puffy_wuffy: bunnytongue (Default)
[personal profile] puffy_wuffy
[2010.11.07][1628][11695]
Clocks are often found in kitchens.  Every kitchen has at least one, but as culinary technology has progressed, clocks can be found everywhere, especially the digital kind.  Look around this kitchen:  there is a clock blinking at you from the stove, then the microwave and the coffee pot.  None of the chairs and tables have a chronometer, thank goodness.  There is a sneaky one hidden behind a recipe book, an alarm clock which has run down.  The big clock between two windows, staring directly at the kitchen sink.  The hands of the clock in the kitchen moved and the time continued to pass, with Harry and Hare waiting for Rold and Harold to show up for lunch.  Harry passed the time by twiddling his thumbs.  Hare calmly rubbed his eyebrows.
Downstairs, Harold worried about what to say and when to say it.  There’s an old adage that bad news festers:  best to get such things out of the way and soon, it makes it easier to plan for some kind of recovery later on.  This was not necessarily horrible news, after all, no one had died.  The earth still revolved around its axis and money was still pouring in, just not enough of it.
Bleeding money is not a pleasant experience, but it is something that most young adults and parents are familiar with.  There is never enough money to go around, or rather, the outputs are greater than the inputs.  Flux out is greater than flux in:  the center cannot hold.  This painful experience is usually framed as a two-fold problem:  too much money is being spent and not enough money is being made.  Most people focus on getting another job rather than cutting expenses, but in dire circumstances, trade-offs are often made, and expenses are cut while someone gets another job, that someone in this case having to be Harold.
Harold was, was not always but certainly is, an old man.  The likelihood of him being able to carry off getting a readily available job, such as a position in retail, was distinctly out of reach.  Folding his own pants was enough of a chore, and he could never abide disagreeable people.  Harold’s hands were long and tapered:  well-suited for piano and delicate electronic instruments, but ill-suited for hard labor.  A job in addition to his pension certainly would help matters, but not enough.  Then he would be bringing in enough ready cash to support two, but certainly not four Harolds.  Sadly, he could think of no one who would be willing to hire a white-haired scientist on short notice, and he shuddered when thinking of a temporary placement agency.  Those people had smiled entirely too much and promised entirely too little when he had been fresh out of college.
Perhaps if he sold the car, and then the house, he would be able, for a time, to help all four of them get by for six months or so.  It meant that all four of them would have to move somewhere else, and legally so.  Such a drastic measure would require things that Harold had never thought of before:  legal identities for the other Harolds, and maybe even an eventual separation from the others.  Interspersed with these thoughts were other thoughts, insinuating that perhaps Harold should just leave, stop thinking of solutions, stop trying to be their caretaker.  Obviously, he would be fine, well taken care of, living a life of ease.  
Harold’s humanity won out instead, and he sat wrestling with haunting questions.  Killing the others was an idea that came over him radically:  the idea made his blood run cold, he was not a killer and never would be.  He discarded this in favor of making the others free, truly free of his old self.  Mayhap, if they were all free, they would still want him around, or not, but they would still have the gift of life, which he gifted them a while ago.  
A religious man would not necessarily think of so many things at once.  A spiritual person may narrow down questions easily to the ones which matter, certainly more quickly than Harold narrowed his down in that dark basement.  Harold was neither, but he was a scientist, and respectful of life because it is a wonder, in our world, in the barrenness of space, that anything is, anything at all.  Scientists know and understand all the conditions which end life, but very little about the conditions which start it.
Harold was attached to the other Harolds, not only on the surface level, as they lived together, but on a deeper level.  Never an emotional man, Harold felt emotions when he saw the others, and quite often they were pleasant.  In a way, these other men were his family, somehow, he had become soemthing of a father and was responsible as much as possible for these others, who were like him in many ways.
Harold-1, Harry, was a very good man, yes and one in whom Harold had confided in many of his fears and hopes.  They had lived together the longest.  Harold was acquainted with all of Harry’s many quirks:  the large amount of caffeine Harry needed to get through a day, how much pain his enlarged heart gave him, and Harry’s obstinance in the face of his daily obstacles of pain and sleepiness.
In contrast Harold-3, Rold, reminded Harry far too often of himself at that age.  Rold was healthy, like a lanky and unbalanced horse, but not interested in physical exertion.  At a young age, he decided that he loved the internet more than anything else.  He currently spent more time on the internet than doing anything else, and although he clearly had been talking to many people for long periods of time while online, his only words to Harold and the others were usually succinct and cutting.
Hare, Harold-2, was the perfect companion.  He was quite physically able, and not only that, but he could fix things.  Scientists are often forced to get things fixed:  that is, call the repairman, and sometimes for things as simple as a cabinet door.  Not only was Hare able to fix things, he was also the kindest and most polite person Harold had ever met.  The two of them had never shared an unkind word.
Were he forced to split them up, Harold knew who he would want to take in a life or death situation:  definitely Hare.  This, however, was not life or death crisis so far, but merely an accounting blip.  Harold’s pension could be stretched to two.  Of the three other Harolds, he knew that Harry would be the least likely to stand getting a job.  Harry would come with him, Harold thought.  Rold and Hare could easily fend for themselves.  They were both young, and young people were better at struggling, after all.  
If Harold presented this awkward solution immediately, Harry and he breaking off from the others, he knew there would be no chance of success.  Certainly, it would be chaotic.  He would have to reassure them that nothing was wrong, slowly, that things were changing slowly, that he was of sound mind enough to change little things.  Over time, they wouldn’t even notice that he was charting their lives off course one adjustment at a time.
What would have to be done first, would be independence for the three of them:  each of them would need identities and each in relation to each other in such a way as to be plausible.  Harold Smith was already in existence.  They could have different names, back stories vastly different from actual history.  Each would be schooled in which lies to tell.  Since Harold Smith was a horrible liar, he would need each Harold to come up with their own individual ideas, hopefully creative enough to avoid detection.  Romantic connections were clearly out of the question:  Harold had never been inclined to form such bonds, and he could not lie about such things with little experience.
However, they could make themselves a family of men, yes, these things happened all the time.  A single father perhaps, with a single son, and a grandfather and great-grandfather.  Harold casted himself as a great-grandfather, imagined himself having once had a wife, long dead of course, long enough to have made a son.  The son, Harry, was a bit aimless, and in poor health, so Harold had to take care of him:  a great story, with heart and grit and not too little  imagination.  Harry’s son was the pride and joy, and Rold was Hare’s son.  The years didn’t match up exactly, but they were close enough.  If Harold could manage to find someone to create identities for them either from established ones or missing persons, it would be easy enough.
Harold was an American, but Harry and Hare and Rold need not be confined in that way.  Why, Harold’s wife could have been in a foreign country such as Latvia when Harry was born.  This year, Harold, being the good father, would welcome Harry into the fold as a citizen of the United States of America.  Hare and Rold could be from any country they wanted, they could even move there if it was easier to get an identity in that country rather than this.  The possibilities were endless.  Each of his new relatives would have to give input on their stories, and they would all have to know the pertinent information, to make these new sets of lies a strong net to hold their new family unit together.
Here and now, Harold was decided.  Freedom for all of his somewhat sons.  All that remained was to tell them.  He rose from the chair, determined to make this lunch count.

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