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[2010.11.08][1667][13362]
Harold marched up the stairs from the basement, clunking loudly and impressively for a man who had no shoes on his feet.  Rold, who had been laying on the couch for quite some time, observed Harold’s ascent.  Perking up, Rold dropped the magazine he had been reading.
“Yes!  He’s here.”  Rold ignored Harold and strode to the kitchen.  “We can finally eat lunch. Ugh, peanut butter and peanut butter sandwiches, great.”  Rold opened the fridge and peered into it.  “Do we have milk?”
“We have water.”  Hare added from his seat, pointing to his own full glass of water set next to his plate.
“I’ll have some water, then.”  Rold openeed an upper cabinet to get himself a glass.  “Anyone else want water?”
“That would be nice.”  Harry settled himself further into his chair.   
“Okay.”  Rold got glasses of water for himself and Harry, then sat down to his meal. Immediately, Rold wolfed his two sandwiches and started in on his salad, chomping loudly on the cucumber bits.
Hare and Harry picked through their salads, chewing slowly on the cucumber nubs.  Harold sat down in the empty seat.  Without touching his sandwich, he picked up a fork and pierced a cucumber.
Rold nudged Harold with his elbow.  “You gonna eat that?”
“Oh, no, I’ll eat my salad, its fine.”  Harold gnawed on his bottom lip.  “Go ahead and eat it.”
Rold snatched the peanut butter-peanut butter sandwich and gobbled it down, washing the portion down with most of his water.  Harold continued to poke at his salad intermittently, working through it in fits and spurts.  Methodically, Hare ate first his sandwich, then his portion of cucumber-cucumber salad.  Harry’s hands shook as he finished his lunch.  Guiltily, Harold observed the others as they consumed their meals.   They all sat back sipping water once they were done.
Harold rubbed his hands together and licked his lips. “Has everyone had enough food?”
Harry, Hare and Rold peered at Harold suspiciously.
“I have some bad news to share.”  Harold cleared his throat.  “What I mean is, we all have a new project to work on.  It’s pretty big.”
“A project.”  Rold shook his head in disgust.  “Shit.”
The profanity echoed in the room. Hare steepled his hands and placed his elbows on the table.  Harry was the first to speak up again. “Go on, Harold.”
“There’s a problem with my pension.” Harold held himself absolutely still.  “A small problem.”
“I knew it!”  Rold slammed his empty glass down.
“Its not a real problem, I mean, the problem, what it is means there isn’t enough money for all of us.  I need your help.”  Harold glanced at the other three.  Harry seemed to be taking the news the best, his expression was neutral.  With lips pursed, Hare appeared to be waiting for more words.  In sharp contrast to the other two, Rold was slowly turning red.
“I want to apologize.”  Harold stood.  “I’m sorry for not getting proper documents or trying to figure out a way for all of us to go our separate ways earlier.  I had always thought we would be together, together until I passed away.  Now, it seems like it might not work out that way.”
“Are you tossing us out?”  Rold kicked away from the table, startling Harry and Hare.  “You’ve got to be kidding me.”
“No.  I’m not.  I don’t want us to go our own ways.”  Harold put both of his hands out in a placating gesture.  “I’ve been running the numbers, and I don’t think we can hold onto this house with my pension.  My regular paycheck doesn’t end for the next month, and then I get a hefty severance that could last us for a few months.  We, we will have to sell this house together.  I can’t do it without the rest of you.”  Avoiding eye contact with Rold, he looked to Harry.
“Well, run the numbers again.”  Rold stated in a quavering voice.  “They might be wrong.”
Harry interjected, “Rold, I’m sure he ran the numbers correctly.  He probably tried it several times.  That’s who he is.”
“Yeah.  A scientist.  Why didn’t you start this earlier?”  Rold slung his plate into the kitchen sink with a hearty thump.  “You couldn’t have mentioned this last week?”  He sped out of the kitchen, Hare following directly behind him.
Left behind, Harold and Harry both stared in the direction that the young man had fled.   
“I think that went well, don’t you?”  Harry shrugged and settled back in his chair.  “Harold, did you expect anything different from the boy?”
“Not really,”  Harold sheepishly added.  “I didn’t think it all through.”
“I didn’t think you would.”  Harry tapped a single finger on the table.  “Come on, sit.  I think there’s a bit that we could talk about without the other two.”
Hare quickly made it up the stairs and stopped shy of Rold’s door.  He could hear the muffled screams.  Rold was screaming into a pillow.  Instead of knocking, Hare simply opened the door and went inside.
“This MEGA-SUCKS!!!!”
Hare remained silent and stood next to the bookcase, allowing Rold to rage.
“He wants us to get documents so we can pay for stuff!  He doesn’t care about us.”  Rold tossed the pillow he held into the air.  As it fell, he tackled it and grappled with it aggressively.  
“Maybe.”  Hare picked up a lego man from Rold’s bookcase.
Rold stopped grappling with the pillow and looked at Hare in confusion.
“It would mean getting out of this house, though, any way you look at it.”  Hare fiddled with the tiny lego man.  “I wouldn’t mind working in a store or maybe a company or something.  I always thought I’d make a good construction worker.  A carpenter or something, something with my hands.”
“I don’t want to work.”  Rold ran a hand through his long hair.  “I want to play video games in my room.  In this room.  I want to talk to my friends online.”
Sitting beside Rold, Hare lifted the toy to Rold’s eyes.  “I thought you said you were feeling stifled.  You wanted to meet people, and get out there.”  He shifted the toy as if making it walk.  “Walk in the sun for a bit.”
“We’ve all done that, even Harry.”  Rold tried to swat Hare’s hand away.  “What would we do without a home?  Would he force us to be, like, slaves or something?”
“He can’t force us to do anything.”  Hare made the lego man dance.  “You heard him, he needs our help.”
“He’ll probably mess the whole thing up and make us all the wrong ages and from Eastern European countries.”  Rold groaned.  “I bet the fake names he would come up with would all be, I dunno, based on Star Trek characters.”
“Then we ought to participate.”  Hare smiled.  “Look, if you think he’ll mess it up, he might or he might not.  With all of us working together at least it won’t be that bad.”
“Oh, it’ll still be bad, but we’ll still be together.”  Rold nodded.  “And maybe it won’t mega suck.”
“Mega suck?”
“Its a greek prefix.”
“I knew that.”  Hare cocked his head.  “Can something kilo suck?”
“No, that doesn’t sound cool at all.”  Rold flapped his hands quickly back and forth.  “Kilo means a thousand, and mega means a million.  A million is way cooler than a thousand, right?”
“Right.  Way cooler.”  Hare rolled his eyes and put the lego man back on Rold’s bookshelf.  “Time to go back down.”  Opening the door, he allowed Rold to head out first, then he exited.
Rold paused at the head of the stairs.  “Do you think he’s doing this because he’s dying?”
“No.”  Hare blinked.  
“Crap.”  Rold took the steps down.  “You blinked, which means you think he is.”
“No.”  Hare mumbled.  “I don’t know, which is why I blinked.”
“Well, even if he is dying, I still don’t forgive him.”  Rold moved his arm to indicate the walls.  “I don’t forgive him for any of this, or anything he should have done earlier.”  He snorted.  “And just because Harry forgives him, more than likely, doesn’t mean that I do.”
“Harry would be the one who is suffering the most, don’t you think?”  Hare touched Rold on the shoulder as Rold stepped off of the stairs to the ground floor.  “If he can forgive Harold, I’m pretty sure I can.”
“Yeah.  All right.”  Rold shrugged.  “I’m pretty sure I can’t.  As soon as we can leave that headcase behind, it’ll be just you, me and Harry.  Deal?”  He held his right fist up.
Hare squinted at Rold.  “Do you promise not to scream and then run out of the room?”
“Pretty much.”
“Kilo promise?”  Hare rolled his eyes at his own lameness.  “Mega promise?”
“Yeah, whatever.”  Rold shrugged and continued holding his fist aright.  “Come on, bump the fist.”
“What?  Okay.”  Hare tapped Rold’s fist withe an open palm.
“Put your fist up and then knock it into mine.”  Frustrated, Rold formed Hare’s right hand into a fist and demonstrated.  “Its like pinky swearing.”
“So, you promised, then.”
“Yeah.”  Rold grinned.
“Fist bump.”  Hare grumbled to himself as they moved forward.  “Mega suck.  Way cool.”
As they reached the kitchen, they could hear excited chatter.  Harry and Harold were so engrossed in their conversation that they both didn’t notice Rold and Hare’s subdued entrance.  Rold clapped his hands for attention, and Harry and Harold turned as one.
Rold glared at Harold, “I’m in, but I want to be Harold Smith.  You can be someone else if you want, Doctor.”
“That can be arranged.  Anything is possible.”  Harry indicated Harold.  “In a way, I think we’re all going to be Harold Smith.  With a little bit of back story.”
“I didn’t think it was such a great idea . . .”  Harold groused.
“Nonsense, its better than anything I could think of.”  Harry waved a hand dismissively.  “If they don’t like it, they’ll say so.  Go on, Harold.”

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