Ezra was a smug asshole but he was maddeningly brilliant too. Isaac finds him lying on his back one day with seemingly a hundred different little dome shaped basins all over the floor, and one with two caked layers in his hands. Ezra is spinning it on the tip of his finger. Isaac is staring.
"What are you doing. What is that?"
"It turns salt water and some contaminated water into drinking water," Ezra answers, not missing a bit and not even looking up. Isaac squints.
And Ezra shows him. It’s bloody ingenious. The little gadget can’t clean all types of water, but most kinds, like salt water and rainwater. All it takes is fire. Isaac watches the condensation drip into a little side pot and is stunned. It’s not revolutionary in a momentous sort of way, but it’s so convenient.
"You should sell that," Isaac says. Ezra is lying on his side and moving his palm over the rising steam.
"You could make tons of money doing that."
Ezra looks up from his little distraction and grins.
"Go ahead," he says. And Isaac is honestly baffled for a moment before he realizes his own implications.
It never even crossed his mind to endorse it. He just thought of Ezra sitting in his workshop and being bored out of his mind, dependent on a deadbeat source of income and thought; ‘Why not take advantage of this?’
"I didn’t mean it like that," he quickly blurts out. And Ezra is looking at him funny. Isaac sighs.
"Look, I just thought, well, this would be great. People could actually carry this around with them. It’d be awful convenient and useful. Itova isn’t exactly plentiful with drinkable water. There’s one tap on the entire island and its dead-center in gang-land. Civilians are always converting salt water into drinking water, but not that easily. And well, you could use the extra bucks, right?”
Isaac realizes he’s rambling and that’s just a huge sodding NO as a businessman. You’re careful and precise with your wording, never wasteful. He’s about to throw himself out the window when Ezra laughs. Something light and cool is shoved into Isaac’s hands.
"Invest in me then. Sell the product for me, give me money, and I’ll make more."
This could be interesting was left unsaid.
We Are Hard on Each Other
by Margaret Atwood
We are hard on each other
and call it honesty,
choosing our jagged truths
with care and aiming them across
the neutral table.
The things we say are
true; it is our crooked
aims, our choices
turn them criminal.
Of course your…