His father's gravestone was a handsome granite; carved into it in Times New Roman were his father’s name, the dates of his birth and death, and the epitaph that his father had requested: “Dead artists roll over in their graves.” Hopper breathed a sigh of relief, knowing that he could report to his mother and sisters that all the dates and spellings were correct, and that the gravesite had not yet been desecrated by any of his fans.
They strolled leisurely to Birgit’s apartment and talked about their children. Perhaps for the first time today, Hopper relaxed. He admired the lengths to which Charlize went to protect her children from all the ways that parents encourage and feed their children’s paranoia and neuroses. “All parents damage their kids,” she said. “I just want to keep that damage to a minimum.”
Since their sister's passing, neither Ingrid nor Heidi had visited Birgit’s apartment, which they jointly inherited. “Neither Heidi nor I want to own the apartment,” Ingrid explained to Hopper, “and we just can’t bring ourselves to go there.” However, before the sisters allowed a broker to inspect the residence, they asked Hopper to look it over and stay the night while he was in New York. “You want me to find the porn stash and hide it before anyone finds it?” he asked them over a Zoom.
“Yes, it is,” Olympia barked. “That’s why I am glad that Silver called me on it. We had quite a fight about the journals. She called me on what she described as my “avarice and ambition.” She was right. I gotta give the girl props for keeping her agency.”
“If you want to have a relationship with someone, you have to work on it,” Ingrid told Hopper. “Your trouble is that having friends is just not that important to you.”
“You can always tell that you are in a neighborhood filled with high rates of unreported crime by how many private art galleries are located there,” Hopper’s father told him. “There are more art galleries in New York than any other city, and more art galleries on the Upper East Side than any other neighborhood in the world.” Hopper's father called this phenomenon "stained-collar crime."
“I would recognize you anywhere,” Dilly told Hopper, “even though you stopped cutting your hair and are hiding behind that cute face mask. You walk around in public like a man who is wearing only a large diaper, hoping no one notices that he is barefoot.”
At that moment, Hopper Tilley-Blandin was feeling mostly…annoyance. Once again -- in his mind -- his mother and his younger sisters Olympia and Silver had foisted upon him an act of fealty to a family whose ties were fraying following his parents’ sudden divorce and his father’s subsequent, freakish death.
The following text exchanges were captured from the mobile devices of Huey Newton Wallace, Huey’s ex-girlfriend Olympia Tilley-Blandin, Ingrid Brzezinski, Ingrid’s ex-husband Hopper Tilley-Blandin, the actress Charlize Theron. The fifth installment of the short-story series, “The 12 Days of the Tilley-Blandin Coronavirus Christmas.”
"Christmas? What's that? I guess that I we can do some kind of Facetime or Zoom with Birgit. Exchange gifts over Amazon. Pray that we stay healthy while we wait for the vaccine." The fourth installment of the short-story series, “The 12 Days of the Tilley-Blandin Coronavirus Christmas.”