Featured Fiction
// Scott Moraes

A very wise man once said, “You have to have a dream so you can get up in the morning. Without a dream, you always get up whenever hunger strikes, and after that's satisfied, you feel like lying back down.”

On most days, that was the rule for this scrawny old butler. Jobless for tax purposes, but unofficially employed by a pitiful but goodhearted man, able to spare a basement room and a few bucks off his pension. The events surrounding their first encounter and the spark of an unlikely friendship are still unclear, but all agreed there was no harm done to either of them. “An unimaginable symbiosis,” said an impartial scientist.

In recent times, this strange man refused to incur the astronomical expenses of his treatment and spend the money instead in a desperate attempt to achieve the bohemian wonderland he had missed in his youth. He had no children or close relatives: all that was his was his only. Such a realization brought him much pleasure in a multitude of forms: drugs, alcohol, books, records, and sweets. The butler felt divided about this, and he grew more and more apprehensive as days went by.

On this morning when he got up, dreamless and hungry, and started up the stairs. He felt more than ever before that time was about to run out. He felt the house was awfully quiet (he had learned how to interpret subtle signals) and concluded the worst. He felt a strange persistent chill throughout the night – perhaps that had been why. He slowly walked through the ominous rooms, taking mental pictures of all the tiny things he had grown fond of: the chess board, the tea cups, the dusty books, and tapes in which lived some of his favourite heroes, such as Chance the gardener and Mr. Stevens. He discretely appropriated a few objects that were of special value to him.

He packed and left, with a conviction that dismissed the need for evidence, and without notifying anyone else. He wanted no suspicion of neglect on his part, in virtue of his position. In fact, he felt his share of guilt for substandard attention to his master, but full attention would have prolonged the man's suffering at best – precisely the opposite of what he desired. Perhaps he had done him a favour, but the interpretations of the law are often a brutal challenge for a simple-minded old man.

He wandered about and in the afternoon he found himself in a bingo parlour – perhaps to strike another friendship, or borrow a stranger's ears for an overdue confession. He was soon taken away from his grief when from his mouth came the first victorious cry. Providence's way to make up for bad luck, he thought. From that day on, he would have a dream to get him up in the morning: he would have his own butler. He would gamble here and there, and against all odds he would rise to the top of the world.

His old master, upon arriving at home, soon took notice of the unusual state of things. He made his way down the stairs to the basement and, having found it empty, he raised an eyebrow and let out a mystified moan. He was in no mood for deliberating. He cut himself a big slice of a chocolate cake, and had it for dinner, along with a bottle of whiskey and a few cigarettes for dessert. He resented having to do it all himself, especially after a long day out.

In the evening, the butler, troubled greatly by a greasy burger and a cup of coke which hit him harder than liquor, headed straight to the only place he knew where to go. He broke into tears when he saw the man standing there, more alive than ever before. Vituperations were hurled at him, but were precisely what brought him a smile. The next morning he refused to get out of bed, and his master brought him breakfast on a tray.

//Scott Moraes, writer
//Graphics by Desiree Wallace

Enjoy it? Share this on Facebook


© 2011 The Capilano Courier. phone: 604.984.4949 fax: 604.984.1787 email: editor@capilanocourier.com