“So Ethan, why don’t we begin with you telling me a little about yourself."
"There's really not a whole lot to tell. I'm 26 and I have my own business doing antique furniture restoration. I have two brothers and a sister. Do I tell her I'm gay? That might not be a good idea. She might have me committed.
"Do you have anyone special in your life?"
"Not now. It didn't work out."
"I'm sorry to hear that. What happened, if you don't mind me asking."
"He intentionally infected me with HIV." Oh shit. I just outted myself. I wonder what her reaction is going to be.
Dorothy looked horrified. "Oh my God, Ethan. That's horrible. How are you dealing with it?"
Whew. Dodged that bullet. Ethan thought, using one of his favorite archaic statements. "Well, I kinda fell apart when I first learned about it. Even after these centuries there's still no cure. I'm on medication I'm told will let me live a normal life. That's all I can do about it. I've accepted it. My family has been incredibly supportive."
"That's good to know. How are you feeling now?"
"Do you like what you do?"
"I love it. I enjoy working with my hands and it's really cool restoring something that came from the past."
"So you're interested in the the past?" Dorothy asked.
"Not really. I just enjoy working on furniture that belonged to our ancestors. I don't want to sound like I'm bragging or anything, but I'm really good at it."
"That sounds nice. I'd like to see your workshop sometime."
"You are welcome to stop by any time. I'm open from 9 until 6, although sometimes I'm there after midnight if I get caught up in my work. I don't work the weekends."
"How often do you work past closing?" She wanted to know.
"Not very often. Maybe a couple of times a month. Sometimes more, sometimes less."
"And how do you know what a piece of furniture is supposed to look like?" Dorothy asked, getting more and more curious. Hm. I have a couple of antique tables. I wonder if he would be willing and able to work on them.
"The central archives have granted me unlimited access to their records. I've always been able to find at least a picture of the item, if not the original manufacturing documents."
"How much to you charge people for your services?"
"It depends on what I have to do to complete the restoration. For any materials I use, with the exception of stuff I get in bulk like paint and stains for example, I charge my cost plus 10 percent. I charge $25 an hour for labor, depending on who it is. I had this one elderly woman come in with an end table that just needed light sanding and staining.
"It took me all of about 45 minutes. I could tell she didn't have a lot of money, and I didn't have anything I was working on, so I charged her a cup of tea. Later on that day she brought me a gallon jug of fresh tea."
"That was very nice of you. Do you do this kind of thing often?"
"Occasionally. I like helping people out. I could tell the end table meant a lot to her by the way she handled it. I didn't feel right charging her a lot since I had plenty of stain and sand paper on hand and it didn't take me very long. Plus I didn't have anything to work on.
"I was thinking about making something for my house, but I didn't know what I wanted to do."
"Do you own your home, or do you rent it?"
"Since my oldest brother Troy and my sister Alicia already had their own homes, they left the house to my older brother Chris and me."
"So I take it you're the youngest?"
"Yes, I'm the baby of the family."
"Let's get back to your woodworking for a minute. If you charge so little, or nothing at all, do you make enough money to support yourself?"
"I don't need to worry about that.. My parents were millionaires several times over and they left each of us a huge chunk of credits, so I could just lay around and do nothing if I wanted to."
"I see. Do you have any hobbies besides your woodworking?"
"Yeah, I like running and swimming. If I get upset over something or have something on my mind, I usually go for a 10 kilometer run. It helps clear my head."
"10 kilometers. That's amazing." Dorothy was quite impressed. "Anything else?"
"Not really, except for reading. I love to read."
"What type of books do you like to read?"
"Everything and anything except romance novels and pornography."
"Pornography still exists?"
"So I'm told. I don't want to read about other people's sexual activities."
"Well, I think that's all for today. Why don't we meet again next week at the same time."
"Okay, I guess."
"Okay. Well, it was nice to meet and talk with you. I look forward to seeing you again next week."
"Thank you. Have a great day!"
"You too, Dorothy and thank you." Ethan left her office and went to get something to eat, mulling over everything they discussed.
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