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The Final Days of Jonathan Grant

by David Perry 2 months ago in Short Story
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A New Start

The Final Days of Jonathan Grant

By David E. Perry

The funeral of Jonathan Grant went unnoticed. The casket remained closed. It sat there in an empty field with no one around. No flowers where displayed. Nobody gave a eulogy. Nobody mourned over the loss of a loved one. Nobody said a few words. Nobody shed a single tear. Nobody realized when three people stepped out of a black Rolls Royce.

The first was a genuinely nice lady, mid-forties, named Molly. She was assisted by Oliver Grey, a younger man in his upper-20s. Edward Davis stepped last. He walked with a limp holding a cane. He also was in his upper-20s. The three, dressed in all black walked slowly to the casket. The driver, also dressed in black, was a man named Arnold Sinclair. He stepped out of the car but did not walk with them.

Molly appeared to care for Jonathan but didn’t shed a single tear. Edward seemed to smile, as if he was happy Jonathan died. Nobody realized him give a slight chuckle as they turned and walked away. Nobody realized him say, “That chapter of my life is over now. Just get that thing in the ground. The sooner the better.” It seemed as if Edward was the one who killed him. But nobody realized it.

Nobody realized that there was no body. “That thing,” This closed casket was empty. All except some rocks to add weight. Nobody realized that Jonathan Grant was not really dead. The truth of the matter is that I am Jonathan Grant. I am also Edward Davis. The story of Edward Davis starts where that of Jonathan Grants end. Let me tell you how it all started.

I was born Timothy Jonathan Grant. My father, Andre Grant died when I was 8 years old. He left us a great deal of debt. My mother was forced to get a job cooking for an older lady name Elizabeth Davis and her 25-year-old daughter, Mary. Ms. Grant treated me like I was her grandson. Mary on the other hand, tolerated me being around.

I was a good child. I never was a thief. Even the food I helped my mother prepare, I asked before I ate. I even learned how to do other odds and ends around the house. Even at that early age, I became a fix-it man.

My mother died only 1 year on the Job. She was hit by a car on her way home from work. At the time, Ms. Davis was too sick to take care of a child and Mary just didn’t want to. I was placed in the custody of Southampton Home for Boys. The home was run by Satan himself in the form of a man name Guttler Moft. Standing nearly seven feet tall, weighing about 400 pounds, he struck fear in every child. He had a backhand slap that could knock an elephant through a brick wall. He had a deep voice that could enact all five senses at the same time. If he felt that you stepped out of line, the whole town would know. I made it my goal to escape as quick as I could.

For the next 8 years, I bounced around from one orphanage to another. It seemed like each one was worse than the one before. I learned early in life how to do two things. I learned how to get away from any situation I did not want to be in. And I learned how to survive on the streets without stealing. I would work here and there to get food for a day or two. I’d sleep wherever I could. I’d sleep in a lion’s den before going back to Mr. Moft or anyone like him.

I found myself one day back in Southampton. In the middle of the night, I went to the home of Elizbeth Davis. I didn’t want to bother them, so I slept in the stables. My plan was to be out by morning, but Mary found me. As it turned out, she did have a small amount of compassion in her after all. She let me sleep in the house as long as I didn’t wake her mother.

The next day, Ms. Davis gave me a job doing odd jobs around the house. An old shed in the back was converted into a small house. It had everything I needed. A kitchen, a bedroom, and a bathroom. I spent the next two years gaining their trust. I even became Ms. Davis official driver.

The moment tickets became available for the Titanic, she wasted no time getting one for her and her daughter. They would be gone for a little over two months. As a gift, she gave me $150. She figured that would get me anything I needed during the time they were gone. While I had Ms. Davis’ trust, I still haven’t won that of Mary’s. Therefore, I was not allowed in the main house while they were gone. I figured it was time for me to make ways.

A few days before they shipped out, I stopped in to give my good-byes. I was greeted at the door by Mary in tears. Ms. Davis had died that very day. This was painful. She was the closest thing I had to a mother since I was nine years old. Mary handed me a small box and said, “She wanted you to have this.” Then she walked away.

Inside the box was the keys to the Rolls Royce and a letter. The letter read:

My dear Jonathan:

I got to know your mother well, before she died. She was a good and decent woman, raising a good and decent child. I’m sorry I couldn't take you in when you were so young. My health just wouldn’t allow it. I did hear of that horrible Guttler Moft and the way he treated children. I was happy that you got away from there. I would have taken you in then, but I didn’t know where you had gone. I’m just happy we were reunited after all this time. You’ve become the son I never had. More of a son than just a worker.

I fear now that I won’t be here much longer. I’ve been dealing with more and more health problems than ever before. The doctors can’t tell me what’s wrong. The worst thing is, that I won’t be able to help you anymore. You’re going to have to take care of yourself from now on. You’re good at that. I feel this would help. It’s yours now.

She knew that she was sick and would not be able to care for me much longer. She figured I could get a job as a driver for someone else. If I owned my own car, I’d get paid more. She even gave the names and addresses of people currently looking for a driver. Although I was sad that the woman was dead, this was a great fresh start for me. Then something better came along.

Before I could finish looking through the letter, Mary came back. She handed me two First Class tickets for the Titanic. “I don’t even want to go now” She said, “take them. Sell them. Do whatever you want.”

My first thoughts where how much money I could get for them. Then that changed right away. I had $150 and two first class tickets. I needed to buy some clothes. I need something that would make me look like I held a First-Class Ticket. I needed to be treated like someone who held a First-Class Ticket. I now owned a car. I needed to be chauffeured like someone who held a First-Class Ticket.

My best friend, really my only friend, was named Oliver Grey. He used to help me escape from Mr. Moft. The ideal of a fresh start in America appealed to him. The ideal of being on the Titanic appealed even more. He agreed to be my chauffeur for the trip in exchange for the other ticket.

Getting onto the ship was nothing impressive. However, once we passed through the doors into the interior of the ship we were forced to stop and admire the beauty of the Grand Staircase. It was as if we were no longer aboard a ship but in a hotel that we could not afford to work in, let known stay in.

When we gained movement back in our legs, we went to our cabins. Someone stopped Oliver to escort him to, “Where the servants stay,” but I had to step in and speak. “My FRIEND! Has a First-Class ticket and you will treat him as such. Do I make myself clear?” That was our first taste of upper-class snoddiness. It would not be our last.

At dinner, some of the well-to-do’s called me over for a chat. “What’s your name young man? I haven’t seen you before.”

“My name is Johnathan Grant the 2nd. You may call me Mr. Grant.”

“Well, Mr. Grant. My friends and I were discussing how we make our money. How do you make yours?”

“I inherited it. My uncle in the Americas was into steel and coal. He is no longer with us. He had no children and now I own it all.”

“Good for you.”

It was not a total lie. My uncle did at one time work in a coal mine. He helped build the steal tracks they need. He died before I was born. My father worked to pay off his debt. My mother worked to pay off my fathers. If I would have stayed, I’m sure, her debt would have been charged to me.

“My dear Mr. Grant, you must be the only one I ever seen that gets his servant a First-Class ticket.”

“Mr. Grey is a dear friend of mine.”

“You’re the only one I ever met that befriends his servant.”

“You must be the rudest buffoon I’ve ever met.”

“Yes! I get it. New Money. The working man who happens to come across some money and now believes he fit into this world. How pathetic!”

“So true. But not as sad as the fool who lives off his daddy’s money. The idiot who never worked a day in his life. When daddy’s money run out, where will you stand. Oh, that’s right. Working for me!”

On saying the word “daddy” I made sure to make his childishness seen. I said it in such a way to knock him down a few pegs on the social ladder. I made sure to make myself and any “my people” seem better than him. I think it made him a bit angry. Good. I wanted it to.

I walked away and they all laughed at me. I did my best to make sure they did not see my anger.

“Oliver.” I said, “Don’t pay any attention to them.”

At this moment, a group of ladies signaled us to come sit near them. The main one was name Molly. She was a very kindhearted lady. She said she understood “New Money” because it fit her as well. She grew up poor. So did her husband. He happened to come across his money.

Molly was the type of person that would give someone the shirt off her back. She remembers what it was like to be poor, to struggle to make ends meet. She wanted everybody to be happy and she was not afraid to give someone a piece of her mind if they stood in the way of happiness.

“Hello my friends.” She said, “That there is Jeffery Knolls. His great grandfather made it big in the California Gold Rush. Neither him nor his father worked a day in their lives. So, he is a bit of a snob. He believes he own the world. His father’s not like that. Don’t know what happened with him. But you did good. You’re ok with us.”

At this point I knew I had another friend in the world. I needed another friend. Jeffery Knolls became quite the bully after that. The kind of childish behavior left behind in my school days. Some people never grow up.

Things really got bad shortly after this. He was ease-dropping on a conversation between Molly and me. I told her how I got the tickets. At this he said, “I knew it. I saw it the moment you walked in here. Go back to Third-Class where you belong.” He tried to make me feel as “Third-Class” as possible.

For example, the next day, April 11th, I ordered smoked salmon and omelets for breakfast. First-Class guest gets this made to order. Jeffery convinced the kitchen to serve me smoked herring, a Third-Class meal. It was precooked and cold. However, it was delicious. What Jeffery didn’t know was that I do not like salmon. I ordered it because that’s what everyone else was ordering. The fact that I enjoyed it made him laugh. The fact that I wasn’t upset made him mad.

After seeing what I was eating, Molly and Oliver asked for the same thing. Also, a man name Astor, millionaire, big money, enjoyed what we were eating. Astor left Jeffery’s table and came to ours. There was another First-Class person eating at our table. This pushed him over the edge.

Over the next few days Jeffery would continue to try to make me feel as low as possible. However, each time it would backfire. Each time one of the people from his table would come join ours. In the end it was just him and two other snobs like him. We were all having fun while they were suffering being angry for nothing.

This story, however, is not about life aboard the Titanic. I’m not trying to tell you how the poor guy took the rich guys girlfriend and became king and queen of the whole world. Jeffery did try to frame me for theft but too many people saw him put the jewelry in my jacket pocket. But that’s not what this story is about. This story is about the death of Jonathan Grant.

Late on April 14th, my new found friends were going to hang out on the deck. Just do a little star gazing. The sky was dark due to no moon, but the stars were great. People don’t often get a chance to view the stars.

I first went to my room to get another jacket. The night air was pretty chilly. Jeffery thought this would be an ideal time for one of his pranks. When I tried to leave the room, I found that I was locked inside. Jeffery was able to obtain a key to my room. He managed to lock my door and break the key inside the lock. I was stuck. I tried to call room service but the moment they picked up the phone it seemed like the whole ship jolted, followed by a loud scraping sound.

They were able to say the words, “Room Service” and then “What the heck was that?” After that they hung up. I called back but got no answer. I must of called back 5 or 6 times before they answered. “How may we help you Mr. Grant?”

“My lock is broken. I can’t get out. Can someone please come help?”

“We’ll get someone there soon for you. Anything else I can do for you?”

“No. That will be all for now. Wait! What was that loud noise?”

“Nothing to worry about. Everything’s under control.”

I could tell that they were lying but I didn’t know how bad it was. It didn’t take to long to find out that the “Unsinkable Titanic” was sinking. This became obvious when the angle of my room slowly changed. I waited for a long time, expecting someone to open my door. But no one came.

After about 35 or 40 minutes, Molly came banging on my door. “We’re sinking. We’re sinking. Come out.”

“I can’t! Jeffery broke my lock. I’m stuck.”

She went to get something to break the door down, but she was urged to get to the life boats.

Eventually, Oliver and Astor were able to get me out. “That friend of yours,” said Oliver, “Jeffery, made sure he was on the first like boat.”

“Figures. That’s the type of slime he is.”

“If we survive this,” said Astor, “We’ll get him for attempted murder.”

By this time the tilt of the ship was severe. It was hard to get to the life boats. As we tried our best, I heard a call for help from down the hall. It was Heather, Jeffery’s Ex, My new girlfriend.

“You two get to the life boats, I’ll help her.”

Heather’s shirt was caught on hook that was part of the deco on the wall. I was able to free her and pushed her ahead of me. “Get to the life boats. I’ll be right behind you.”

As soon as I helped her, I noticed someone else that needed my help. Then another and another. It went on like this for about an hour or so. The longer it took to get to the life boats, the harder it got. The tilt of the boat got worse. Soon, the water was washing on to the deck. The ship seemed to stand almost vertically. Despite my hardest effort, I could climb no more. I fell. The last thing I remember was hitting my leg on something. This was the first time that I blacked out. I just knew I was dead.

But Jonathan Grant was still alive. I awoke floating in the water on a large armoire. To this day, I still don’t know how I got there. I was some how floating a little ways apart from the other people in the water. I saw the life boats searching for people. I could barely hear them call out, “Is anyone a live here.”

“I’m here.” I called. But they could not hear me. My voice was not strong enough. I tried to jump into the water and swim but the pain in my leg was too great. I screamed. Then I felt the bump. I was being pushed by a whale. Falling into the water was not fun. With great agony, I pulled myself back onto my personal life raft. As I laid back and caught my breath, I felt myself blacking out again.

I don’t know how long I was out. I’m sure it was at least a day. As I awaken, I was being pulled ashore by a group of fishermen in Newfoundland. They figured by the look of the armoire that I was a survivor of the Titanic.

“Sir. What’s your name?”

I was unable to answer. My throat was dry. I could not speak. I kept falling in and out of consciousness.

When I came to, I was in a hospital. My leg was bandaged up and I was given something to eat and drink. I had no form of I.D. on me, my wallet must have fallen into the water. I was told that 2 name tags were found inside the armoire. The first was “Davis” and the second was “Edward”. They wanted to know which one was me.

I was just about to tell him my name, but I stopped. I wanted a new start in life. A new name would be great also. “Edward Davis,” I said, “My name is Edward Davis.”

In reality, there was no Edward Davis. Edward and Davis were two brothers. Edward and Davis Knight. I met them. They were good people. They were not part of my circle of friends, but they were nice. I later learned that they went down with the ship. They will be missed.

When I left the hospital, I was told I’d be on a cane for the rest of my life. That was depressing. However, when “my” items found in the armoire was returned to me, there were over $300,000 in cash and gold. Now I was happy. My new start was given, and Jonathan Grant was coming to an end.

It didn’t take long for me to find my good friend Molly. She told me how she fought to get the life boats to go back and look for me. She even threatened the man that if he didn’t go back, she’ll throw him in the water. The life boats were only half full and there were plenty of people in the water. She gained the name Unsinkable since she would not give up. She was happy to see me alive.

Oliver was working for her. He ran out to hug me. He told me that they already had my funeral planned. This could not have been better. We had to do away with Jonathan Grant anyway.

It was my ideal to put the article in the newspaper that the body was found. I made sure that anyone who would care about Jonathan was in on the whole thing. With no family, who would there be to check on it. Who would ever care?

Molly provided the car. I was eager to get started with my new life. I had quickly made friends with Astor’s family. Both Molly and the Astor’s were able to help me start my own business. I was now into steel.

Anyway, after the funeral, I learned a few interesting facts. One person did mourn over the death of Jonathan. A sweet lady named Mary Davis. She was shocked to get a visit of the wealthy young man who shares her last name. She hugged me long and hard. She then gave me a set of keys and a car that was left outside the docks of the Titanic.

“My mother did say it was yours now.”, she said, “I heard that you had boarded the ship. Then I heard that it crashed. I felt I was the blame if anything happened to you.”

I told her that she was the blame of giving my a new start and nothing else.

Once again, I had my own car. Oliver did continue to work for me, but at the office not as my driver. My driver came from another source.

As it turned out, a man named Robert Knoll had a fight with his son. His son tried to take over the family business, believing that his father was old and weak. Robert had him thrown out and completely cut off from his money. He was not allowed back until he learned what it was like not to have anything.

With no money and no place to rest his head, Jeffery was forced to get a job. Can you imagine the look of his face when he saw the face of Edward Davis, his new boss with Heather Davis his wife? All I could do was laugh.

Short Story

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David Perry

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