Beyond His Means is a short story from my book The Madness of Art: Short Stories, which is currently available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble for $6.99. I’ve been publishing portions of Beyond His Means online for a while so you should read the previous installments first.
Here is Part 4.
The following morning, Kathy found Harold to be in a lively professorial mode, brimming with eruditions, ecstatic to share with her the fruits of his seclusion. She loved him most when he was like this, when he was at his most healthy. Conversation was usually a polymathic jumble, but she didn’t mind his tangents and his non sequiturs so long as he was talking.
“Freedom,” Harold said, “is in living up to no one’s expectations but your own.”
“You wish to live up to my expectations?”
“Let me rephrase. Freedom is living up to the expectations that are one’s own alone.”
“Is that why you don’t speak to your parents?”
“Society is nothing if not a bond between families, and society, like family, has unreasonable expectations. How does the quip go? Work, pay taxes, and die. I don’t plan to do any of those things.”
Is that why he’s made no mention to wed or raise kids? Are families part and parcel of the iniquitous establishment he’s sworn against? What is the Bible if not an instruction manual on the getting of women and begetting of children?
“You’re a walking contradiction,” she said. “I hope anarchy isn’t an excuse for carelessness.”
“If you mean to ask if I shall become a bomb throwing anarchist or saboteur, you can rest assured I find anything uncivil to be unchristian.”
“You’re an anarchist but believe in civility?”
“Why do you sound so skeptical?”
“Come on, Harold. Look at you. You’re turning into the ideal villain of a Hitchcock movie. Urbane, well-mannered, but hopelessly incorrigible.”
“Sorry I can’t be Cary Grant.”
“You sure you don’t want to call yourself antinomian? That’ll at least raise less brows.”
“Sometimes I’m surprised by just how bright you really are.”
“That’s because you don’t have high expectations of me.”
“Of course not,” he said affably. “Why should I?”
Why indeed. Hers was a terrible freedom.
——-Okay so that’s it for now, I’ll probably post more online for free later. Of course, if you want to read the whole story and several more, please purchase The Madness of Art: Short Stories on Amazon or Barnes and Noble. If you don’t wish to pay $6.99 but you are interested in the book, like my book on Facebook (see sidebar). If I can get 25 people to like my book, I’ll lower the price to $3 for 3 days, a savings of more than 50%.