The final panel of the story showed the mummified butler again, this time wearing a feathered hat and a bone through his nose, but Dan didn’t bother to read the text boxes surrounding the image. He had read enough. Sighing, he folded the comic book closed, and looked back up at Cyrus.
“So?” Cyrus’ one-word question contained a paragraph of expectation. “I’m curious to know what you think of this — ” his fingers tapped the top of the comic book — “entertainment.”
Dan stared back across the small table. Cyrus was commanding a response, but allowing him time to gather his thoughts first. There was an easy way out that Dan had recognized while reading the story — Rune had brought the comic to fencing practice and loaned it to Butch, without ever showing it to Dan. Apologize, say he’ll speak to Rune, talk to the team about distractions during practice (it had actually become an issue over the past month, not just the comic books but the smart phones, the gossip, the horseplay . . . )
Dan drew his lips tight, as he recalled the compromises he’d made since moving to Bark Bay, this tiny town with the peculiar name. The food, the dialect, slower pace of life, an obvious lack of the conveniences and services he’d taken for granted in his younger years — Bark Bay was most definitely not Chicago, and he’d come to accept the disadvantages that came with all the joys he experienced with small-town life.
The easy way out of this conversation with Cyrus represented another compromise. But unlike the others he’d come to accept, Dan didn’t see this one as a requirement. Clearing his throat, he leaned forward across the small table.