For Part I of the story, LOWLY SOULS BLUE – Short Story (Part I of 2)
The automobile factory was open and on work all round the day, the week and the year. People there worked like machines for nothing but a few pennies a day. Workers there did not have life; they were lifeless bodies. They were just machines except that they were not made of iron and steel. A writer like Trevor didn’t have to commit crimes against the humanity to reach hell, poverty would take care of that.
Sales of automobiles have been halved in the past year and the production too had to follow. This factory in Dunningham was one of the few factories doing better. Nevertheless, their employees already were a burden on the factory, option of new employees, very grim. Trevor was said that the application had not been considered yet and that it would take time.
“Hey!” someone shouted out his lungs running towards Trevor while he was leaving the factory. Trevor turned back feeling strange. People calling him this way was very rare. Last time someone shouted his name out loud in the public was when Louise wished him bye from aboard a train, leaving to her Mom’s, in Birkshire.
It was his brother Edmond in blue cartons with a factory cap. Trevor was shocked not on seeing his brother, but the cap he wore. The hell he worked in the factory?
“Brother” Trevor replied pretending happy but he knew inside, a real good novel feeling was radiating through the idea of companionship.
“What the hell ya’ doin’ here?”
Ignoring the question, “Are you working here, brother?” Trevor asked.
“The cap. That. Factory cap.” Trevor pointed to his head.
“Oh, this! I made a friend here in the factory. We were just playing around. I forgot to return it.”
“Tell me, Trevor. You seem troubled.”
“I applied for a job here in the factory.”
“Yeah. Louise told me the other day I met her in the market. Why the hell would you do that? There’s no chance to find job in this factory. Any factory for that matter.”
“You said you have a friend here in the factory.”
“Is there any way…”
“No, no, no way Trevor. The conditions of the economy are so bad now, that friend of mine is shivering in fear of losing her own job in the next month. The management is throwing all the front line workers out with stupid and trivial reasons. I don’t understand how in Satan’s name the management never finds any problem with itself. If you ask me, I would say, the management and the other authorities that are sprouted in the recent years are bigger a burden than the menial workers.”
“Is your friend a girl?”
“Yeah.” Edmond looked awkwardly at Trevor. Their eyes met and Trevor turned his eyes away spontaneously. “Why would you ask me that?”
“Nothing. Was just curious.”
“How is Louise doing?”
A long silence pursued after which, he replied, “Bad.” He looked into Edmonds eyes this time as if yearning for help, for solicit. And continued slowly swaying his head, “worse.”
Edmond put his hand on Trevor’s with brotherly concern, “Why don’t you say something to her.” He turned his gaze away from Trevor, “She ain’t none to treat you that way.”
“She started to become restless since she got to know about her Aunt Paulette’s deteriorating health. She speaks barely with me. Only when very necessary.”
“Trevor, you have to talk back. You have to restore your dignity and not fall into ridicule this way. Doesn’t blood in your body rise when you are mistreated?” he said with a sad yet, unwavering tone. “God, I would’ve slapped my wife and locked her up for a week if she did even half of what Louise is doing to you.”
“No, brother.” Trevor said helplessly. “I can’t do it.”
“Why can’t you brother? You like it in your home? Getting insulted by your wife all day. Soon, people too would start talking. What would you do then?”
“Its not that I do not get angry when she does that, Edmond. My blood, like anyone else’s, does heat up when she does that to me. But, when I get to that level where I feel I would lose my control, I remind myself, she is the love of my life. You talk about beating her up. It’s not very difficult, brother. Trust me its easy. But she is the woman I loved; I kept her to my heart all the while. Now, just for the things aren’t very smooth, I can’t lose all that I hold for her in me. I love her, brother, a lot. I cannot raise my hand on her like you say to do; not in my dreams.”
“Well, you are one hell of a crazy stubborn. Sometimes, you have to do that which you do not like to attain that what you like,” the elder brother looked away hopelessly, “I can’t help you better, brother.”
Louise was sitting on the porch her eyes lost in deep thinking. Trevor came back. On seeing him, she put across the obvious question as quick as possible pretending a dejected and insipid look, “What happened? What did they say?”
Trevor locked the gate behind him and turned to Louise. She was bad at pretending to be uninterested. “It’ll take time. My application has not yet been considered yet. She tightened her lips and looked at the floor lapsing back into her interrupted thinking. She was angry again.
An hour passed on the porch. From afar, she could see a plump, fat man in an officer suit coming towards on a bicycle. Yes! She could see the man; she could sense danger. She ran into the house and jerked Trevor away from his typewriter. “What happened?”
“Phifficus is coming. Move your ass, goddamn it. We are not at home. Go, go. Lock the door from outside. Run to the back and enter from the kitchen. Run, run. Run you. Quick.” By the time Phifficus covered half the distance to their house, the house was locked from the front door with both in the hall waiting for time to pass. “Haven’t seen a man more a harass than him. Didn’t reply to one of his letters and he’s home now,” she whispered and then scowled at Trevor, “and you on the other hand earn not a dime to make this loan up. To hell with this world.”
“Louise.” Trevor called inquisitively.
Again, softer, “Louise, what are you doing.”
Clutching all clothes in her tight fists and throwing them down into a suitcase, “I’m done here.”
A lump rose in Trevor’s throat. “Louise.”
Leaving the clothes aside, she turned defiantly to him, “What?” she cut sharply.
“Why are you doing this?”
“Why do you think?”
Trevor gathered strength, if not now, it would be very difficult in future. “Louise, I know I have been a bit apathetic to your condition and Aunt Paulette’s. But give me one more chance. It’s just a matter of time. Every thing will be all right. Aunt Paulette will be alright.”
“All right? When will she be all right? After she dies?”
“Louise, come on. I think I deserve a chance.”
She resumed to stuffing the suitcase on the floor with her clothes. “You keep thinking while Aunt Paulette dies.”
“For God’s sakes woman, She WILL – NOT DIE.” Louise looked at him taken aback by the power she had heard in Trevor’s voice for the first time. “I promise. Your aunt will be fine. She will be all right. Everything will be all right. I love you.”
To the last expression, she lapsed back into her fury from hopelessness, “bull shit.”
He pursed his lips with his eyes turning misty now, finding no direction to stop Louise from going. To make her believe, he does love her and that Aunt Paulette will be fine. She would definitely be fine – Trevor needed just a few more days – he knew it – he should’ve told her – he lacked the courage.
It was all falling apart, like a house made of cards blown away by the marsh winds, tight and sharp. He moved his eyes left and right frantically for words. None struck. If anything could be done, he knew it was then. Else, his shyness and inhibition would take him completely over. But he couldn’t decide to reveal the truth – the secret that he had kept to himself for long.
Louise again broke her work and tuned toward him and cut sharply, “Give me the locker keys.” Trevor’s eyes turned to her, quick in astonishment. “Trevor, give me the damn keys to the locker. I need my jewelry.” Trevor stayed unmoved, as hard as ice. “What the hell is wrong with you? I need the locker keys.”
“I can’t give them.” Trevor said in fear of his little secret’s revelation.
“Trevor give me the keys. This is the last time I am asking you. Trevor…”
Trevor moved back, “I cannot. And I am not going to.”
Louise, shocked with his guts, “Tell me, Trevor. What have you done with my jewelry?” she asked thinning her eyes, pursing her lips.
“What have you done to them, Trevor? Give – me – the keys – to – the – locker – for Christ’s sakes.”
Slowly, a pair of keys clinked from Trevor’s hands to Louise’s snatch. Choosing for the right key, in frustration, Louise reached the locker in the room, put the key into the hole and turned it hard. The rusty metal door of the locker creaked open. Louise was petrified in bewilderment.
There were four rolled bundles of pink notes, neatly held together in rubber bands, warm in the locker. Louise brought one out into light and held it, bemused. Trevor looked down in shock to what has happened. He had to get ready for whatever Louise is going to ask. His secret hadn’t been revealed yet. It was waiting.
“Trevor, what is this” Louise has asked in a very soft voice as if she held no authority over Trevor. It had been many months since she has spoken like that. “Where did you get all this, Trevor?” she asked again looking into his eyes in a sad, yet astonished way.
“I have been saving then, Louise,” a gulp, “for Aunt Paulette.”
“What?” she gasped as if exasperated. “How did you find all this money?”
She was not angry now; at all. She was sad; very sad.
“I told you,” Trevor said, on verge of tears, “Aunt Paulette will be fine.” He continued, “Everything will be all right.”
“Trevor,” Louise asked the question, “were you publishing those novels you were writing?
. . .
For Part I of the story, LOWLY SOULS BLUE – Short Story (Part I of 2)
I thank you from the bottom of my heart for you have taken your valuable time out to read this story I wrote.