Archive for the '64 Years Old' Category

Sixty-Four Year Old: Alfred Lambert

 

 

Alfred retired two months before his sixty-fifth birthday. He was at home watching Good Morning America in his new blue chair when Mark Jamborets, the Midpac’s retired corporation counsel, called with the news that a sheriff in New Chartres (pronounced “Charters”), Kansas, had had himself arrested for shooting an employee of Orfic Midland. “The sheriff’s name is Bryce Halstrom,” Jamborets told Alfred. “He got a call that some roughnecks were trashing the Midpac signal wires. He went over to the siding and saw three fellow ripping down the wire, smashing signal boxes, coiling up anything copper. One of them took a county bullet in his hip before the others made Halstrom understand they were working for the Midpac. Hired for copper salvage at sixty cents a pound.”

“But that’s a good new system,” Alfred said. “It’s not three years since we upgraded the whole New Charters spur.”

“The Wroths are scrapping everything but the trunk lines,” Jamborets said. “They’re junking the Glendora cut-off! You think the Atchison, Topeka wouldn’t make a bid on that?”

“Well,” Alfred said.

“It’s a Baptist morality gone sour,” said Jamborets. “The Wroths can’t abide that we admitted any principle but the ruthless pursuit of profit. I’m telling you: they hate what they can’t comprehend. And now they’re sowing salt in the fields. Close down headquarters in St. Jude? When we’re twice the size of Arkansas Southern? They’re punishing St. Jude for being the home of the Midland Pacific. And Creel’s punishing the towns like New Chartres for being Midpac towns. He’s sowing salt in the fields of the financially unrighteous.”

“Well,” Alfred said again, his eyes drawn to his new blue chair and it delicious potential as a sleep site. “Not my concern any more.”

Jonathan Franzen, The Corrections

Published in: 64 Years Old | on January 25th, 2012 | No Comments »

Sixty-Four Year Old: Edith Abigail

 

‘Where on earth have you been, Gordon?’ she demanded as soon as he appeared in the sitting-room. She was half-heartedly knitting, with the television on, the sound turned low.

‘Walking,’ he replied briskly. ‘I reckon I walked twenty miles today.’

‘Your dinner’ll be as dry as dust.’ She rose, sticking her knitting needles into a ball of blue wool. Laughter emerged softly from the television set as a man hit another man in the stomach. She could smell the whisky even though the length of the room was between them.

‘I want to talk to you,’ he said.

‘If you’re drunk, Gordon –’

‘I am not drunk.’

‘There’s been enough drunkenness in this house.’

‘Are you talking about young Gedge?’

‘I’ve been sitting here worried sick.’

‘About me, dear?’

‘I’ve been waiting for you for six hours. What on earth I am to think? I didn’t sleep a wink last night.’

‘Sit down, my dear.’

‘I want to leave Dynmouth, Gordon. I want to leave this bungalow and everything else. I thought I’d go mad with that woman this morning.’

‘What woman’s that, dear?’

‘Oh, for heaven’s sake, what’s it matter what woman it is? You’ve never displayed the slightest interest in what I do. You’ve never asked me, not once, how anything has gone, or where I’ve been or whom I’ve seen.’

‘I’m sure I’ve asked you about your Meals on Wheels, dear. I remember distinctly – ’

‘You know perfectly well you haven’t. You’re incapable of taking an interest in me. You’re incapable of having a normal relationship with me. You marry me and you’re incapable of performing the sexual act.’

‘That’s not true.’

‘Of course it’s true.’

‘You’re sixty-four, dear. I’m sixty-five. Elderly people don’t – ’

‘We weren’t elderly in 1938.’

Her bluntness astounded him. Never in their whole married life had she spoken like that before. No matter how tedious she was in other ways, he had always assumed that it wasn’t in her nature to be coarse, and certainly she’d never displayed evidence of the inclination. Prim and proper had always been her way, and he’d appreciated her for it.

William Trevor,The Children of Dynmouth

Published in: 64 Years Old | on January 25th, 2012 | No Comments »