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THE HISTORIAN

PencilpageShe held her ledgers closely, as if protecting their contents from prying eyes. But how can history stay hidden? She wanted the world to learn what life had been before the conflagration. But she had forgotten one important fact. A far as she knew, she was the only survivor.

They had called her “Historian”. That was a name that carried great import. And since the Great Truth Purge, Reconstruction history was punishable by death. Little did that matter now, but the Historian held ethics in high regard.

She had a sudden pain in her head, a stirring of thought in the guise of a memory. It needed to be recorded. She went to the case mounted on the wall. Sliding the glass panel to the left she exposed the object of her office. It was a primitive instrument unearthed in the battle. She held it in as much reverence as the ledger clutched to her chest. She had found mention of it in the earliest pages. It was referred to as a “pencil”.

She handled it gingerly; the tip of the nib was fragile. She knew that once it had deteriorated beyond usefulness, all history would cease. She was frugal with her words. She was not ready to die.

GIVE A DAMN!

“…if Bonnie Blue could weather the storm of war to remain standing, then Scarlett and Rhett could find the ground upon which to rebuilt their foundation!”

Rhett Butler had left Tara. He was fed up with all that the South had become. Atlanta lays in ruin, and it seems the heart of Georgia had ceased to beat. But Rhett had come to the point where he just didn’t care any longer. He worried about getting through the rest of the day. Tomorrow had to care for itself for a while.

The smoke was affecting his breathing, and his cough had turned raspy and painful. Rhett Butler had gone a mile down the road before he even turned back toward the plantation. He did indeed love Scarlett O’Hara. He just didn’t know why the lady needed to be so headstrong and confident.

He walked on down the trail passing hulled out houses and shacks unfit for habitation. He saw the servants and house staff of one of the mansions standing outside of its smoldering shell, not knowing what to do, or more correctly, where to go. They didn’t want to suffer the fate of their escaped brethren in lieu of these circumstances.

Along the way he stopped in his tracks. Rhett had come to stand at the gate of the cemetery where he and Scarlett had buried their daughter, Bonnie Blue. The wall was crumbled and many of the headstones were flattened to the ground. But one stood above the rest. Bonnie’s marker was crooked, but still upright.

Rhett thought that this was a sign from beyond the grave; Bonnie Blue was speaking to him. He figured it said that if Bonnie Blue could weather the storm of war to remain standing, then Scarlett and Rhett could find the ground upon which to rebuilt their foundation and re-establish Tara.

Scarlett at upon the top step of her grand staircase when she heard the strong rapping on the door. She rushed down the steps to the bottom and then stopped to compose herself. She discerned the shadow at the door through the glass. Scarlett knew it was Rhett.

“Who is it?” She called coyly.

“You know damn well who it is! Scarlett, open the door!”

“Why should I open the door when you were ready to leave me on my own?” Scarlett demanded an answer. “Maybe I’ll feel differently tomorrow. Come back then!”

“But Scarlett, I love you! Why not let me in now?” Rhett reasoned.

“Because tomorrow… is another day! You say you love me, but right at the moment, I don’t give a damn!” she finalized.

“Damn, damn, damn!” she heard Rhett mutter as his footsteps faded down the cobblestone.

FLAT FOR RENT

“Shut up, and deal!”

The time had come.

After the first few years as newlyweds, still trying to climb the ladder of success, C.C. “Bud” Baxter had come to a crossroads. His plan to become a captain of industry as a Chief Executive, had fallen flat. He jumped from job to job, but apparently his “reputation” had followed him everywhere. His only conclusion was this: Jeff Sheldrake labeled C.C. as a insubordinate malcontent for refusing to allow the officers of the Insurance company the use of his flat. Sheldrake was a son-of-a-bitch!

Baxter guesses he always had been and would remain so. Those years at the “company” had been rife with bad decisions on his part. Bud’s ambition had blurred his vision at a great cost. Sure, the upper echelon loved the Junior Executive for the use of his apartment for their extra-marital trysts. But that whole episode between Sheldrake and the then elevator operator, Fran Kubelick, opened Baxter’s eyes in a big way.

Fran Kubelick. She had her ups and downs from the start, but that was expected, running the express elevator to the executive suites. The now Supervisor (since she had gotten Sheldrake fired in a sexual-harassment suit), she was finally reaping her reward in her quest to reach the top of her profession.

But, in Fran’s role as Mrs. “Bud” Baxter, she realized she wanted so much more than a crowded elevator and cigar smoke. She suspected both to be the cause for her stomach fluttering in the past few weeks. Maybe it was time to dive head first into the secretarial pool, and escape the motion sickness and rancid Arturo Fuente smoke. She had commented to C.C. that the mornings were the worst, sickness wise!

Up the three flights of steps to their apartment, Fran had felt nauseous. She wouldn’t make it to their door. Fortunately for the former Miss Kubelick, Dr. Dreyfus was leaving for his office and helped Fran to her door.
He sat her on the divan and gave her something for her upset stomach. Baxter came home moments later.

“Doc, what’s the matter?” C.C. inquired.

“As if you didn’t know, Mr. Goodtime Charley!” Dreyfus responded with a smile. “Look at your wife. She’s been sick for the past few mornings. Her middle is expanding! What do you think, Genius?”

“I…uh, uh… think…I uh… we… we’re going to be up to our elbows in responsibility…baby-wise?” Baxter had gasped out just as he fainted.

Fran rushed to her husband’s aid, just as the contents of her gut came spewing forth, soiling his suit and tie. Dreyfus broke an ampule of smelling salts to rouse Baxter back to consciousness. He looked Fran weakly in the eyes.

“That means we need a bigger apartment, size-wise, doesn’t it?” Bud wondered aloud.

Fran Kubelick-Baxter smiled her quirky smile at her husband.

“Shut up, and deal!”

 

Photo and characters from the five time Academy Award winning (including 1960 Best Picture) movie “The Apartment” starring Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine.