“Balzac, you say?” I ask again as we make our way down the long thoroughfare alongside what has to be the longest pool I have ever bore witness to.
Tym twirls one side of his mustache as he strides next to me. “Beaux Arts, love. All the splendor you see around you is in the Beaux-Arts style. Except for this one.” He points across my muzzle to the endless building to our left. “The Transportation building was Designed by Adler & Sullivan. Escapes me why they hired them. Look how it stands out as proto-Modern against the rest of this beautiful white city.”
Indeed it does, but it's no less beautiful. It stands out, but I wouldn't say it detracts. But I'm a mere photographer, he the architect of we two. I take his word for it without argument. It's all such a lovely atmosphere anyway.
My jackal's anachronistic tail switches back and forth with his excitement. “Can you believe that, once the sun sets, this whole place will be illuminated by electricity? Hector, can you? Isn't that the wildest thing?”
“I'll make sure to take you on the thingum later on, then. Give you a right spectacular view from on high.”
“You mean George Ferris's wheel?”
“Of course.” I'd take his paw in mine if I weren't so burdened by my photographic equipment. God forbid I need to reload film after sunset. Where will I find a dark room in a lit Exposition? “Who did you say designed this affair again?”
“Olmsted. Frederick Law Olmsted. The genius behind Central Park in New York City?”
“If you say so, dear.”
“Yet you continue to cleave yourself to me night...after night...after night,” I say, deftly skipping out of my own way to avoid his fist. “Well, now! If I knew you were going to be that way, I'd have never bought our tickets. And train tickets. And taken time away from work.”
Tym knows I'm teasing all the same. As we make our way north he gazes out over the water to the island just a couple hundred feet away, making sounds with his mouth now and again. After a minute my curiosity gets the best of me. “What is that stuff you're chewing on?”
“This new gum Wrigley introduced. Juicy Fruit something-or-other. I picked some up while you were indulging yourself in those death squares.”
“Brownies. They're called brownies. And I'm pretty sure they can be made without walnuts. I didn't ask.”
“I would hope so. They smelled heavenly. I'll request you use some tooth powder before you decide to kiss me again, thank you very much.”
“You're welcome, dearheart,” I smarm back with my muzzleful of nutty teeth. “Say, do you think that clothing clasp-locker we saw in that demonstration will catch on?”
Scoffing, my jackal smiles. “Pshaw. Merely a trifle, a fancy patent that will prove no match for good old-fashioned buttons.” He smoothes his paws over his jacket and its neat line of buttons. “One should never underestimate the presence of buttons. Besides, did you hear that awful sound it made when they were showing it to us?”
“That 'zzppp' sound?”
“Absolutely dreadful! I mean, I'm as much for progress as the next gentleman, but not at the expense of public decency!”
“Truer words, my love. Truer words.” And with that, he points the way to the next exhibit. I consider striking up a conversation about those new “automobiles” I keep hearing about from across the Atlantic, but I remember his father's ties to the American Association of Draymen & Chauffeurs and think better of it.
On to the future, I suppose.
Hector is whyteyote
Tym is tym
Art by the incredible, inimitable redcoatcat