Scholfield

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Review Chain

A short-short story set in a city that no longer exists.

A man named Scholfield lived above the bar on Hawthorne. She knew this because one July evening, while she was out back having a smoke, he came home with his friends who called him Scholfield.  She knew it was his name because the next day, before going in to work, she stopped out in front to look at the mailboxes and found the name Scholfield there, printed in block letters. The printing looked as if it had been done by a draftsman, and she wondered as she sold beer and talked flirtingly to the regulars if he was a student, or maybe he worked downtown in an office.

When she was out back having a smoke, standing in the graveled alley behind the brick building, she had an eye out for him.  He always came in by the wooden stairs in back of the building, and as she smoked she wondered what this said about him.

Most of the time, she didn't have an eye out for him.  A guy in a leather jacket roomed in the house across the graveled alley, and while she was having a smoke the two of them would talk flirtingly.  He said he worked at the used record store in the next block, and said he used to work as a roadie for Van Halen, but she had never seen him in the used record store.  Once, in a hurry for work, she had stopped at the Plaid Pantry up the street for a pack of cigarettes.  Through the glass door she saw the guy who wore a leather jacket at the cash register.  He did not see her.  Although the long lines at Fred Meyer made her late for work, she bought her cigarettes there, so he could continue to tell her he worked at the record store.

She knew which window was Scholfield's.  One night, her shift over, she waited behind the bar for the guy rooming across the graveled alley to see her and invite her in.  She had changed into a denim miniskirt and wore rouge to hide the acne scars on her cheeks.  She looked up to see a light on in one of the apartments.  Through the window she saw on the wall a drawing of a man inside a square and a circle.  She knew it was a reproduction of a drawing by Leonardo da Vinci, because she had seen a picture of it in grade school.  Until she saw the poster, she had been thinking about whether she should move in with the guy she was waiting for.  After she saw it, even while she rested her head on the shoulder of the guy who did not work at the record store, she thought about Scholfield.

She had talked with Scholfield that summer, once or twice.  He seemed to know a great deal, and had an opinion about everything.  He had read much, and she had seen him come home carrying books from the library.  One free Saturday afternoon she walked over the Belmont branch library, looked at it from the sidewalk, and wondered how many of those books Scholfield had read, if not all of them.  Walking home, she tried to imagine what it was like to have read so many books.

One September night, while she was out back having a smoke, Scholfield came up the graveled alley with his friends.  She smiled, but Scholfield's eyes were on one of his friends: the friend had found an old shoe, and began to kick it around like a soccer ball.  The other friends joined in and at last Scholfield himself joined the excitement.  Running and shouting in the dark, they all looked identical to her.  Then the shoe tumbled to rest in the rectangle of light from the doorway to the bar, and she saw the stiching joining the sole to the rest of the shoe was coming unsewn.  This reminded her of one of her pairs of dress pumps; yesterday she had discovered the fabric near the base of the heel had frayed, revealing the white plastic core of the heel.  This had upset her because she could not afford a new pair, and she had no shoes to wear if someone asked her out to a nice place downtown.  She ground out the unfinished cigarette under her shoe and went back to selling beer.

From then on she made herself not look up when Scholfield came home, until it no longer mattered to her.

 


Submitted: June 29, 2021

© Copyright 2021 llywrch. All rights reserved.

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Comments

Burgerhicks80

Interesting piece. I liked it.

Mon, July 5th, 2021 4:00am

Ann Sepino

I like how, beneath the plot of the story, there are themes that tackle social inequity, self-esteem, indecision and complacency. I also like how your narrative voice flows. It's grounded in real, everyday life and topped with the right amount of fancy. A great read!

Thu, July 8th, 2021 8:51am

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