A portrait of tragedy (c.., p.1
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       A Portrait of Tragedy (Chapter 2), p.1

           J Niessen
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A Portrait of Tragedy (Chapter 2)

  Chapter 2: The Last Meal Together


  J. Niessen

  * * * * *

  Published By:

  A Portrait of Tragedy

  Copyright 2013 by J. Niessen

  Cover Page by J’s Art Emporium, Copyright 2013

  Thank you for downloading this free eBook. You are welcome to share it with your friends. This book may be reproduced, copied and distributed for non-commercial purposes, provided the material remains in its complete original form.

  This book is a work of fiction and any resemblance to persons, living or dead, or places, events or locales is purely coincidental. The characters are productions of the author’s imagination and are used fictitiously.


  Thank you for taking the time to read and discover this collection of stories. Any questions, comments, or concerns regarding such material can be forwarded to [email protected]

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  Chapter 2: The Last Meal Together

  The moment Lace tells his wife Judy there are things he needs to go take care of, her pleasant demeanor alters. Despite having all the latest renovations in order, it seems there’s no way of meeting with her expectations regarding the move in to their new place.

  “I want you back for dinner. There’s something we need to discuss,” Judy forces, presuming this demand will make her husband uneasy and placed at a mental disadvantage.

  “I won’t be running out of time, you’ll hardly notice I’m gone,” Lace assures.

  “You just make sure you’re back by then,” she harps, standoffishly returning a kiss, then adds “And don’t expect me to be there if you have another honor ceremony. I’ve seen enough.”

  Cold disappointment, brisk like winter frost, stings his mind. Judy knows that Lace has an important promotion scheduled, and that this could be the day he’s moved to a higher rank.

  Lace approaches the apartment’s entranceway and flips through the large portraits he’s since mounted to a poster rack, critiquing each until he finds the proper scene. The thick frame unhooks from the fixture when lifted, and fastens to the back of the apartment door. Once activated the assembled doorway serves as a portal. Steeping through Lace travels back in time.

  “There’s something that’s been on my mind lately,” Lace offers while washing up for dinner (having returned from work on time) before moving on to set the table. It’s his attempt at swaying their at-home conversation clear of the discussion Judy has planned. His wife disregards his choice of topic. Wanting to appease her interests she asks “Did you see a place that requires only money?” He reflects on the community he helped restore, and how the months spent in that era have no cost on his time here in the present world. As far as Judy knows Lace’s been gone a few hours, as he attended the homecoming celebration and shopped at the market.

  “Yes. I went to a place we learned about in school.” Hesitating, Lace pieces together aspects of the era he regularly visits, and finally feels comfortable to give a detailed report.

  “It’s tough to see people struggling in a structure of life that straps someone down, based on income. It’s one thing to learn about the dynamics by reading written reports, or to see the economic system in playback video. But when you experience a person’s distress by witnessing firsthand the monetary limit to what that individual can gain, it really touches your heart. In some instances those people strive not just for themselves, but for their family. While here it’s the opposite, as the majority of our society is eager to have less, and to work for a greater purpose. I wonder if some take for granted all that Lord Emanuel allows us? In other places people gain a greater appreciation for physical possessions, when that focus item is earned. It reminds me why we work diligently for Him…to find worth in the things He provides.”

  “Yes, but Lace,” Judy adds, taking a critical stance, while sitting down to eat, “Our conveniences, built by men, are what provide the food and furniture. Not the Messiah. And we do have limitations. It’s not like you could have bought six loaves of bread!” Judy holds up the fresh loaf of sourdough which Lace brought back from the bakery to have with their meal.

  Reminded about his shopping trip (taken just after work) when other peoples’ allowances were spilled out all over the market ground, and he delighted in a moment imagining he had more than five allotted coins to spend, Lace quickly shifts focus onto the real issue here. “Yes, our storage room creates furniture, and was assembled by workers. But do you forget it’s the insight of the Lord, passed on to man, that innovates our advancements?

  “What’s marvelous is that here, some families value handcrafted items over machined manufacturing. You must recognize our Creator is the one responsible for all resources?”

  “Of course I know there’s a God, Lace. But what’s so important about handcrafts?”

  “Judy. I don’t understand why you can’t grasp this. Yes the refrigeration can generate meals, but there is a reason why certain people prefer to eat food that’s been made by hand. Knowing an individual took the time to till the soil, plant the seeds, and harvest the crop. You know as well as I do that machines can be impractical. This aspect increases the value on human labor. People toil because they take pride in the feats they perform. They endure long work schedules not because of job demands, or the growing need for supplies, but because they have a heart that wants to. There’s no sign of this profound aspiration in the places I visit. I honor the values taught in our era, set to remind us of the chances we have to better our heavenly rewards.”

  “And is your job so rewarding that you’d rather work there, than use the waking time you have…here? Are you saying you favor an environment where you could get yourself killed, and that you’re fine with the notion of leaving me here to live all alone?”

  “What would you have me do, Judy? You know I have the career I’ve always wanted to lead. I expressed this early on, for you to acknowledge, when we were in seminary.”

  “I want you to get a real job, one that’s around here, so that you’re not so far away.”

  Lace detects it in his wife’s eyes. It’s a tinge of resentment, harbored against the enjoyment he gets from the work he does, in his service to the King. He knows the cause of this vile attitude and makes an effort to try and point it out to her for corrective means…

  “Consider where the source of your troubles comes from, in your contempt for what I do. I question where your sensitivity lies, when I see so many living these days unconcerned with the importance of how their life is lived. They squander daily opportunity to make an impact in life, by rotting away on the couch in front of a TV.”

  Judy goes on the defensive from feeling attacked, while knowing there shouldn’t be a TV in their living environment. It goes against what they studied in seminary.

  “Listen, Lace. You’re always trying to push your agenda. Just because you think we shouldn’t have a TV doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy watching it every now and then.”

  “No, Judy. You’re misunderstanding. That’s not what I’m trying to do here. You asked what I observe while I’m at work, and I’m sharing that insight with you.”

  Keeping calm and collected, Lace seeks to come to a conclusion in the matter, “There’s no sense discussing my experiences if you’re just gonna turn this conversation into a one-sided argument. You’re behaving as though you’ve forgotten the core fundamentals we’re to live by. The TV doesn’t provide this. If a person lives without sensible building blo
cks as examples for guidance, how can they properly reflect on their innate way of life?”

  Sitting with arms crossed, Judy appears uninterested in her meal or the conversation.

  An alarming tension’s in the room, emanating from his wife’s surmounting hostility.

  “There’s one thing I want to say and then I’ll drop it,” Lace finishes. It’s a topic that’s been in his mind since Judy lashed out at his inquiry about the types of food she prefers.

  “Maybe you don’t see it, but for me there’s a difference in the supplies available,” Lace uses his hands to better enunciate, motioning as though there were two portions…

  “I read a study that food consumed from the regenerator has a different effect on your body and overall health--as opposed to organic supplies. It matters when feed specific for livestock has been blessed by the harvester; whether an animal was raised on an open range, or in a cage; and it betters the food when your butcher offers a blessing with your cuts of meat.

  “It may sound absurd, but I see the varied grades of food, shelved in order based on the amount of individuals it took to prepare the final product, all of which offered a blessing.”

  Judy scoffs, not considering the topic’s seriousness, as
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