gay clubs that occasionally hired strippers. He introduced Mort to the owners who set a date for an audition. Raul told him that the strippers usually arrived on stage in a towel or some sort of sarong, jumped around a bit, thrust their hips, then took off the towel, did more hip thrusts in a thong, then whipped that off, jiggled their bits as if embarrassed, and ran off.

It sounded dull to Mort, who did an internet search and discovered that in the previous century, strippers, both male and female, used to sexily remove layer after layer of clothing to bring their audience to a pitch of excitement, while dancing athletically and erotically in a professional manner, arriving after about fifteen minutes, if the club required it, at total nudity, and then not just flashing it as if it was something shameful and running away, but completing the dance, giving the audience their money’s worth. Erections in men, and masturbation in both sexes, were not considered an essential element of the strip, indeed some commentators thought that was vulgar and spoiled the act, in the same way as the ancient Greeks thought large penises, at least on statues, vulgar and brutish.

Mort made himself a pouch like Leo’s, bought a pale blue thong and a speedo, washed and ironed his tiny running shorts, put on all those things, topped by a pair of faded jeans, a tight tank top, and a neat, long sleeved white shirt. On his feet a pair of plaited leather moccasins, on his head a cute cap.

The music was a problem; he wanted sexy with a strong beat, but not angry. He found something in Perdita’s collection and practiced until he had a fifteen minute athletic dance that incorporated lots of self-defence moves and showed off his strengths. It took a little longer in front of a mirror to learn how to sexily remove each piece of clothing apparently without effort and toss it nonchalantly aside without interrupting the dance.

At last he was ready and arrived at the audition. Nervous. Shaking. Scarcely able to speak. The music was very loud. He began his well-rehearsed sequences and instantly forgot about the three men watching. The dance overtook him and all too soon it was over and he was naked and they were clapping.

Silence. Then... ‘I’ve got a hard on,’ the manager said with what sounded like surprise. ‘Me too,’ the others laughed.

‘Well done. How old are you?’

‘Seventeen.’

‘And as smooth and sleek as a schoolboy. You’re not still at school, are you?’

‘No way! I’m manager of a nursery in Toowong.’

‘Is that where you got so fit?‘

‘Right.’

‘When can you start?’

‘Tonight?’

‘We have strippers on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Can you do all three?’

‘Sure.’

‘I can see you’re OK with nudity—you can put your gear back on if you like, although as far as I’m concerned you never need wear anything in here.’ The other guys laughed and nodded. ‘Are you OK with erections and jerking off?’

‘Of course, no probs if that’s what the audience wants.’

‘Good. You’ve no idea how precious most would-be strippers are. Think they’ve got something special hanging between their legs, but are too chicken to prove it works. Before we go any further, how much will those four shows cost us?’

‘What are you offering?'

‘Cagey. Well...how does two hundred dollars a session sound?’

Mort’s eyebrows shot up and he pulled a disbelieving mouth. He’d have done it for nothing.

‘OK, make it three hundred for the first three, and four the last one on Saturday, on condition you ejaculate copiously and visibly.’

‘Sounds OK.’ Mort’s grin threatened to take over his face.

‘To recapitulate...we’ll have you for the usual nine-thirty sessions on Thursday, Friday and Saturday to whet appetites, then announce that you’ll go the whole hog in the second session on Saturday. That’ll keep the crowds here drinking. Did you use lasers to get so smooth?’

Mort explained.

‘Lucky bastard! See you here nine p.m. at the latest, in two days time.’

 

Raul was delighted.

And so was Mortaumal.

The performances were much more fun than he’d imagined, partly because the audiences were wildly appreciative of a boyish youth who lacked all pretension, obviously enjoyed himself, and whose performance was as practised and slick as any professional. Throughout, he was so busy concentrating on smiling, dancing, removing his layers of clothing sexily and involving his audience with winks, laughs, and the occasional flirtatious thrust of a buttock, or allowing someone to touch him, that it wasn’t till afterwards when he relived the experience at home that he could enjoy the full erotic pleasure. Even the following day was enhanced by sexual fantasies in anticipation of the next performances, which he was determined would be even better—and more fun—and which were.

Several other clubs invited him to perform, but only two were considered safe by Raul who would love to have done the same, but feared for his job if the Transport Department heard about it.

 

Apart from gaining his Learner Licence so he could drive the Nursery Van and also their car if needed, the high point of Mort’s sixteenth birthday was the cheers and applause during and after his performance of a breathtakingly energetic dance designed to emphasise his prodigious flexibility and satiny smooth contours. Stark naked, spot lit on a tiny stage surrounded by one hundred and eighty-seven total strangers, he mesmerised with leaps and pirouettes, sexy squats and thrusting hips. The finale, a jaw-dropping ejaculation that reached his closest admirers, would be talked about for decades.

 

Steward’s painting was slow to materialise, but that suited Mort because he wasn’t sure if he’d continue to be welcome in the cellar once the painting was finished. After recounting his success as a nightclub performer, Steward suggested he apply at an agency run by Salacia, a woman in her mid to late twenties who hosted lingerie parties in the evenings. She was always looking for nice young men to strip for clients who bought enough of her wares, as well as for middle-class thrill-seekers who thought having a stripper for mother’s fiftieth anniversary or their daughter’s hen party was the height of decadence.

With her husband, Crag, she had produced a healthy young boy, and bought a grand old mansion, intending to restore it to its former glory and use the elegant ballroom to host intimate private functions. So far, neither she nor her husband, a lean concreter who never seemed to wear more than a pair of torn off jeans with the top button missing and heavy work boots, earned enough to get the project off the ground. So they camped in the liveable rooms, grew their own vegetables and enjoyed life immensely.

 

On his way back from Steward’s one night, a raucous laugh made Mort look up from the rubbish bin enclosure as he passed through. Four stories directly above him, Perdita, with a glass in her right hand, was leaning out of the lounge room window, straining to see a spectacular lighting display over the western hills. There was no wind or rain, but the air was humid, heavy and ominous. Rumbling thunder had been creeping closer all evening and every few seconds night was turning to glaring, pinkish-white day as lightning zapped between heavy clouds.

‘With a bit of luck she’ll fall,’ Mort whispered to himself. Feeling guilty for the thought as he counted the seconds between lightning and thunder, deciding it was better to leave fate to its own devices. Not that he was in any way superstitious, of course.

Only two seconds. So the lightning was getting very close. Suddenly, a blinding flash and thunderclap. His chest seemed to explode and eardrums to shatter. It forced him to his knees. Heart pounding he waited several seconds in total darkness to recover his sight before looking up to the lighted window to see how Perdita had reacted. She wasn’t there.

Another flash and crash of thunder, less impressive but enough to see an odd shape on top of one of the bins. He approached, waited till the next lightning flash and saw a naked bum and legs draped over the edge of a bin; the head and shoulders inside. There was no sign of movement, no sound. No one could survive such a fall head first. Mort looked up. There was still no one at the window.

He raced round to the front of the building and up to the apartment, burst in and checked the lounge room. Empty. At that moment the bathroom door opened and a voice called, ‘Perdy! I thought you were going to join me. The water’s running cold.’ The voice was followed by an unprepossessing naked man who stopped in shock.

‘Who are you? Where’s Perdy?’

‘Did you push her out the window?’

‘What? Don’t be ridiculous!’

‘I’m her son and she’s dead. Fell out the window while watching the lightning show. Ended up in the rubbish bins below. I’ve just seen her.’

Silence while the naked man stared in horror.

‘You must believe me! I didn’t.’

‘I do. So I’ll give you one minute to get out of here and away before I call the cops. Unless you want them to suspect you of murder, which they will because she’s a whore and you’re her client.’

The guy stood as if transfixed.

‘Get the fuck out of here! What part of death, cops, fake murder charge don’t you understand!’

He sprang to attention, raced into the bedroom and reappeared roughly dressed, ran to the door, turned and said, ‘I owe you! Thanks!’ and disappeared.

Mort returned to Steward’s through the internal door, explained his reasons, then half an hour later retook the outside pathway, discovering his mother’s body on the way past thanks to moonlight that had broken through the clouds. He then raced upstairs, fortuitously meeting the elderly woman in flat Two B on the second floor, to whom he explained his anguished state. Then, back in his apartment he telephoned the police in as distraught a voice as he could manage.

At the inquest, Steward confirmed Mortaumal had been with him until half an hour after the time of death indicated by autopsy. No one else had been in the apartment. She was naked because she had been about to take a shower when the lightning display took her to the window, from which she had obviously leaned out too far, as marks on her thighs indicated, and she had been drinking, and it was a tragic accident. The only part of the finding Mort disagreed with was the word tragic.

 

A thorough search of his mother’s room the following day revealed a fireproof box containing the photographs and videos of Mort, Marshall and Angelo and the detective’s report, a bank book with a balance of over three hundred thousand dollars, and an account book in which she kept contact details of her clients, including some salacious secrets of eighteen men that would be useful if she decided to put a bit of pressure on them. In case she had been doing that wicked thing, Mort telephoned each of them from a public phone box. ‘Perdita is dead,’ he said cheerfully, ‘and I have destroyed by burning the book that contained your secrets.’ Five men cried in relief. All thanked him profusely and asked who he was.

‘Someone who loves justice.’

One name, Arch Lintel, had no phone number behind it, and no address. It was surrounded by lacy squiggles and little stars as if it was important. Mort pondered this and transcribed the name into his own private notebook before burning Perdita’s.

When Marshall heard the news he cried from relief.

‘What’ll I do with the photos and stuff?’

‘What would you like to do?’

‘Burn them.’

‘Good man. Do it as soon as possible. So, when are you coming home?’

Mort had been thinking about that and was surprised to realise he didn’t want to. He’d been independent too long. He didn’t want to live with someone he had to explain himself to, even one as positive and supportive as Marshall. It was too late. He had to live or die on his own—at least until he met someone his own age he wanted to share things with. But that wouldn’t be for ages yet. He was only sixteen—too young to settle down. With the dead weight of Perdita gone he felt as light as air, ready to fly off and become... what? He had no idea but that didn’t matter. He could take risks. He had money in a bank that he might never touch, but the security made life a game—a game he was going to play according to his rules and no one else's.

So he told Marshall about Stefan and his current responsibilities, said he was having a wonderful time, sent his love to Angelo, and promised to come and visit soon. To his relief Marshall laughed and said he was delighted and not surprised by Mort’s decision, but he still meant what he’d said the day Mort left... Marshal’s home was Mort’s as long as he lived.

‘You’ve made me cry, Marshall, from happiness. Thanks. You are absolutely the best.’

 

Since arriving in Brisbane Mort had not drawn on the money left to him by his grandfather, always managing to live by his own efforts. He wanted to keep it like that, so as soon as the inquest was over he checked the business practices of all the banks and deposited the inheritance from his mother in a small, but carefully managed building society that had no exposure to derivatives or other shady banking practices.

The two-week notice required before he could stop paying rent for the apartment was enough for Mort to dispose of everything else of Perdita’s, move his own stuff into the spare room at Stefan’s, and convince Steward to continue with his painting.

Copyright © 2018 Rigby Taylor; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
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So karma strikes again... almost literally. Perdita will be no loss...that she had accumulated $300k implied she had some idea, but this to me makes her life even more of a waste...

 

Morts exotic dancing seems to pay well... 1300 a week for four nights work...if i was 45 years younger.... 🤓

 

Mort seems to have a plan, he's also growing up mentally. Coping with his friends  cancer, not immediately moving back, sorting his mums place and his own inheritance. All good signs our boy will make it.....

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"Although all governments were denying it, the planet was not in fact ruled by them, but by giant banks and multinational corporations that controlled all mass media and most people’s opinions, as well as food production and fresh water, industrial production and distribution, energy production and distribution, the pharmaceutical industry, sickness services and hospitals, and increasingly - education." This is so true on so many levels. I'll add to this that Wars, once fought on the 'domino theory of Communism (if one country falls...), have since then been fought for resources and boundaries, to keep those like ourselves inside and to keep 'the others,' out, little realizing that those behind the walls are very, very dependent for food and oil, on those people in the very countries that they despise.  

Probably the most philosophical chapter to date.  Profoundly serious, accurate and sad.  

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1 hour ago, Wesley8890 said:

Finally!!!!!!!!! The only way it would be better is if she got struck by the lightning!!!!

I'm pleased you're pleased, Wesley.

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21 minutes ago, skyacer said:

"Although all governments were denying it, the planet was not in fact ruled by them, but by giant banks and multinational corporations that controlled all mass media and most people’s opinions, as well as food production and fresh water, industrial production and distribution, energy production and distribution, the pharmaceutical industry, sickness services and hospitals, and increasingly - education." This is so true on so many levels. I'll add to this that Wars, once fought on the 'domino theory of Communism (if one country falls...), have since then been fought for resources and boundaries, to keep those like ourselves inside and to keep 'the others,' out, little realizing that those behind the walls are very, very dependent for food and oil, on those people in the very countries that they despise.  

Probably the most philosophical chapter to date.  Profoundly serious, accurate and sad.  

Thank you, Skyacer. 

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Well, I can’t say I’m even the least bit sad that the mother cow is dead. The world just got a little sweeter without her in it.  Learning that she had a generous amount of money, yet still chose to live like a pauper only confirms her mental instability.  

 

Mort is now free to truly find himself, and to chart his own course.  I have high hopes for him!

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40 minutes ago, Okiegrad said:

Well, I can’t say I’m even the least bit sad that the mother cow is dead. The world just got a little sweeter without her in it.  Learning that she had a generous amount of money, yet still chose to live like a pauper only confirms her mental instability.  

 

Mort is now free to truly find himself, and to chart his own course.  I have high hopes for him!

Your hopes will be granted - eventually - but first........:ph34r:

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Most of my thoughts have been discussed by the others here I just have to say "really?!" The exotic performers promote is named Salacia?

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4 hours ago, Any1 said:

Most of my thoughts have been discussed by the others here I just have to say "really?!" The exotic performers promote is named Salacia?

Yes, not one of my better names. A bit too obvious. Should have called her Lascivia, perhaps, or Lewdora...  :rofl:

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