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The Contract

by Jojovits1 

Posted: 26 November 2019
Word Count: 537
Summary: I Googled "Predictions for the world in 100 yrs". It was scary stuff! One of the predictions was that marriage would not be infinite but would be to contracted time scales. Then I thought of this...

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Dante placed the ring he had chosen in the velvet casing.  He knew how much Ninkasi loved history and all in all, she was a bit of a romantic.  She’d be blown away by this.
She had told him tales of men, on bended knee, proposing to their loved ones and he’d smiled at her enthusiasm.  She had suggested her best friend Cari for bridesmaid and his old room mate, Mark as Best Man, but these didn’t exist in modern ceremonies.  This was a nod to her beloved traditions, not that it was commonplace these days.  He’d found the ring box in an antique shop and had it adapted for it’s more modern purpose.  The slot for the ring was there but there were also three tiny buttons, almost seed pearl size, beneath.  These would indicate the length of the contract she would choose.
He had consulted with his solicitors thoroughly on the contracts and felt they were fair and sensible for both of them.  In this day and age, marriage was not a lifelong commitment.  It would be ridiculous to see it as such considering the average life span was now 137 yrs old.   In the times that Ninkasi fantasised about, people lived to around 80.  Marriage was 60 yrs at the most (there were the odd exceptions) and a lot were far, far less.
He slid his fingers over the tiny buttons.
Five years.  They would both walk away, hopefully happy with their time together and taking everything they each brought to the home.  There would be no financial obligations.  Any children would be taken care of by the mother and an annual payment from the father would go towards health insurance and education.  Immediate needs  and visits would be negotiated at the contract termination.
Ten years.  Dante had made sure that provisions had been made for both of them.  In all honesty, he felt that his career would be more fruitful but if Ninkasi was more successful, she would compensate Dante for loss of family earnings.  The home would be divided in half and any children would have a sum put aside in a high interest account (there was marriage insurance to cover this).
Thirty years.  This is what Dante hoped she would choose.  The longest, most sensible option.  He loved this woman with all his heart and wanted to be with her for the optimum time.  Any longer would mean they had aged and grown, possibly apart.  Children would no longer be children and they would not need to be financially looked after.  With this option again, they got to walk away, hopefully happy with their time together and taking everything they had brought to the home.  There would be no financial obligations.
Dante smiled as he hid the ring box in the linen napkin and waited.
Ninkasi knew it would hurt him but he would see sense in the end.  She loved bits of him but he was far too traditional for her to hitch her future to.  He wasn’t willing to leap into the unknown and the “known” was what she dreaded.  She glanced at the ring on her finger and looked into Mark’s eyes.
“Till death do us part”.

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Comments by other Members

michwo at 22:40 on 26 November 2019  Report this post
So the best man got to her first then.
Will Dante top himself as a result?  Dante = Inferno?
The pedant in me reared its ugly head in your paragraph about the Ten Years option.
... Dante had made sure that provisions had been made for both of them. In all honesty, he felt that his career would more fruitful...  
Shouldn't that be: be more fruitful ?
Ninkasi is a name totally unlike Sue or Joan or Gwen, very 22nd century possibly, so I guess Dante is labouring under a delusion when he imagines her as being 'blown away' by the boxed wedding band as a more old-fashioned girl might be. Too much of an independent-minded career woman perhaps to let herself in for that from him.  Anyway she's already spoken for at the end of the story - she's Mark's girl.  All's fair in love and war, but I can't help feeling sorry for Dante nevertheless.

Jojovits1 at 22:56 on 26 November 2019  Report this post
Dante's a bit of a pillock - he thinks all things are marked out.  Not his fault to be fair, society has made it so but he's a slave to it. :-)..  He's not a bad guy, just not what his girl needs.

My friend's daugher is called Ninkasi.  She owns a pub in France.  I think Ninkasi is the Goddess of beer or something lol  :-)...but I thought it sounded fairly futuristic!!

And you're right, I missed out a be.  My proof reading is attrocious considering how pedantic I can be about the simpler sides of grammar! laugh

euclid at 23:12 on 26 November 2019  Report this post
Nice idea, Jo,

And I could see this actually happening - if the planet survives global warming.
I doubt that high interest accounts will ever return!

Typo: suggested [not sugested]



Jojovits1 at 07:26 on 27 November 2019  Report this post
My typos have been rectified. laugh

Practicer at 15:52 on 29 November 2019  Report this post
This piece seems well researched.  It feels like a bit of flash fiction noir.  For some reason the tone reminds me  of Philip k dick.  The human and replicant concept, two people seperate or both the same, if you catch my drift.  This piece makes me feel sympathy for both the characters because of a hidden agenda or plan, within the societies plan of  the consequences of action.
(Still working on critiques for a while.)

Bazz at 15:21 on 01 December 2019  Report this post
Hi Jo, love the central concept for this, really fascinating idea, you could do a lot more with it over a longer piece. feels equally realistic and yet heightened. I feel like you maybe explain a bit too much up front, we could just discover things in the story, perhaps, but that's a small thing. It unfolds perfectly, with a sharply resolved ending, showing how his perfectly calibrated proposal was doomed from the start...

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