Max Headroom - Winter's Warm Embrace

Chapter Two

Snuggling in the cold refrigerator box with Paula in his arms, Bryce watched the darkness of the early morning hours slow turn to the grim grey of the dawn. He shivered a little, their shared blanket as spare as the hair on a hag. He knew in his mind that this was utter foolishness. That he should leave this cardboard abode and return to the warmth of Network 23. But he could not bring himself to leave Paula.

"We should marry," he told her when she woke. "I know it's sudden, but I can't think of anyone I'd rather spend my life with."

"Nor can I," Paula smiled. "Maybe I'm being driven by a lifetime of loneliness, but I think that would be a perfect way to spend the morning. There's a man here in the Fringes who is licensed to do marriages. Let's go see him."

On the way there, they passed a little Blank girl who was selling paper flowers. With a smile on her face, she sold them some. Paula put a few in her long unkempt hair. The others she held as a simple bouquet.

They made their quiet way, then, to the Blank whom Paula had spoken of. He was sitting on the porch of his simple home. Bryce wondered how many marriages the man had to perform to earn enough money to buy even the simple shack he lived in. It really wasn't much bigger that a child's club house.

"Well, well." he said cheerfully to them. "How can I help you two young people?"

"We wish to marry," Paula told him.

"A bit green around the gills aren't you? How do you plan to support each other?"

"I work at Network 23," Bryce explained.

The man raised an eyebrow. "Bryce Lynch? Blank Bruno's told me quite a bit about you. Way he sounded I never expected to see you at my door. Are you sure this is what you want?"

"Yes," Bryce told him.

"Both of us are absolutely certain," Paula confirmed.

"Around here, we always do weddings big. Oh, but first, I should introduce myself. Sorry for not doing so earlier. All the excitement, you know. I'm Father Blank. Not my real name of course, but as both titles fit, I took it as such. Ordained in the church many years ago." He paused for a moment, then continued. "I left the main church in order to bring the Peace of the Lord and his blessings to the Blanks. I also perform Fringer weddings as they do not have the money for the exorbitant fees charged for church weddings. I always like to throw a big wedding, with the permission of the bride and groom. It is rare chance for my flock to be happy."

"That's fine, right Bryce?" Paula asked hopefully.

"It sounds great to me," Bryce agreed.

"Excellent," Father Blank told them. He closed the door, then opened it a moment later, wearing his best clothes. "Right this way," he invited them, leading them to a larger building which Bryce was wondering about.

Bryce was about to ask why he didn't live in the larger building when it opened. Inside was a beautiful palomino horse and a nicely preserved barouche.

"Go ahead and climb aboard, folks," Father Blank told them. "I just gotta harness up old Skylark here and we'll be off to go."

"Go?" Bryce asked, wondering what Father Blank meant.

"In order to get a small crowd for the wedding, we make a small gathering jaunt around the Fringes to let people know that a wedding is about to take place and to introduce the bride and groom."

"That sounds like fun," Paula grinned.

Bryce smiled at how pleased she looked. "I agree," he said, realizing that he actually did. He wondered for a moment what this girl had done to him over the course of a single night. Marveling at how quickly he had fallen in love with her.

He got into the barouche first so that he could more easily help her up, then reached down for her, making sure she could climb up without falling.

Once inside, they watched and waited while Father Blank harnessed the palomino to the carriage and took his place in the driver's seat.

They set off with the horse at a cantering speed, Bryce and Paula waving as they passed a variety of Blanks.

Back                         Home                              Max Headroom Main Page                              Next

Your Name or Alias:      Your E-mail (optional):

Please type your review below. Only positive reviews and constructive criticism will be posted!