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Thaddeus Breach (An excerpt from "Singularity")

("Singularity")

Thaddeus Breach delighted in his state of living. If the cosmos were constructed in such a manner that history and circumstances repeated themselves endlessly and in precisely the same manner, Thaddeus would be more than content being Breach. A portly, hairy-odiferous man of nearly sixty years’ what-is, Thaddeus remained a growing entity among legal luminaries. Not at the apex of his field, he hovered yet near the crown. His life had been charmed from the beginning, he being the son of a well-respected and potent lawyer. The Breaches were consistent in their competency as legal advisers – the legal field believably a part of their genetic structure. The judicial mind-set early took young Thaddeus, arguing everything and anything with his contemporaries – ofttimes prevailing. Social grace and success, however, did not like young Thaddeus, and a thyroid condition created more of him than even other heavy children. Thaddeus moved slowly and his facial features, large naturally oversized, gave short, plump grotesque his appearance. Avoided and his early childhood tormented, Thaddeus retreated to his own what-is where he read and studied rhetoric and philosophy, his uncommon understanding of adult topics ever widening that gap between his contemporaries and himself. Not without friends, Thaddeus continued a semi-social life until his university years commenced. In the setting of higher education Thaddeus thrived and graduated summa cum laude, obtaining the most sought-out clerkship in his class. A balding and squat twenty-three year-old Thaddeus married politically and his career solidified his being as a legal luminary. The following four decades witnessed a Breach in legal circles where political parties solicited his opinion. He was known to be capable of arguing well any position, and the Breach, as his students called him, was apolitical in that he followed no party line on a given topic. Possessed of a vigorous constitution and raging character, justice Breach was a hard man, his expectations of others rivaling his expectations of himself. When a case occupied him or when his considerable talents drove him, he was known to be of short temper. If an interlocutor should be unable to follow his thoughts, he would become frustrated quickly, largely because he had much to explain and one misstep often left a student lost irretrievably. He considered his intolerance of mental acuity a favor bestowed upon those with whom he associated. His thorny personality was thus an asset to those around him, at least those who survived. Thaddeus gradually became a law unto himself in that no rule was un-breachable, no legal professional wishing to counter his acts or desires. Ascendancy lifted Thaddeus such that he was invited into the highest parts of the professional circles, the pinnacle of which was The Fulfillment of Purpose – a legal entity concerning itself with every aspect of judgment within the community of homotheria. Thaddeus agreed to meet with the young rising man because he trusted and respected Ülrich Geldsbaum, though he never informed Geldsbaum of this sentiment. Ülrich met with Thaddeus at an eatery near the judge's office, a comfortable and secure place.

“May I assume you have found the destination of those monies?” Thaddeus asked immediately.

“I have...found a possible destination, but have no proof,” Ülrich returned.

“That is to be expected, but you wish me to introduce your young man to my group?”

“That is correct.” Ülrich seemed to bow as he talked.

“What purpose would such an introduction serve?”

“You claim that your group might assist him in regaining some of his eminence, yes?”

“That is true.”

“I must do whatever possible to return dignity to him. I am responsible.”

“I am able to introduce to him distinguished men I know. I will not guarantee that he will be greeted openly or be well-received.”

“That is understood.”

Ülrich arranged a gathering with the rising man, the two men greeting one another tensely, so much conflict having arisen between them. They exchanged pleasantries and the rising man asked about Ülrich's family, a sentiment he had not extended prior. Ülrich noticed that the imperatives and the impatience he had experienced in the young man seemed to have abated. Perhaps today was simply a good day for talking to him. He hesitatingly explained his present situation, leaving out his investigation into the disappearance of the younger man's wealth. Anger over his loss remained for the rising man, but Geldsbaum continued to be the closest male authority figure he possessed. Relieved he was to see his old friend, and if Geldsbaum was not responsible for the theft, then he did this man injustice refusing his company.

“I have arranged a meeting with the man about whom I told you,” Ülrich said finally.

Geldsbaum continued without waiting for a reply.

“He is a man of high standing; he possesses a vigorous mind.”

“I see.”

“He will meet you himself, but you must go to him and his group.” Ülrich specified this because he had known the young man to expect mercilessly from others what satisfied a mere whim. Such habits disappear neither quickly nor altogether.

“Of course.”

Geldsbaum was gladly surprised at his ready agreement.

The night during which the rising man was to descend into the community of justices savaged the locality with high winds and roaring thunder. The few trees rooted in the small sections of open soil bent over, arched near the ground, as the wind struck them into a haggard state – many vital leaves torn from sturdy branches. The downpouring rain came in spurts, depositing enough water that even the city's sewers buoyed debris that had fallen beneath vision. Bacchus accompanied Ülrich and his client, and the rising man had indulged frequently and without quarter for months. Not sober a single day, each his days found regret for the inability to abstain. When all appeared calm, Ülrich and the rising man dashed towards the waiting automobile. As if waiting in ambush, the downpour began even as the two men ran along the concrete, both savaged by the torrential rush. Their automobile fared no better, wobbling from one side to another, jostled by raging wind. Visibility lowered by the excessive downpour, they drove along a sable and visionless path into a seeming abyss. The rising man was thus unable to discern where they where, and when the auto arrived, both emerged into a veritable sea, again blowing them from side to side, mangling umbrellas and drenching further. The lighted hallway into which they walked greeted them with warm invitation. The marble floors supported them not without hazard, their clothes and shoes still wet, but with a certain, stony support prepared to brutalize them if not attentive. A concierge guided them into a washroom where waited the opportunity to shower and dry. Having donned clothing provided by the community of justices, the two men met with Thaddeus Breach in what passed for a library-congregating room. Ülrich directed the rising man toward Thaddeus, wanting to avoid the other justices.

“We are pleased to meet you.” Thaddeus greeted him.

“I as well,” said the rising man.

“We have heard many good things about you, my boy. Ülrich seems to believe in you.”

“Let's hope his confidence is not misplaced,” said one of the judges, apparently intercepting every word.

“Let's hope that indeed,” added Thaddeus.

“You will not be able to imbibe in the library,” said one of the justices, pointing to the drink balanced on the hand of the rising man; he reluctantly surrendered his companion.

The brightly-lit room strangely combined legal texts, topics of many kinds and elements from popular culture, a condition expected neither by Ülrich nor by the rising man. A brief examination of its contents revealed many books on comedy and a great many texts that examined the effects of law upon the community of homotheria. The two men perused the contents for some time as they waited in the library, the rising man uncomfortably sobering for the first time in a while. The attendants took requests for beverages of many kinds, no alcohol permitted anywhere. Thaddeus took them into his study where the men ate and discussed law. They were informed that they must wait longer, and if needed they might sleep before introduction to the community. Ülrich and the rising man slept four hours in what appeared to be a large, common bedroom complete with bunks. They arose and, given their now-cleaned garments, dressed and ate a light breakfast. A stern headache awoke the rising man, his insides pestering him. A strange awareness of unease and disorientation overcame him, as though his senses had been altered. Seeming to awaken from a haze, he drifted again into that odd awareness; righted himself and continued. Again, both visitors perused the vast library, noting that the contents were much more diverse than at first perceived. An unusual quality permeated the presence of the old, law-filled edifice, and both men sensed the camaraderie that wove together the justices. Such a connection stood out, and the rising man noted that the most extraordinary element of the library included not its quite diverse and inclusive contents, but rather the persons of the justices themselves. They sat short, squat figures with spectacles hanging from their necks, grunting occasionally, and when one of them amused himself with a passage, all chuckled as though every justice had read the same words. A grunt might come from one and almost instantaneously from all.

“GRUMPPH!” sounded all.

Portly, hairy-odiferous men of nearly sixty years being, they moved slowly and their large, outsized facial features surrendered the appearance of short, plump grotesques. Their faces were fierce in appearance – their brows almost constantly knitting and unraveling the stitch recently woven – and talking to one of them revealed only that appearance met with substance.

“We read and study rhetoric and philosophy, young man,” one justice asserted loudly from a corner, his angry bulging eyes popping, his thick lips moist.

“Do you study such things?” He asked the rising man.

“I do.”

And a grumbling-like laughter emerged from the justices in the room, each dressed very similarly to the other in suits tailored expertly to cover their bulging guts.

© 2014 by Kirk A. Shellko a.k.a. Lucian Whyte