Cue camera in four, three, two…
“Hi. I’m Hilda Rivera reporting live for Channel Five Vulture News. You may be wondering why my boots are caked in filth, my hair is embedded with thistles, and my lips are without a glint of gloss. I have schlepped through miles of roadless land to get to this house, the hidden estate of Reticence. Until recently this location was off the grid and unknown to society. But thanks to Amy Tellsitall, a distant cousin of Reticence who tagged him on her FacePage, our investigative reporters have tracked down this home of the infamous recluse who’s been hiding from society for far too long. I’ve just knocked on the front door. Wait. I hear someone saying, ‘Go away.’ Let me knock again.”
Miss Rivera knocks incessantly until a woman wearing scrubs and a tight hair bun answers, “Mister Reticence does not wish to talk.”
“Yes, I’m Hilda Rivera from Channel Five Vulture News. May I come in to ask a few questions?”
“He’s very sick.”
“Citizens are concerned. They have a right to—“
“Let ‘em in,” grumbles a voice from deep within the room.
Hilda bursts in while her crew grabs footage of Reticence nestled in home hospice. The images are simultaneously fed to high definition television screens across forty-two of the most civilized countries of the world.
The reporter grabs a chair, “I’m Hilda Rivera from Channel Five Vulture News. May I ask a few questions? Whoa, what’s that jellylike glob on your pillow?"
“Is that one of your questions?”
“Yes phlegm. I’m sick; do you mind?”
“Not at all. Tell me, why are you living in seclusion? Do you have something to hide?”
Reticence draws in a slow breath. Then lets out a gasp, a wheeze, and a cough. “I’m quite reserved by nature. My failing health has only increased my desire for privacy.”
“Yeah. You’re not looking so good. How long have you been sick?”
“I first noticed symptoms during the birth of commercial society in the eighteenth century. Then there was uh, invasive journalism.”
“Hey dude, I’m just bringing the people what they want.”
“It wasn’t these changes, but the progression of them which have hurt me. For even feminism, the sexual revolution, and literary realism—though outside of my comfort zone—all have nutritive value.”
“You say that like you’re not entirely convinced it’s true. Were these changes good or not?”
“Toxicities from the corruption of these changes have grown like a legion of aggressive tumors, spreading through every function of society, killing off lots of bad cells, but also smothering vital organs.”
“What are your afflictions?”
Reticence rubbed his forehead, then his chin, “Greed. Exploitation. Decline of critical thinking. Apathy toward politeness, discretion, taste, and tact. Lack of restraint—”
“I see, but the agencies of exposure will thrive when you die. How do you feel about that?”
“Bereaved. Each gain in exposure strips away a layer of privacy, the most vital substance for intimacy to flourish.”
“But doesn’t exposure allow knowledge to thrive?” asked the reporter. “Isn’t knowledge empowering?”
“A flood of knowledge dilutes the pursuit of truth. Knowledge can be destructive as easily as it can be empowering.”
“You’re pretty old. Isn’t it time you moved on?”
“When I’m gone nothing will be held private. What shall be considered precious then?”
“Hmm, interesting. There are rumors that you have a tattoo on your backside. Can you confirm or deny this?”
Reticence glares at the reporter while the tips of his ears burn red. Hilda continues, “What’s the harm in sharing a little information before you pass on? Would you rather that society died from curiosity?”
Reticence rises up to a sitting position.
Hilda draws back, “Oh, uh, shouldn’t you be resting?”
The sleeping giant wakes and slides his legs off the bed. He places his feet firmly on the ground, first the left, then the right.
“Wow. You are much larger than I—yikes!”
Reticence stands and towers over the reporter’s petite frame and says in a calm and powerful voice, “I am not dead yet. Our interview is over.”
The reporter quickly excuses herself and then closes the broadcast, “Well there you have it folks: Reticence exposed. Be sure to check out our website where we’ve posted tips on how to find the secret location of Reticence on Oogle Maps. This is Hilda Rivera saying good night from Channel Five Vulture News.”
Fade to black.
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