Short Story: An Orphic Tale of Wealth & The Human Heart!

by LJ Frank

The current situation, inspired by the experience of a former acquaintance, hinted at the absurdity of it all especially to an individual whose wealth was accumulated from the misinformed judgments of his competition. He knew how to manipulate people, pieces of paper and others’ greed. He thought of himself as possessing an uncommon understanding of human psychology, as if he were chosen for the protagonist’s role in a drama in which he was fated to perform.

He sensed he knew all that was to be understood. Yet a strange element factored into his psyche. On certain occasions he perceived the need for appropriate  “lighting” he considered essential to appearances, like an actor standing on stage visible to the audience, while the stage set and its participants in which he stood in front of were obscured under dim lights. Yet it became interchangeable as he became the one that was obscure and the public players were ceremoniously visible. Presence can be disarming and deceptive,

He contemplated his successes as he paced his unadorned office, filled not with the trophies or symbols of his victories, but with black & white abstract photos and a surreal portrait of a familiar face from his past. He was ambiguous to the casual observer, but not to himself. For all that is physical has a purpose if it mollifies the human condition of want.

And through it all,  a key to his character was the return on his investments. And so he drove a fashionable truck-like vehicle for the aesthetic when he was among the bit players he called the public and utilized his luxury sedans to impress collegial owners at private affairs.   

The calculus of life is never linear. And so late one afternoon, subsequent to a long night of pleasure, and a brunch befitting his existence, he returned to his primary home to listen to some music and the voices on his answering service. 

Click: Darling, this is Chandra. I’m your attorney in case you forgot. I’ve got an odd taste in my mouth and not sure if it was from the wine tasting of three nights ago. It’s an incident that I’m unclear about. It involves an acquaintance that you are rather familiar with. He raised his wine goblet and nodded to you at the tasting. He said he’d leave you a message. Call me before the evening is upon us.

Click: We initially met three years ago during this same month in which we discussed the future, and we met again three nights ago when I offered a toast to you.  I would like to follow up on the simple request. When your last breath is taken, when the grim reaper greets you and your spirit is released from your mortal coil I entreat your conscience with my prayerful appeal for you to consider a very personal donation. That is, I ask for the donation of your heart. We both know from the evidence of your devotion to wealth that the instrument lodged in your chest remains in pristine condition. So I ask for your heart upon your death, as I know it remains untouched. And after all, we both acknowledge our afterlife is an equivocal spiritual matter.

Click: Darling! This is your ex. I’m freaking out. I need your insight. I had a nightmare the other night.  I can’t seem to shake it. Perhaps you could tell me what it means. You have such a pragmatic view of things. The dream took place in one of those elegant penthouse apartments downtown. In one of the rooms were large jars containing human hearts preserved in some form of liquid. It looked like they were still beating. The jars were situated next to hardcover biographies. I woke up in a sweat. Please call.

Click: I’m sorry I missed you again. Please check a forwarded email. It was sent to me. The writer didn’t have your personal email address..

The man opened his email account. The forwarded email was sent from an individual leaving only an abbreviated name. Upon opening he read the following:

 To minimize any legal and or spiritual issues that may perchance arise I ask that we sign a non-disclosure agreement that we discussed three years ago, with a drop of blood from our cut forefingers. A neutral witness from the Medical college will be in attendance to verify the deed and to stamp the agreement with our mutual understanding. In All Humbleness. Mephis…

 “Good grief!” The man exclaimed, when at that very moment there was loud knock on the front door.