All Stories, General Fiction

Scoundrel Through the Ages by Dan Shpyra

I. Scoundrel

It is common knowledge that a man of high status but of the lowest of incomes is in need of a wife with a hefty dowry. Edgar Brown was no exception to the rule.

Mr. Brown was pacing the parlor, anxiously checking the time on his golden watch. It was one out of two fortunes left to him by his late father, William Brown: An aristocrat with a pitiful love of horse racing. It was not, however, the fortune of the watch, but rather the fortune of his looks, that got him this most desirable appointment. He was handsome, indeed: A tall young man with broad shoulders and luxuriant dark hair. Those two gifts, the golden timepiece and his pleasant looks, often brought him numerous acquaintances with the most agreeable young ladies. Mr. Brown was agitated nonetheless, for this time, the match was not to merely secure his evening but his future in its entirety.

“Mr. Brown, how lovely of you to visit us this afternoon!” A plump lady in her late twenties strolled into the room.

“My dear Mary! How grateful I am to see you again.” Edgar bowed to kiss her ladyship`s extended hand. It brought him no pleasure in doing so, but he learnt a trick: Instead of placing his lips upon her fingers, Mr. Brown reached for the jewels from her rings.

“Papa and mama will be so delighted to meet you,” said she, “and I am sure they are on their way right this moment,” she giggled excitedly, squinting her beady eyes.

II. Bastard

“I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss the bride!” An old man in the black cassock sparked a million thoughts in Edgar`s head: Is it worth it? Is it a mistake? Why was he there? There was no answer.

If only he could go back in time, he would have prevented such a destiny. Or would he? There was no way of knowing. Like his old man used to say: “Horses are unpredictable, let alone people.” William, Edgar`s father, was known for his poor luck in betting; perhaps, this time, it was Edgar who betted poorly.

He thought of the night he met Mary, nothing but a smirk he directed towards her until he learnt of her father: An owner of the three mines up in Northumberland, Rolls-Royce shares, and a significant sum in C. Hoare & Co. Did money make her look prettier that night or the amount of alcohol consumed by Edgar?

Disturbing silence hung in the air. He looked around the church: A couple of dozens of people were staring at him with their eyes wide open. Edgar turned to his left: A pair of red lips was directed at him. He swallowed quietly and continued his role in this show. The crowd burst into a roaring ovation.

On his way down the aisle, with his feeble smile on, Edgar spotted a little spark of gold. It was not the spark of diamond on his mother-in-law, neither was it the golden teeth of his grandaunt. That was it. The watch was given to him by his father, that had been sitting nicely on Alison`s wrist for the past nine months. His heart dropped. Why did she come?

III. Jerk

“Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck… Fuck!” Mary was walking to and fro their living room, hyperventilating.

Edgar did not want to move his ass from the couch. Those kinds of hysterics were not uncommon in their household. Perhaps, some Instagram celebrity forgot to post her daily quote, or Mary`s manicurist canceled her appointment. She used to cool down within ten minutes, but this time it continued for a while.

“Shit,” he murmured, “are you ok?” He finally got up from the couch. It wasn’t easy; years of a pampered lifestyle started to show beneath his shirt. Who would’ve thought that this guy ran a marathon ten years ago?

“What`s going on?”

“It’s daddy…he…was jailed. My mom just called me. All our assets are frozen! My cards, my line of credit, even the house-” She was gulping the air, imitating a folding fan with her hand.

“Jesus Christ.” Edgar embraced her, placing Mary`s head on his chest.

He was staring blankly at the window while his wife was sobbing about the money they lost and how grateful she was that at least Edgar was still with her. He was not the one to share the latter. Edgar looked at his Rolex watch behind Mary`s back. Three o`clock. It had been seventeen hours since Alison gave it back to him. It had been seventeen hours since his obedient little girl left him and seventeen seconds since his money left him too. He was about to turn forty the next morning. Happy fucking birthday!

Dan Shpyra

Image by diegom from Pixabay  – Close up of an old Rolex gold wrist watch showing the name.

12 thoughts on “Scoundrel Through the Ages by Dan Shpyra”

  1. Dan
    Great work and a much needed dose of comic relief. The Cad used to be classy though immoral. Alec Guinness was especially good in the role of the roue. But real life bottom feeder blackguards, such as Joey Buttafuocuo (someone to chum the google waters) have disgraced the disgraceful.
    Well done

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Dan,
    This did make me smile and it is very different.
    It takes a set of balls to start writing from a times gone by perspective and style and bring it forward to modern times within the same story. Now that was clever!
    There was a bit of skill her infusing not so much into the story but the feel of it.
    I really did like how unique this is, I (Maybe only me!) have never read anything done this way before.
    This is as good a first offering as we have ever had.
    All the very best my fine friend.


  3. I like the way it comes around. She loses the money. He loses his looks. But shows she had something greater than money for him. She cared about him, though he didn’t deserve it.


  4. I like how it comes around to him losing his looks; her—her money. But in the end, I don’t think he could appreciate that she had something real for him.


  5. I liked the way it all came back in the ending. His looks fade, her money freezes. Yet, she’s able to give him more than he deserves.


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