- Vol. 05
- Chapter 11
CALLOUSNESS OF INGRATES
James picked up the post in the hall and spun the wheelchair precipitously for the turn. “I’d’ve got that. You know how those stunts put my heart in my mouth.” Envelopes in his lap, the veteran mock-pouted. “Got to entertain myself somehow. Can’t just wait to die.” Tanya laughed and tilted her head quizzically, momentarily distracted by the new guise of a hall ornament. She lifted the delicate piece.
It seemed their nine-year-old had decided to co-opt an expensive figurine despite the garish harp – wedding present from James’s squaddie pals – into his own battalion of action figures. Face-mask and aqualung … marines. “James, do the navy have–” A grin snapped her train of thought as he opened the brown envelope with exaggerated aplomb. Then he froze. “Uh.” “What’s wrong?” He tried to recapture the smile. “Heh, remember the reappraisal due to Disability Benefit rehash?” “Ye-aah?” She didn’t like the colour of his face. “Seems the kidney impact syndrome doesn’t… Shit!” The letter hit the floor. Then the harpist. “James?” “They wiped–” “JAMES!!”