Thursday, August 20, 2009

Artie

a Davey's Family story

500 words based on a sentence (in italics) selected by Dive. Click here for more info.


“Mr. Bloom! A moment please, sir!”

Mr. Bloom paused near the waiting car, the driver watchfully anticipating his boss’s usual hurry to be gone from this place, replacing his cap atop his graying curls as he saw Mr. Bloom approach. Mr. Bloom was eager to leave the dockside neighborhood and looked forward to a long steam at his midtown Club to help purge him of the stench of the river and cheap perfume. He’d spent the afternoon reviewing accounts with the warehouse bookkeeper, a woman tough enough to endure the cat calls and wolf whistles of the stevedores and warehousemen on a daily basis, but still soft enough to evoke feelings Mr. Bloom knew best to ignore. He craved the hushed voices and mannerly ways of the Club and its well-trained staff.


McDonough, the shift foreman, hurried toward him, turning up the collar of his jacket against the late October wind. The sky was darkening. Surely it would rain before the men clocked out and headed back to the dark, cramped railroad flats most called home. Many faced an hour’s journey or longer, on the subway for those who could afford it, on foot for those who could not, before they’d cross their thresholds and face a whole different set of frustrations embodied by stringy-haired wives and snot-streaked children. Some would fortify themselves at the nearby tavern before fading away into the gathering dusk.

“Yes, McDonough, what is it?”

“It’s Juicy. He needs time off to bury his son.”

“Who?”

“Juicy. Julius Goldfarb.”

“Son? I didn’t know he was married.”

McDonough hesitated.

“He’s got a wife somewheres. I wouldn’t call it a marriage. Juicy split right after Artie was born. Sees him every couple a years. Couldn’t stand the bawlin’ or what it did to Blanche’s figure. Quite a tomato Blanche was.”

“How old was the boy?”

“Nineteen, maybe twenty. One a them Greenwich Village peacenik types. Got the call just now his boy’s dead.”

“Alright” said Mr. Bloom, “Give him two hours for the funeral. Without pay.”

“He needs a week. You know them people. They put ‘em in the ground quick, then have the wake afterwards.”

“No. We won’t hold a job that long for anyone. If he takes more than two hours replace him.”

“But…”

“If we have a job open when he decides he’s ready to come back, you can rehire him, but at a lower wage. He’s lucky we hired him at all. What happened to the boy, anyway?”

Again McDonough hesitated.

“Smack. Found him with the needle still in his arm. No other marks on him. Cops say it musta been his first time.”

At this intelligence, in which he seemingly evinced little interest, Mr. Bloom gazed abstractedly for the space of a half a second or so in the direction of a bucketdredger, rejoicing in the farfamed name of Eblana, moored alongside Customhouse quay and quite possibly out of repair, whereupon he observed evasively:


"Everybody gets their own ration of luck, they say."


##

copyright (c) 2009 Lulubelle B

3 comments:

Lulubelle B said...

This week's story is based on a sentence from James Joyce's "Ulysses":

At this intelligence, in which he seemingly evinced little interest, Mr. Bloom gazed abstractedly for the space of a half a second or so in the direction of a bucketdredger, rejoicing in the farfamed name of Eblana, moored alongside Customhouse quay and quite possibly out of repair, whereupon he observed evasively:

"Everybody gets their own ration of luck, they say."

dive said...

Oh, poor Juicy!
Poo on Mister Bloom and his Scroogy ways.

I do love the way your characters wander from story to story, Lulu. I do hope the next time we meet Juicy he's feeling a whole lot better and working for someone nicer.

Wonderful writing, as ever.

Count Sneaky said...

I thought this piece was inspired by Joyce. It stands on its own though and is a sharp potrayal of our indifference and moral judgement of our fellow man. Well done! My best.