And so we return to that house which was picturesque enough at the time. As Claire enters her father is at a table stacked deep in compact discs and vanishing under ripping tape.
``He's probably doing that for some reason?'' Claire asked, a question made by her lack of confidence that he was probably doing that for a reason.
``You're getting optimistic,'' said Clio. ``You don't suspect he found his way into this by accident?'' Pierre looked up, set the roll of duct tape down, and having so proven he could picked it up again and tore off a foot-long strip.
``It looks more like started, like, trying to alphabetize the fish tank and then something happened and another thing and an hour later he was ... '' Here Pierre held up a disc, clapped the end of the tape to it, and rolled the tape around, mummifying an album. Claire looked from parent to parent and ventured, ``He's worried how anybody can just listen to music anymore, and wants the challenge back?''
``Don't ridicule me just because I'm being ridiculous,'' Pierre finally answered, and set the half-wrapped disc on top of the tape.
Claire waited, and Clio waited, and Pierre seemed satisfied that they should. Claire finished waiting, and said, ``Why are you doing that?'', and Pierre waited, until he was satisfied that he had.
``I'm protecting these CDs.''
Claire said, ``I thought CDs naturally formed plastic cases and un-openable stickers.''
``Your father has got the idea they're in danger of being eaten.''
``Your father has not got the idea they're in danger of being eaten'', said Pierre, as he avoided splinting the CD.
``I'm so glad I'm not related to my family,'' said Claire. ``What would I think if I were here?''
Pierre said, ``In the paper''.
``He read about somebody at Harvard Medical School who put green fluorescent proteins into cells, so in the right light, the cells produce a laser.''
``Wouldn't it be less trouble to just not donate your CD collection to the Harvard Medical School? They've probably got an office trained in not being donated to. I bet they don't get CD collections every day of the week.''
``Not waiting for the last,'' said Pierre, leaving ``minute'' off to be filled in by the listener, although ``moment'' would be acceptable and ``second'' better at implying a refusal of urgency.
Claire waited, a second or moment or what have you, and said, ``And you figure it's only time until there's lasers in ... in ... ''
``Squirrels,'' said Pierre. ``If you want. And have time. And squirrels.''
``You're worried laser squirrels will eat your CDs?''
``Not.'' But he finished wrapping it, proved the wrapped disc would not fit in the case, and picked out the next.
Clio said, ``Good. I wouldn't want to live with someone who worried about laser squirrels.''
Claire said, ``If a badger hologram eats --- ''
Pierre slapped the disc down. ``Be sensible. CDs aren't eaten.''
``You have to do more than not eat a CD to use it,'' observed Clio, who had been hoping all afternoon to make that observation.
Pierre looked at Claire, which did not deny Clio the triumph of her observation. ``Nope. Look at them with a laser.''
``And you're worried laser squirrels will wear out your CDs by looking at them?''
``Your mother ever tell you about my first liquid-crystal watch?''
Clio said, ``He knew the display would wear out someday. So he only looked at it when he really needed to know the time.''
Pierre said, ``Took precautions.''
``Covered it in gauze. And put it in a box, wrapped up the box, and put it in a dark room where nobody could look at it by accident.''
Claire said, ``And you never found it again.''
Pierre tore a strip of tape the length of his arm off the roll and wrapped the disc, silent apart from the natural storming of tape. Claire looked closer at what he was doing.
Clio said, ``We eventually found the closet.''
``Dad, are any of those even your CDs?''
``Course not,'' he said. ``I'm just tired of them.''
``But the laser squirrels --- ''
``Will have to not listen to something else.''
Trivia: The Third Estate voted 490-90 on 17 June 1789 to proclaim itself the French National Assembly; two days later the clerical order voted 149-137 to merge with the Assembly. Source: The Age Of Napoleon, Will and Ariel Durant.
Currently Reading: Jet Age: The Comet, The 707, And The Race To Shrink The World, Sam Howe Verhovek.