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Addiction - Chapter VIII

In the Green...

By Kendall Defoe Published about a month ago 4 min read
Addiction - Chapter VIII
Photo by Miguel Luis on Unsplash

I guess that this is going to be a pattern for the rest of this story. All this back and forth between then and now; all these memories of how I made it…

And that green ink…

I want to explain what it means to me. As I said, I was on my way with the railroad and the shipments. The farmers were all happy with the way things were working out. And Mr. Prescott was not angry about things going wrong or missing. I think that the business expanded after that slap in the restaurant because people just felt sorry for some poor kid trying to get ahead. The Robinsons were the most sympathetic.

“You poor kid.”

“Animal!”

Mr. and Mrs. Robinson… I still think of them today. They picked me up and assured the customer and me that Jeffords would not be anywhere near their establishment again (if they only knew). And that ice was wonderful.

“You okay, kid?”

“I think I’ll live.”

“What was that all about, anyway?” That was the husband, Devin. I wanted to tell him the whole truth, but it would have just complicated things. And I never thought that it would blow back to them the way it did…

“Just competition for a job. He did not want me around screwing things up for him. Just wants the whole railroad for himself.”

Was that really a lie? It sounded right, at least to me. And at least they believed me.

“I tell you now, that damn railroad is not the bearer of good news that people thought it would be. So much greed with these people. At least they could have given you a job…”

The wife was Nicola, and I do regret not telling her everything. But it was a strange day. I had to keep certain things to myself.

“I am working on it, ma’am.”

She smiled as I sat at the table, looking out at the darkness and thought of my plans.

“Good kid.”

*

I did not expect to really talk about them, but there are always casualties in any tale. Is that true? I felt as though I could make it with very little drama and pain in a small town, but that was not to be. When you start to make money, you begin to draw your own kind of attention. You start to see what human beings are capable of. You begin to rethink your own plans…

That green ink made me think of the decisions I had to make.

It was the kind of ink that I would use when writing up my own plans and decisions for the day. It was a comfort in a sea of black and blue pages streaked with red that quickly revealed I was no financial genius…at least, not yet.

As I said, I had the railroad job and the money was coming in. It was good money, and people liked me (some people). But what do they say about ambition? What do we all want when we have hit a peak?

Just a little bit more…

As I said, it did not take me very long to figure out how to make money off of the railroad and the shipments going down on the rail. And I was doing well…and I was attracting attention. In a moment in a small restaurant, I had my first sign that I was going to get quite a few…hard knocks (ha, ha). Leaving was not something off the table.

But there was still money to be made…

I knew that the forms were written in black and blue ink. Red ink was not used on any of the forms, and it was clear that the reason why it was not acceptable was due to the fact that it looked too aggressive in the records. No one wanted to post a loss and have it clearly visible in a ledger.

I guess you have probably figured out what I did next.

All losses were now in green.

“You are really a clever little shit, aren’t you?”

Mr. Prescott, bless his old and filthy mouth, was the one who called with his critique.

“It looks better on the page.”

“Right. A better looking loss.”

“We have to record them somehow, sir.”

“Sir?” He was laughing, trying to cover up the cough that would take his life. “Still respecting your elders, at least.”

Was there something there I should have heard?

“Okay, kid. As long as you are keeping a record somehow, keep it going. Just be careful.”

I didn’t speak, and he had to fill in the silence.

“Kid, we all know about Jeffords. Good right hand, don’t you think?”

I noticed that I still wasn’t talking.

“Speak, kid.”

“He seems…angry with me.”

“You think?” Again, that cough. “If fatness and impotence had a spokesman…”

I had to laugh now.

“Good, you have a sense of humour. Hope it helps.”

And then he hung up, leaving me in my room with a phone in my hand and thoughts in my head.

In my next order, I ordered as much green ink as possible. The suppliers wondered if I was out of my mind, but it was cheap, plentiful, and untouched by any possible competitors. Another successful way to get attention and to keep myself in the game.

But I knew that it was soon time for me to move on…

Sooner than I thought it would be.

By Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

*

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You can find more poems, stories, and articles by Kendall Defoe on my Vocal profile. I complain, argue, provoke and create...just like everybody else.

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Kendall Defoe

Teacher, reader, writer, dreamer... I am a college instructor who cannot stop letting his thoughts end up on the page.

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Comments (1)

  • Dr. Jason Benskinabout a month ago

    The intricate details and emotional depth you bring to the narrative make it incredibly engaging. Your ability to weave the past and present, along with the symbolism of the green ink, adds a compelling layer to the story.

Kendall Defoe Written by Kendall Defoe

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