Thursday, May 25, 2006

The Half-Baked man who wouldn't listen - a short story

Eugene Steadman was a dour, staid, punctual guy. In his town, people didn't say "it's reliable as clockwork", they grew to say "it's reliable as Steadman". He liked his routine and he stuck to it.

Every morning he would come downstairs and settle himself down at the kitchen table, take his time reading through the financial news and sip on his black coffee, one sugar. After waving his kids off to school, he would pick up his briefcase at 9.27 precisely and begin the 33 minute walk to work. He would nod at the same people as he trotted by, on his way to his job as a bookeeper in the local accountancy firm. At 3pm on the dot, he would pick up his briefcase and head off home, using the same route and nodding to the same people, Truman Burbank-esque. There wasn't too much bookeeping work to be done at this small town and he could leave the same time every day.

Due to some quirk of nature, the sun was very strong in Steadman's town. Maybe there was a hole in the ozone, and his skin was especially sensitive. The right side of Eugene's face would get the sun on the way North to work, and the right side would get the sun on his way home South in the afternoon.

Over the course of a number of years, Steadman's skin started to show the effects of his walk in the sun every day. The ride side of his face became blotchy, mottled, patchy. It turned pink, red, streaks of brown. The left side of his face remained the same old pasty white Steadman color. The local kids, who never failed to be cruel when the opportunity arose, would laugh at him and threw stones at him. He accumulated many nicknames, including splotchy, half-face, the joker. But Eugene carried on walking.

His wife pleaded with him to change his routine. Eugene Jr. begged him to do something different, he was also suffering the insults in school - "splotchy junior" and "little joker" particularly inflamed him. They brought in doctors and dermatologists to explain to him the dangers involved, psychologists and psychoanalysts to examine his deep-seated need for routine and his stubborness to stick to his routine, but to no avail. He wouldn't listen. Eugene kept on walking the same route to work, every day.

Eugene passed away after 30 years of work. Those seated in the funeral parlor could only see the left-side of his face, but they all knew that the right was horrific, burnt, scarred.

Which one of us isn't Eugene?

TRK

7 Comments:

At 5/26/2006 3:51 AM, Blogger Mata Hari said...

well done. love the title.

 
At 5/26/2006 6:14 AM, Blogger Shoshana said...

Who only works from 10 to 3 every day? Nice job.

 
At 5/27/2006 11:37 PM, Blogger Shopaholic said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 5/28/2006 8:30 AM, Blogger FrumGirl said...

I'm not quite sure what you are really trying to say here... can you explain further? What is the symblolism I fail to get?

 
At 10/28/2006 10:00 PM, Blogger ***MaYBE U*** said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 10/28/2006 10:01 PM, Blogger ***MaYBE U*** said...

When faced with opinions contrary to your own, don't be scared that others may be right, and don't get too concerned with having to do thinks "your" way.

 
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