He had lived a long life, touching the upper eschelon of the predictable human lifespan. 99 to be exact, just a few months short of that coveted centenarian milestone. To her, his only child, he had wasted the better part of it on newspapers, news shows, news of faraway affairs that had nothing to do with him directly. He had never cultivated any of his natural gifts into craft. He loathed any sort of physical working, still bitter at having been forced to work the family potato fields at a very young age. Halfway through his life his hands began crippling into claws, an affliction for which he had a name but neither cause nor cure. She saw it as a withering of once servicable tools due to lack of use or maybe payback, karma for using them wastefully to write proposals for the war machine, his job for some 30 years. He had once written other things, science fiction his foray, and even ventured into a singing career. But rejection wore his aspirations down until he settled for mediocrity, which only the most assiduous of souls can evict.


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