No Celery Please – NYC Edition!

Smith Smith Smith

Posted in Uncategorized by noceleryplease on August 30, 2007

These past few months, attempting to write made up things has been nigh impossible for me. The ideas, they are not flowing, or even trickling. I suppose the only way to get through it is to just keep throwing stuff at the wall untill I get back to the point where some of it sticks. I appreciate these Wordsmiths challenges for forcing me to write something when I would most likely otherwise just throw up my hands in defeat.

In that spirit…


“Hey! Mister Harland!”

The man and his horse turned to regard Timmy.

“I almost forgot, Mister Harland. My mom said to ask you for a pound of butter, some cream and two bottles of milk. My Aunt’s coming today. My mom said she’us well-heeled and we better have real butter and cream. I don’t know what her heels have to do with butter, but I’m glad we’re gonna have it. You know we never get butter, Mister Harland, we always have the oleo, but Mom said to have real butter today. I’ve never seen my cousin Edward. I hope he plays baseball. Do you think he’ll play? They’re from the city. My Mom says they have to move here now. I heard my Mom say my Uncle took a dive and they have to leave the city, but I don’t know what that means. My Uncle isn’t coming, though. I asked why, but my Mom told me it wasn’t my business. But you got the butter, right?”

Mister Harland nodded wearily. This job made him tired; getting up early to do the rounds made him tired; but more than anything, having to listen to little Timmy McNeil’s prattle made him tired.

“Yeah, kid, I got it. Why don’t you go play?”

“Okay, Mister Harland. I was heading out to the field to see if any of the guys were out yet, but I had to make sure I told you about the butter. I think Billy should be out by now and maybe Jack too. I’m gonna tell them about Edward. My mom said he’s effete. I hope that means he can play ball good. I saw a picture of him once. He was wearin’ a tie. I’ve never worn a tie. Have you ever worn a tie, Mister Harland?”

“Yeah kid, at my wedding… Now scoot, I got deliveries to make.”

For a wonder, the boy did scoot, and left Harland alone in peace with just Daisy. The horse was good company. For one thing, she didn’t talk to him.

Harland gathered up the new order. Timmy’s prattle aside, he knew from common gossip on the street that the sister was coming to town. People tell the milk man everything, no matter how little he cares to hear.

The rich sister had lost everything when her husband went bankrupt on a bad investment and jumped out a window. Her and the kid had to come down and live with the McNeils, and wasn’t Mrs. McNeil going to guilt her by putting on butter and cream she couldn’t afford to show her sister that she’d be a beggar in the house.

No matter how much time he spent delivering on this street, the pettiness of people never ceased to amaze him.

Coming back from the door, he looked at Daisy for a moment, silently wishing he could trade places with the horse.

He grabbed her bridle and started to walk up to the next block.

“Come on, girl, let’s go”


2 Responses to 'Smith Smith Smith'

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  1. Joe said,

    A nice comparison between the world as viewed froma child and as viewed from a tired (bitter?) blue collar worker.

    The two POV’s are completely opposite. One is filled with wonder and optimish. The second is pessimistic and grumpy. The reality probably being somehwere in the middle.

    The milkman will be forced to continue on living in his own personal hell of delivering milk to these people because he seems resigned to it. The child will be continue to be happy and oblivious to any cruel reality.

    I love the fact that the mother uses the word ‘effete’ but is too poor to buy butter on a regular basis. Maybe it was a more common word in the milk delivery days. I had to look it up and I’m going to start using it. The fact that the mother uses fancy words but will only buy butter when her down-on-her-luck sister comes to town shows me that maybe the delivery man’s POV is more correct.

  2. Biff Spiffy said,

    Well done! I love how you captured 4 personalities in so few words. Plus, you nailed the boy’s chatter in a way that made me interested at first and squirming by the middle.

    I like your writing.

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