All eyes were on Lance following his bold statement, but no one said a word. Lance knew they were waiting for him to explain exactly how Commonwealth would push global business behemoths into bankruptcy, and he didn’t care. He knew. If they wanted to be enlightened, let them ask.
Understanding that his son was not inclined to volunteer an explanation, Stephen tried an indirect approach. And got bitch-slapped for his efforts. “You know what Carl Sagan said about extraordinary claims?” Stephen asked. Lance said nothing.
Madonna took over, “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.”
Lance snapped. “Don’t condescend to me, old folks. I know what Sagan said.”
“It wasn’t meant to be…” Madonna said, but Lance cut her off mid sentence.
“Shut up. It was condescending.”
“It was,” Kitty agreed.
If a Mexican stand-off between the boomers and the millennials was to be avoided, the boomers were going to have to demonstrate genuine contrition. The kids would be happy to let the silence linger like a bad fart, let the stand-off drag out until the old folks died in their seats, waiting for enlightenment.
Alternatively, the kids would also be happy to draw their pistols, and engage in a firefight with the slow-on-the-draw crusties, so long as the geriatrics drew first.
Kitty demonstrated her solidarity with the boy who would be her King by getting out of her chair, and sitting in Lance’s lap.
The reigning King and Queen looked at each other, thinking. Madonna got up out of her chair, sat in Stephen’s lap, kissed him on the cheek, and whispered in his ear.
Kitty responded by literally whispering, “Sweet nothings,” in Lance’s ear, sticking he tongue in the boy’s mouth, and playing a shift of go-hard tonsil hockey with him. The feel of Lance throbbing against her ass made Kitty squirm, as she pulled her tongue out of his mouth, looked Madonna straight in the eye, and said, “It’s Britney, bitch.”
Ciccone and King roared laughter. Madonna busted into the Wayne and Garth meet Alice Cooper bow down and chant, “We’re not worthy,” routine. Stephen followed her lead, and they did it three times.
Madonna said, “You two are fantastic together. You have that much chemistry going on, and you haven’t even been together for a full day, yet!” Then she turned to King and said, “You’re rigt; they are gonna rule the world.”
Kitty and Lance were expressionless, silent, still waiting for contrition. Madonna clued in. “You’re rigt, we were condescending. All apologies. Sincerely.” She was sincere
Stephen followed up by saying, earnestly, “It’s a bad habit of mine, especially with young people. I apologize. It won’t happen again. But if it does, bitch-slap me for it, and keep doing it until I get it into my fat head.”
Kitty and Lance looked at each other, Lance still throbbing against the girl’s ass, the girl still subconsciously squirming, and moistening. The insult had been to Lance, so it fell to him to accept the apologies, and he did. “Okay. I understand. And now I know where I got that shit from. I wonder how many of my other bad habits come from your half of my DNA.” Father shrugged. Lance reversed field by saying, “I guess they’re a small price to pay for getting your wordcrafting, and storytelling skills.”
“Atta boy,” said Stephen. “Now, where were we, before I fucked up?”
“We were waiting for Lance to spill his idea,” Madonna answered.
Lance looked at the oldsters, and said, “Yes, you were. And you’re gonna keep waiting until we get some answers.”
Madonna returned to her own seat, as King leaned forward and asked, “What do you want to know?”
“I wanna know what you know,” was Lance’s answer.
“About the virus. How, when, and where it was created, by who, and why.”
King laughed, “Fair ‘nuff, Lance. I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know, and I don’t know.”
“Would you tell me if you did?”
“Maybe. If you knowing were beneficial to the greater cause, I would. If not, probably not. A lot of it is about trust. I have to be able to trust that you can handle shit. Heavy shit.”
A scowl broke across Lance’s face, “You’re a fine one to be talking about trust, my dear, old, deadbeat dad.”
“We will get to that. And soon. But not rigt here, rigt now. We’ll do that by ourselves, over a beer. Or two.”
“Okay,” Lance replied, “But you’re buying.”
“Deal” King agreed. “But seriously, I don’t know the answers to your questions, which are the questions everyone in the world is asking.”
“You have no idea,” asked Kitty. “C’mon.”
“I didn’t say that,” said Stephen. “I said I don’t know. I have some ideas, suspicions, and we’re looking into them.”
“You and your friends in weird places?” Kitty asked.
“Yes, me and my friends in weird places.”
Lance asked the obvious questions, “Who are these friends of yours, and how weird are they?”
“If I told you…”
“You’d have to kill us, or your friends in weird places would?” Kitty asked.
“My friends in weird places might kill us all. In fact, they just might do that before this is all over, for one reason, or another, or just for the Hell of it.”
“But you trust them?” Lance asked.
“So far, so good, and we’ve worked together before.”
“When and where?” Kitty asked.
“I really would have to kill you, if I told you that.”
Lance and Kitty looked at each other, silently, attempting to read each other’s minds. Kitty turned to Madonna, “What’s your role in all this?”
“Lance isn’t the only one in the room with game changing ideas. I will ante up soon enough. And lay my cards on the table for inspection.”
“When?” Lance asked.
“When we get to Vancouver.”
“What’s there?” asked Kitty, who had always wanted to go.
“Not what, but who?” Madonna answered, with a grin.
“Okay, who’s there?” Lance asked.
“A couple friends who have a big role to play in this, but have yet to be recruited.”
“You gonna keep their names from us, too?” asked Lance.
“No. Their names are Harry and Meghan,” Madge answered.
“The royal runaways?” asked Kitty, just to be sure.
Madonna smiled, and answered, “None other.”