Down For The Count

Started by Blair Blankenship at Apr 04, 2020 11:54 PM
March 15, 1924
325 Views
21 Posts

Morris Lundigan

16
?Years Young
3 Posts

Go ahead and snap the picture.  I don't have a bad side.


"Iced tea would go down well, yes," the older man nodded and the trio now headed to secure a table.

"Before Prohibition, this place served proper drinks...you know what I mean. But when you are on that cruise liner, you should know that they serve alcohol once out on the ocean. That should make the whole voyage even more fun," Warden allowed himself a smile.

They moved to an adjacent table surrounded by comfy, white wicker chairs and, after they each took a chair, Blair said, "The way we're seated, North, South, East and West, we could play some Bridge.  Ah . well that could be good or bad luck for us.  A friend of mine, Jack Thayer, who survived the Titanic, told me that Jacob Astor did nothing aboard that ship prior to it hitting that iceberg was play Bridge, non-stop, except to dine."

Morrie knew Jack Thayer, a young man in his twenties now.  He thought him devastatingly handsome and came to the conclusion that God found a way to protect the young man in the frigid water, if only to save him for the world to admire.  Astor, not so lucky.

An attendant glided past them and Morrie's arm shot upward and snapped his fingers.

"Iced teas all around," he ordered, and the prissy bellboy went off on his errand.

"So what do you make of the Canal Swing Bridge?" Morrie began.  "My old man is in 7th Heaven about it because it cuts down his transportation time and costs.  Of course Mother thinks it's an architectural eye sore.

The Tamiami Canal Swing Bridge was one of the first of several such bridges.  Ohio's Champion Bridge Company, along with the Austin Brothers Company in Atlanta, took the lead in building the swing spans.  But all that meant was that Lundigan Trucking and Distribution was able to wrangle sub-contracts and fatten their own wallets. Also,  in the land boom of the 20's, they were able to pay local officials to turn a blind eye to the cost overruns.

Blair, wanting to feel a part of their cabal, pulled out his silver cigarette case and offered it to his companions. 

 


The Narrator

Storyteller
180
?Years Young
17 Posts

The trio seated themselves and then Warden listened as Morrie's friend, Blair it was, proceeded to tell about someone he knew who actually survived the sinking of the Titanic. Interesting.

"The Titanic eh, well hardly a pleasant topic, young fellow, given I have just gifted Morrie here with two tickets on a cruise ship but don't worry yourself, there is no ice bergs out there on the way to Cuba," Warden pointed out dryly.

Morrie flagged down one of the waiters and ordered their iced teas, all that remained was to chat and wait. Warden was no hurry anyhow. Morrie also had a new topic.

"So what do you make of the Canal Swing Bridge?" Morrie began.  "My old man is in 7th Heaven about it because it cuts down his transportation time and costs.  Of course Mother thinks it's an architectural eye sore."

"Any bridge is another step toward progress I say. And women would think that, they are too ruled by emotion, no real appreciation for business, profit, loss. They might vote now but, mark my word, they will never run any business empires," Warden huffed.

"Miami is growing fast though and the future is for young men like yourselves. Take advantage of it, I say," he added, confident that the sage advice he was giving them was pure gold indeed.

 

 


Blair Blankenship

16
?Years Young
7 Posts

"If I'd known that this is the way it'd all turn out, I never would have kissed my father goodbye."


Blair relaxed among the type of people he was raised around.  This Warden fellow reminded him quite forcefully of his own, late father.  There was the same stuffy confidence and the underlying greed to the man that brought the saying, "Behind every fortune is a crime", to mind.  But Blair had a secret.  He was stony broke, flat as a millpond and not worth a groat.  Because of this, his Northeastern pedigree notwithstanding, he felt like a fraud.

He sipped his beverage in between long drags on his cigarette and nods to the older man as a way of appreciating the pearls of wisdom he bestowed.

"Miami is growing fast though and the future is for young men like yourselves. Take advantage of it, I say," he added, confident that the sage advice he was giving them was pure gold indeed.

Blair decided to jump in and see if he could glean a break or an "in".   

"What do you suggest,  sir," he began.  "I would think that many opportunities have been gobbled up by now," he ventured.


The Narrator

Storyteller
180
?Years Young
17 Posts

Warden had just finished dispensing one of his trite tidbits of advice, he loved telling anyone and everyone who would listen (or at least be present) of what they should do in life. It wasn't his fault if they didn't go out and follow those words of wisdom.

"What do you suggest,  sir," Morrie's friend began. "I would think that many opportunities have been gobbled up by now."

"Nonsense, lad! This is America, the land of opportunities. I started out poor and worked my way up. How? Not just smarts though I believe most would say I have that in ample quantities. But thru grit and determination."

"Find something you like or at least good at. Then work at it, don't let early failures get you down. Be a bulldog, son."

It sounded great but beyond the inspiring words there was almost no actual details. And maybe there couldn't be. Every human being was different.

He eyed Blair again.

"So you went to college did you not? Or are at least in college? What did you take? Please tell me it wasn't something useless like literature or art?"

He also glanced at Morrie, "Your friend here should be able to help you steer the ship to the harbor of success? Isn't that right, son?"


Blair Blankenship

16
?Years Young
7 Posts

"If I'd known that this is the way it'd all turn out, I never would have kissed my father goodbye."


Mr. Warden had an abundance of gusto and just sitting across from him created a certain amount of energy beneath Blair's bland and cool exterior. 

Yes, he thought. This old fellow's like my father!"   

"So you went to college did you not? Or are at least in college? What did you take? Please tell me it wasn't something useless like literature or art?"

Blair gulped.  "Well my major was .. is ... in Economics but that is really just my pre-Law discipline.  To be honest, I minor in history.  I was told by my Advisor that it helps to be well-rounded for a Law Degree."    He spoke with animation.  This last he said making a large circle in the air in front of him. 

The man then drew his friend into the discussion.

"Your friend here should be able to help you steer the ship to the harbor of success? Isn't that right, son?"

Morrie threw his head back and blew a vent of cigarette smoke up to the overhead fans.

"Oh, I will try," he agreed.  "Though I hope I don't run the ship aground."   It was a lame try at some humor and while he watched Warden's confident bearing, Blair felt he was getting nowhere with him.

 


The Narrator

Storyteller
180
?Years Young
17 Posts

"Ahh economics. That can be very useful in business. As for the lawyer part, God only knows the country has too many lawyers already," Warden scoffed.

"Now history.....I have always believed that to be a worthless subject. History is all about the past, what's already happened. One needs to focus on the present in the hopes of changing the future or at least shaping it to one's desires," he pontificated on.

Morrie made a quip then which actually amused the older man but then he had always liked that lad.

"Careful, son, once a captain loses his ship, he will never be trusted with another. You know, the whole captain goes down with his ship? " Warden smiled.

 


Blair Blankenship

16
?Years Young
7 Posts

"If I'd known that this is the way it'd all turn out, I never would have kissed my father goodbye."


Blankenship was disappointed that the older man didn't care for History OR the legal profession.  Both disciplines met something to him. 

As Professor Burke used to tell his students who said the same thing about history being in the past, "The things you see going on in the World today, the wars and the statecraft, it is merely old wine in new bottles.  If you learn the lessons of he past, you can better manage the future to better outcomes."

But the young and very broke young man from the privileged classes didn't want to engage the pompous gentleman in debate.  What he really wanted was a job. The problem was how he could ask for a job and not appear to be needy.  Now THAT would require some statecraft.

"Oh I'm pretty good with accounts too," he hastened to add.  "I managed the books of the Whitehall Golf Club back home because my old man ,.. er.. my father was President of the club and so, you know, I had a shoe in.  We managed to show a profit for the first time since Grover Cleveland was President."

It was all a lie but he was hoping there might be a need in Warden's organization, like Summer work.

"I'd rather stay down here than head back North," he added.  "The weather, you know."

 


Liked 1

The Narrator

Storyteller
180
?Years Young
17 Posts

"Oh I'm pretty good with accounts too," Blair hastened to add.  "I managed the books of the Whitehall Golf Club back home because my old man ,.. er.. my father was President of the club and so, you know, I had a shoe in.  We managed to show a profit for the first time since Grover Cleveland was President."

"So you say? Sounds like a fine case of nepotism," cracked Warner.

"Don't get wrong, lad, nepotism always has existed and always will. Why not help our kin and friends? One never knows about complete stranger, a blank book you might say when you hire them," he droned on in that way of his. A man no doubt in love with the sound of his own voice.

"By the way, I met the esteemed Grover Cleveland once. My opinion some of that fat of his was between the ears," he chuckled at his own joke.

When the younger man could get in a word edgewise he declared, "I'd rather stay down here than head back North. The weather, you know."

"Yes, I do not fathom how those Yankees stand their cold winters. Not for me. I agree with you there, lad."

He now locked on eye contact with Blair, "I know lots of people here in Miami. Tell me....what sort of jobs are you looking for exactly? So I know who I might recommend you to see. Accountant? Or something ....more exciting, challenging?"

 

 


Morris Lundigan

16
?Years Young
3 Posts

Go ahead and snap the picture.  I don't have a bad side.


The chitchat continued and Blair all but gave up hope on using the older man as a shoe horn into a job.  He wished it had been otherwise.  Oh those wishes.  "If wishes were horses beggars would ride," his mother would caution him whenever he spun daydreams.

But the tide changed when Warner leaned a bit forward.

He now locked on eye contact with Blair, "I know lots of people here in Miami. Tell me....what sort of jobs are you looking for exactly? So I know who I might recommend you to see. Accountant? Or something ....more exciting, challenging?"

Blair cleared his throat.  "Well, I'm a wizard at books.  I think I've got the people at Trowbridge & Livingston interested in me once I graduate."

"Ah come on, Blair!" Morrie interjected before turning to the old timer.

"You've never heard a guy at the piano like this guy," he announced, pointing a long finger at Blair.  "This guy plays jazz piano like any of the artists cranking out stuff on lacquer disks.  He's a natural, I tell ya."

Blair could feel a blush start at his collar and move upward. 

It was true that he'd taken lessons from some of the best teachers in the Northeast but he'd tired of learning Issac Albeniz pieces for his parent's vanity so they could trot him out at piano recitals.  He loved jazz so his folks threw up their hands and pulled the financing for a much planned trip to the London Conservatory.

"Oh geez, Morrie.  That's just a sideline." Blair offered with modesty.


Liked 1

The Narrator

Storyteller
180
?Years Young
17 Posts

Blair cleared his throat.  "Well, I'm a wizard at books.  I think I've got the people at Trowbridge & Livingston interested in me once I graduate."

Warden nodded, "Accountant - that can be steady work."  Personally he thought it to be a bit boring but some people liked working with numbers.

Then Morrie jumped in and started gushing about his friend's musical talents, specifically piano playing. Warden listened. Morrie was insistent. Blair bashful.

"I do not know enough about such a thing to be able to give you advice on it, lad. Certainly when one is up toward the top one should be able to make good money, I readily concede. But have we not all heard of the struggling musician?" he pointed out.

"I am not partial to what passes for music nowadays though, I will admit. Still, if Morrie here is right, you should look into it."

He then thought of something, "The Chanteuse, that ship whose tickets I handed Morris before. They have band music. It was in their flyer. Jazz and a female singer. You should check out the Chanteuse and maybe they have openings? Sadly I cannot help you with a reference though as I do not know anyone in management there. Or - for that fact - anybody there at all."