Things Left Mostly Unsaid (04)

§04 — No one knew what it was, beside a scandal. Obscurity somehow occupied the center of it. It’s not the crime but the cover-up, as they say.
“Can you explain your involvement?” the reporter asked, thrusting a microphone forward aggressively. “Do you deny the accusations?”
What accusations? It would only encourage them.
There were other questions, being raised simultaneously. They blurred together into a hubbub of hostile inquisition.
“No comment.” He said it only to make his silence emphatic.
“This is an opportunity to set the record straight,” shouted someone else.
“Not really,” he mumbled, reaching the door.

His wife was inside, slightly shaken, but still managing to smile. “They want you to talk,” she said.
“It’s all nonsense.”
“They think your silence is a confession.”
“I doubt it,” he said. He paused to consider. “They probably want me to think that.”
“Why do they even care?” she asked. “It’s all so – nothing.”
“They smell blood, it excites them.”
“You exaggerate,” she hoped.
“Maybe,” he accepted, unconvinced. He scratched the side of his nose distractedly.
“Are you going to make a statement?”
“You think I should?”
“It might be the only way to get out in front of things.”
“Improbable,” he muttered. “There’s no interest in what really happened.”
“You can’t just accept that.”
“Can’t I?” he asked. “Self-deception isn’t going to help.”
“If there’s a time for cynicism, this isn’t it,” she insisted. “It comes too close to vindicating their story-line.”
“If I was merely being accused of cynicism, I’d find it survivable,” he replied, with a grim laugh.
“So what are you being accused of, to your understanding?”
“Oh, you know.”
“Actually, I really don’t.”
“I’m supposed to have said some things.” He hesitated. “They’re vague about the details.”
“By ‘details’ you mean the actual words?”
“And the occasion,” he added.
“You’re talking about that ghastly club, aren’t you?” Her exasperation overflowed. “Why do you associate yourself with those people?”
“They’re good company.”
“They are not ‘good company’ – and now see where they’ve got you.”
“It’s hardly their fault,” he protested.
“Isn’t it, really? Then why is the press besieging our house?”
“You’re saying there was a leak?”
“What other explanation could there be?”
“I’m reluctant to jump to conclusions.” He realized in saying this that more would evidently be needed. “The place might have been bugged.”
“This is supposed to be more likely than you having sleazy friends?”
“I’m just admitting to uncertainty.”
She sighed dramatically, rolling her eyes. “You’re unbelievable. Can’t you see where this is going to end?”
“No, I can’t” he said. “I can’t at all, and I have to doubt that you can.”
“It’s as if you positively want to crash in flames.”
“How?” he protested. “How is it remotely like that?”
“Try to imagine what it looks like.”
“It looks mostly like the picture they want to paint.”
“They work with what they’ve got.”
He scowled, but without contesting the point. “It’s hard to know what they’ve got.”
“But knowing what they could have just requires recollection.”
“Some undiplomatic language,” he said, “but that’s all.”
“That’s quite enough, though, isn’t it?”
He sighed. “I think you’re approaching this the wrong way around.”
“You mean, from what actually happened?” she asked, only semi-sarcastically. “Let’s try to agree that’s at least relevant.”
“Minimally relevant,” he countered. “First of all, it’s a story.”
“It’s not a story about nothing, though, is it?”
“It’s a story about nothing-very-definite – at least so far.”
“But they clearly don’t expect it to be, for long.”
“Damn them,” he muttered, without further specifying who they were. “They won’t stop.”
“Why would they stop? The audience enjoys the chase.”
“What happened to ‘You exaggerate’?” he sniffed.
“You’ve changed my mind.”
“Anyway, I’m not feeding them.”
“Isn’t it a bit late for that?”

February 4, 2020admin 4 Comments »
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