Ordeal By Cheque
Here's an interesting little thing from school. We were given four pages of copied checks and had to write a story based on them. It turned out very....well, interesting.
Ordeal by Cheque
By Cody Spann & Beverly Ferguson
“No, don’t lick that!!!!! Junior!!!”
A cacophony of squalling babies, screaming toddlers, and stressed, rattled mothers filled the Josie Ganther Baby Shoppe. Lawrence Exeter had to force a smile so that his wife wouldn’t freak out over the scene. But when he looked over at her, he found to his pleasure (and confusion) that she was wearing a disturbingly happy grin.
“Oh, I’m just so happy! Look, it’s the Super Special Neato Crib of The Future! It’s got all sorts of fun gizmos and gadgets—the most mankind has ever seen on a crib—three!!”
Lawrence sighed. She was looking up at him with those big, beautiful, pleading eyes…how could he say no? Marie was, after all, eight months pregnant and well on her way to the wonderful world of childbirth.
“Oh, all right darling…”
“Great!” She clapped her delicate little hands in glee. ‘And look!! Baby clothes!! They’re the exact shade of blue I was looking for…ohh, these are so adorable!” She had put on her high, squeaky, annoying baby voice again. Lawrence prayed that he wouldn’t have to suffer through that every day when the “oohing” over clothes was replaced by an actual baby.
They ended up spending nearly $50 at that miserable little shop. Lawrence was extremely rich, but it was still slightly annoying to spend all that money on something that was, at the moment at least, doing nothing but making his wife look fat.
The next day, as they were taking their morning stroll (or rather, waddle, on his wife’s part)—Marie’s water broke. Fortunately, there was a hospital less than a block away, so they would have been able to waddle their way to the emergency room. But even more fortunately, there was a midwife, Daisy Windsor, conveniently located next-door. She had such a good reputation that her motto was, “They’ll live to be 20 or your money back!”
Lawrence was a little worried about the baby coming this early, so gave his wife many kind words of encouragement such as, “Push! Push!” and “You go girl!” while she was in labor. This seemed to annoy her more than it comforted her. When it was finally over, he asked her, “What should we call him, honey? After all that, you can name him, what do you think it should be?”
“Just shut up and call him Lawrence Jr.,” she replied just before she passed out.
She woke up in the hospital. Because of birth complications, she was bleeding so much that Daisy had to drive her there, at the risk of getting her newly bought car stained with blood. Actually, she could get rid of the blood stains later, since she knew many tricks of the midwife trade. The hospital stopped the flow of blood and gave her and the baby vital immunizations and antibiotics. After monitoring the baby for two days to make sure that he was okay, they paid the hospital $100 and left for home. It turned out that Daisy Windsor was getting kicked out of her parent’s house because they were getting sick of her and her midwife studies, so naturally they took her in to be Lawrence Jr.’s nanny. They promised her that when the time came for her to leave, they would pay her a humongous sum if Lawrence Jr. did, in fact, live to be at least 20.
One month later, Lawrence Exeter Jr.’s birth defects were getting worse than anything Daisy could handle all by herself. They called in a real professional—Dr. David M. McCoy, the best in the business. He charged an awful lot, but it was worth it to save Little Lawrence.
For Little Lawrence’s first Christmas, his loving and concerned parents bought him lots of interesting toys to develop his mind and keep it off of how strange he was. For you see, this young boy was not like any other happy-go-lucky three-month-old. Lawrence Jr. had a very rare condition…known as Goblyndrome. He was abnormally short, and his fingers and toes were abnormally long. But his parents loved him anyway.
When Little Lawrence became Slightly Less Small Lawrence at the age of six, he was admitted into Palisade’s School for Boys. At first the other children didn’t even notice Lawrence’s…abnormalities. But alas, one fateful day the teacher read her innocent little class a frightening story about goblins, and they immediately associated Lawrence Jr. with the creepy little creatures. And so, for the remainder of his elementary school days he was teased and tormented to the point of near-insanity! But, although not quite on the sane side, Slightly Less Small Lawrence was a cunning lad, so hid this fact very well.
At the age of seven, Lawrence got his very first bicycle and learned to ride it very fast despite his oddities. His parents were very proud of him, but his grand new bike that was the exact right shade of blue inspired jealousy in the other children and made them even more hostile.
Five years later, just when he was starting to grow out of his awkwardness and hope for a better tomorrow…some of the meanest, cruelest, and fortunately weakest boys in the school said something about his mamma. The pressure finally became too much for him. He cracked. He lashed out at the bullies, letting out a howl of rage so fearsome that they were about to consider the possibility of running away. But then all the anger that had built up inside of him for years gave him superhuman strength for the ten minutes it took to teach those boys a lesson they would never forget.
He was punished, as was expected, and his parents were deeply disappointed in him. They sent him to the Columbia Military Academy when he was 12, and there he remained for the rest of his grade-school days.
When Lawrence turned 18, his father took him to Hollywood Cadillac Company and bought him a car for his birthday that was, once again, just the right shade of blue. Four days later, while Lawrence was driving his new military academy buds (he had outgrown his childhood deformity) around the taverns of Los Angeles, a freak on wheels (who had obviously been to one too many taverns that night) collided with his brand new blue Cadillac. He hesitated upon telling his parents, knowing that once again they would be disappointed in their only son, but his conscience got the better of him and he admitted his guilt. He convinced his father that it wasn’t completely his fault; the “freak on wheels” had run into Lawrence, not the other way around. So Lawrence Sr. agreed to talk the car to the Wilshire Auto Repair Service and get it fixed.
Soon it was time for Lawrence Jr. to advance in the world of education…it was time to enter into his father’s legacy and attend Stanford University. Lawrence Jr. wasn’t asking for any legacy; he was perfectly happy being normal and loved (especially by females). He had, after all, waited years to be “one of the crowd” (provided he found a crowd he actually liked, which the Military Academy gave to him).
Unfortunately, he didn’t even last a semester before he realized his true passion: France. His father, however regretful he was that his beloved son would not follow in his successful footsteps, supported his son’s decision, and paid for his three-year expedition to experience the beauty of France.
Lawrence Jr. had another passion: beautiful women. He met plenty of those while he was touring France, but none stood out more than the stunningly gorgeous, intelligent, artistic, mysterious, charming Giselle. He didn’t even know her last name; she was an enigma, and he liked it. She was a difficult one to win the affections of, but for those three years, Lawrence Jr. refused to stop courting her. Finally, when it was nearing the end of his time in France, he discovered from a close friend of Giselle’s that the way to win her love was to buy her flowers. But not just any flowers; nooo, these would have to be special, very expensive, exotic flowers from University Club Florists. He decided that to be with Giselle was the only way for him to be truly happy. So of course he sent the bills to his father back in California, which his father graciously received.
Finally, in the year 1926, he won Giselle’s heart and brought her back with him to be married in the States. But she told him that before she would agree to marry him, they would need a house. And not just any house…it would have to be nicely decorated too. So, somewhat out of habit but mostly out of lack of cash, Lawrence Jr. requested his father to pay for the house, which they bought from Riviera Heights Land Co. and decorated with Renaissance Interior Decorators (Giselle’s prime choices, of course).
Now Giselle had finally agreed to marry Lawrence. He purchased her an engagement and wedding ring, the most exquisite pieces of craftsmanship the Beverly Diamond & Gift Shoppe had to offer. Lawrence knew that they were perfect. Not only were they as lovely as Giselle, they were also very sparkly. He also paid for (or rather, his father paid for) a romantic Hawaiian Steamship Cruise for their honeymoon. Only the best would do for him and his dear Giselle. Even after all of those expenses, his father still gave him $200,000 as a wedding present.
But then, disaster struck. Lawrence went out to a bar with some of his buddies and met another woman. They were both pretty drunk, and (this is yet another reason that drinking is bad) they spent the night doing nasty things together in an expensive hotel room. Once again, Lawrence sent the bill to his father, claiming that he had just wanted to check the Ambassador Hotel out because he had heard it was good. His father, who was beginning to grow old and senile, believed him.
Sadly, it doesn’t end there. He continued to see this new woman, whose name, he later found out, was Jenny, until one night his wife caught them together and was, frankly, quite pissed. Lawrence didn’t want to lose Giselle, but he also didn’t want to lose Jenny. But apparently infidelity wasn’t a good thing, so he had to choose. Oh, decisions, decisions.
First he decided to see if he could win Giselle back. He bought her an abundance of her favorite exotic flowers from the University Club Florists, but she was still extremely upset with him. He couldn’t imagine why…
At this point his dad just gave Lawrence Jr. his checkbook, since he had mainly just been using it to pay for Lawrence’s expenses. That helped Lawrence a little bit, but he still became so depressed that he forgot about Valentine’s Day until February 18th. He ran out to a fancy chocolate store to buy Giselle a lot of chocolate, but he was still late. Then he bought some chocolate for himself, too, to help him wallow in self-pity.
Then, as if he wasn’t enough of a loser already, he tried to win Jenny back, too. He took her to the Parisian Gown Shoppe, where he bought her a few very expensive gowns. She definitely appreciated that, but was still rather shaken about that awkward scene when Giselle walked in on them. Feeling confident, Lawrence bought her lots of expensive lingerie as a present. But Jenny, who learned from her mistakes, did something very smart when he gave her the lingerie. She slapped him and moved to a house on a mountain.
Lawrence went back to wooing his wife. He took her to the same Gown Shoppe and spent even more money on her. Then he bought mountain climbing gear and new boots for himself. He told her that he was going to go mountain climbing, hoping that the fresh air would clear his mind more, and for her to please oh please consider taking him back. She did consider it a few times while he was gone. Little did she know that just as she was deciding that she’d give him one more chance (but keep him on a much shorter leash this time), he was begging Jenny to take him back. Lucky for her, she considered climbing a mountain to find her to be an act of creepiness rather than an act of love. And so ended his efforts to continue their affair.
After thinking a little more about taking Lawrence back, Giselle decided to make him see a psychiatrist. She knew of a good one named Tony Spagoni. Lawrence, realizing that this was his only chance to be with Giselle again, went to Tony for three sessions, but only had to pay for two. Tony had never had a patient with problems like Lawrence’s—the Goblyndrome, the superhuman strength, the wife, and the slightly confusing affair—it was very interesting, but since Lawrence really didn’t feel like paying for another session, Tony offered him a special Buy Two Get One Free deal. Lawrence was always eager to get anything for free, so accepted. Those sessions really did help, and sometime after them, he bought Giselle even more flowers and jewelry, still courtesy of his father’s checks.
Their marriage was going along fairly smoothly for about six months after that, but then Lawrence met up with temptation again. He noticed that on a shady corner that he frequently passed by on his nighttime walks stood some women who would have looked very nice, if it weren’t for their hoochy clothes and excessive eye makeup. He tried to resist, but, being the loser he was, yielded to temptation once again. He gave his “lady friend” from the street corner much a lot of extra money and told her not to tell anyone that he had “associated” with her. She eagerly agreed. But it just so happened that on that same night, Giselle had wanted to walk with Lawrence, but had started walking after he had. She was just about to catch up with him when she saw him with go into the sleazy-looking building on the corner with the…ahem…overly-friendly business lady. She walked home in shock and prepared to confront Lawrence when he got home.
When he got there, Giselle wasn’t quite sure what to say. She inspected some of his clothing, and sure enough, she found makeup in some very odd places.
“Where did this come from?!” she demanded, already knowing the answer.
“Oh…eh-heh…yes, well that…um…” it took a while for her to get Lawrence to admit that he had been with Flossie. What a name.
“I knew it! I never should have trusted you!”
“Wait, please, let me explain…”
“Explain?! Screw this, I want a divorce!”
So she got herself a divorce. Lawrence hired expensive lawyers from Wall & Smith Attorneys at Law, but in the end, good triumphed over evil and Giselle won a $5,000 settlement. After that, she walked out of his life forever.
Feeling dejected and depressed, Lawrence drank some beer to dull his pain, then drove to Reno, where he was fined $52 for being caught drinking while somewhat drunk. Lawrence Sr. tried to think of a way to help his son. At first, he thought that he’d do something for Lawrence Jr. sometime after his wife’s birthday. It soon became clear that he was having a worse time than the father had hoped. So, he gave his wife a check for $175,00 so she could buy whatever fancy thing she wanted for her birthday. She was delighted, and allowed him to leave for Reno to find and help their son.
When he found Lawrence Jr., he asked what might make him feel better. Lawrence Jr. decided that he wanted a new car. His Cadillac was now 11 years old. But they didn’t go to the Cadillac Company or any other nice, expensive place. Lawrence Jr. took his dad to Walker & Walker—an unsuccessful car company that was having a going-out-of-business sale. According to Jr., his life was falling apart, so he wanted a car that was falling apart. That was about the same time that Lawrence Sr. started to consider sending Jr. back to that psychiatrist. But he bought him a cheap car anyway.
Ten days later, the car broke. It turned out that there was a problem with the radiator, causing it to blow up unexpectedly. This car was starting to fall apart a little more than either Lawrence wanted it to. So they sued Walker & Walker for selling them such an inferior product. Walker & Walker were very good at cheating and lying, but Wall & Smith turned out to be too much for them. Lawrence Jr. and Sr. won the case and got a nice amount of money from the shoddy company. They spent some of that money on sending Lawrence back to see Tony Spagoni again.
One thing that Tony suggested was that Lawrence Jr. listen to music more often. His rich friend Peter Ventizzi owned a few radios, and when Lawrence offered to pay him $25 for one, he couldn’t refuse. This was his friend, after all.
Then disaster struck. Again. While Lawrence Jr. was improperly lifting the huge radio, he did some serious damage to his back. While at the Hollywood Hospital, he was given lots of painkillers. Ironically, he had an allergic reaction to one of the pain killers and soon died because of it. His parents got Dr. David McCoy, who had helped bring Lawrence into this world, to try to save him, but to no avail. On July 16, 1931, 28-year-old Lawrence Exeter Jr. was buried on very short notice at the Hollywood Mortuary.
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