Sorry to burden you with this, readers, but I have a new episode in my tales of relationship awkwardness.
The last time I visited New York for the weekend, the Collector had to run to work to put out a fire on Saturday, and I was left in the house with Elder One, who is in his Freshman year at a college in the Tri-state area.
Elder One avoids his father as much as possible, but when Dad whistles he always comes, even though I know he hates himself for it. It’s complicated. He’s not like his little brother, who still idolizes the Collector.
Well, I saw my chance and took it. This question I am about to share with you, readers, has been bugging me for two years, and I thought maybe the son would have insight.
I went down the other hallway and cautiously rapped on the door. I’d never come to his room before.
He opened it. I could see books and papers open all over his bed, along with his laptop. He was writing a paper.
“I’m so sorry to interrupt your work,” I said.
“It’s okay. What is it?”
Can I ask you something about something in the house?”
“What?” he looked confused.
“Let me show you,” I said, and gestured for him to follow me to the other side of the house.
There is a door to a room there. The door is fingerprint-protected. Meaning that you have to push your thumb print on a scanner in order for the door to open.
I have no idea what is in that room. It has plagued me, like I said, for more than two years. I’d like to think it holds sensitive documents for the clients he does work for. But if that was all it was, wouldn’t he just tell me that? I’ve asked him several times.
“What do you have in there?” I’d ask the Collector, trying to make a joke of it. “Hacked up body parts in freezers?”
“Do you have any idea what could be in this closet? Do you know how to get into it?” I asked the son.
He shook his head. “Can’t get into it. I’ve seen this door, too. I don’t know. It must be confidential documents for work. Things that can’t go onto the computer, because people are afraid of corporate espionage and hacking. It’s the only thing I can think of.”
“If that’s the truth, why won’t he just tell me that when I ask?”
“Because he loves power and playing mind games.”
Well, can’t argue with that.
“Now, let me ask you something,” he said.
I followed him into the big room, where the bookcases go up to the ceiling. Here and there are spaces for showcasing small works of art.
He pointed way up towards the ceiling. “What the fuck is that?”
Oh, I knew exactly what it was, all right. I’d been questioning the Collector about whether it was wise to publicly display it since I first saw it there. I know that even he is on the fence about displaying it, which is why he put it up as far as possible…but the man thinks that he’s the sovereign of his home (not really wrong) and he can do whatever he wants.
It’s a Medieval torture device that goes around the unfortunate subject’s head. If you want details, I can send them to you. There’re videos on YouTube about this; it’s published in several books I know of.
I froze for a moment. Be honest, or lie? Be honest, or lie?
I lied. This kid does not need to know any more than he must already suspect about his father’s odd sexuality. And, jeez, I was embarrassed, too. But mostly I was thinking of him.
“I have no idea. I never gave it much thought. It must be armor for war, right?” I said, trying to sound befuddled.
“Sure!” he sneered, and started walking back to his room. “Pardon me. I have to finish my paper.”
He knows I lied to him.