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Mr. Casiuss Monroe: Noble Defiance – Pt. 8 Historical Fiction

Installment 8

Disclaimer: 

This is meant to be a piece of historical fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the products of history and the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is entirely historic and a work of fiction to guide the reader through history in an engaging way.

The following may contain mild language and references to historical traumatic events. Reader discretion is advised.

 —

It was early fall as I sat on my back porch observing the beauty of the trees. The colors amber, orange, and red dotted my backyard. Puffing my pipe, I was sitting enthralled by what nature had painted about me. Oh, the peace and tranquility of these fine moments in time that we all sit back and admire. What was to become of all this in the years to come? While in my tranquility I felt the presence of others flocking out around me, my family, one by one filed out, and we all sat in silence.
“Grandpa, could you tell us what happened next?” Robert broke the silence.
“Yes, I can,” I responded.
“Be careful in how you paint this picture Cass,” Rose said, pausing she continued, “As depending on how you paint it, the rest of your story could be jaded.”
“Yes Rose, I will be, somethings could be misconstrued,” I said sighing a little.

Catching the leather satchel I felt the weight of the bag. Opening it, I found medical instruments enclosed. I was aghast at what this implied of me and what was to follow. My head went numb and my stomach turned and my legs went weak. This was not my forté, I was no torturer, disgusted my anger grew. My face felt beat red and my blood boiled. I growled deeply.
I threw the satchel at Chancellor’s feet. He looked down at it with disapproval, he went for something in his pocket, it was his cigar case. Methodically he removed one and bit the end off, he put his case back while holding the cigar in his mouth and ever so slightly he lifted his matches to the tip of his cigar and puffed on it stoking it until it was fully lit. He took one big draw and let it out slowly.
He then chuckled at me.
I couldn’t take it anymore and I exploded on him.
“This is not what I do!” I yelled, “I am not that type of man, I was not hired for this!” I huffed and paced back and forth. “This is wrong, whether you need it or not!” pausing, I thought about what I was going to say next, “I was never told when you first hired me this was expected of me!” I slammed the hat down that he had given to me on the old floor.
“I do not care; I am the owner and I want you to get in there and work.” He said in an irritated voice.
“NO!” I said back, gritting my teeth.
“That is what we do here Mr. Monroe!” he said in a rough tone. “I pay for you to work here, I sign your check, do what I ask of you or you’ll be back on the street like a rat!”
There was a silence about the room and no one said anything. I paced back and forth and realized if I didn’t do it I would be out and I couldn’t let that happen; I had worked my ass off for a year to earn my place. Nothing about it did I like.
I broke the silence knowing I couldn’t give up on my dream. “Yes sir,” I said gulping.
I picked up the satchel, my hands were shaking, I was weak once again, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. For Mr. Chancellor, he just stood there with a blank stare smoking his cigar.
“I just can’t do it Mr. Chancellor, if that means leaving my dream I will, because this is not who I am and I won’t alter who I am for the satisfaction of the rich Mr. Chancellor. You went from nothing to owning everything you could ever want so now you think all must bend to your will. How you became rich I do not know, but if it means losing myself, I just simply cannot.” I paused and tears started to crease my eyes, I was about to lose everything, and then I thought of something “What if there was another way sir?” I said trying and grabbing desperately to appease him and not break my moral code.
“And what is that Mr. Monroe?” He asked monotonously.
“If you just trust me, I can get what you want,” I said peacefully trying to de-escalate a roughening situation.
“Fine, but if you fail then you’re done here, Mr. Monroe.” he responded with no emotion whatsoever.
I walked over to the man that had broken into Mr. Chancellor’s warehouse, I knelt down to his level, him still being on the floor I grabbed him up. I cut his bonds with one hand and shifted him into a sitting position, letting him know my strength as I went.
“As you have heard, while faking your unconsciousness, what he is willing to do to get what he wants, but we can avoid that if you wish, the only thing I ask is a name.” I grabbed him by the back of his head. I leaned into his face and in a rough tone I said “Don’t let him win! Who sent you!”
He jerked away, frightened to all hell, his chest was heaving and sweat poured off of him. He stuttered and stammered and tears streaked his face.
The man was bawling.
I grabbed the man by his shirt and dragged him up shoving him at Mr. Chancellor’s feet. He fell dramatically to the floor.
“Let’s do it your way, Mr. Chancellor. My way didn’t work,” I said saddened
“WAIT!” The man screamed “Perdue, that was his name, Perdue!”
“Perdue?” Mr. Chancellor said, questioning him.
Stuttering he said “He’s a broker, at the tail end of Avery” he paused to catch his breath, still breathing heavily. “That’s all I know; it was a contract job,” and with that the man went silent.
Mr. Chancellor turned to his warehouse manager and said “Tell your boys to come over here and drop this man in the slums where he belongs. Mr. Monroe, please take a seat, and have a drink. I have something we need to discuss.”
I sat down and he handed me a drink, and I gulped it down, he put the bottle in front of me at the edge of his desk.
“I will be right back I have to speak with Mr. Wendell my shipping manager,” Mr. Chancellor said as he and Mr. Wendell proceeded to the back room.
I was shaking from anger and disbelief, I felt nauseous, and the whisky was helping. I drank it down smooth now, three glasses later I felt a little better. I knelt my head down and I couldn’t contain myself anymore and I silently wept. This was it he was going to relieve me of my position because I didn’t have the guts to….. I couldn’t even say the word in my head or out loud for that matter. Never meet your idols, I guess. I needed something to keep my mind off of the whole thing.
I looked down at the worn-out faded deck of cards and I reached over and picked them up. I shuffled them several times and I noticed something was off, it was a tad light. I flipped through the cards one by one and I noticed two cards were missing, Jack of Hearts and the Ace of Hearts. Hmmm, judging by what I knew about their game that I had walked in on Mr. Wendell was doing incredibly well and must have had those particular cards up his sleeves, interesting I wonder if this was an important game or not. Judging by the fact that there was petty cash on Mr. Chancellor’s desk instead of chips – it was not. I wonder, I simply just wonder. I poured another glass of whiskey and thought deeply on the matter. No matter how you looked at the situation it was cheating, but to what end? Why for a few nickels would a man cheat? I‘ve seen people cheat for less, but poor people, not the wealthy. Then it dawned on me, this must be intentional, and he was teaching Mr. Chancellor something. That must be it, it has to be.
It was about that time that Mr. Chancellor and Mr. Wendell returned to the room. Without a word, Mr. Wendell left abruptly, and the room in a proverbial sense grew hot, very hot. I was so worried about what was happening, I grew silent and my whole body felt like it had screeched to a thundering halt like a train wreck. Mr. Chancellor on the other hand seemed calmed, even relieved, and all of this was beyond me, I couldn’t understand why.
Breaking the silence once again, Mr. Chancellor cleared his throat and said “Mr. Monroe, it does not become you that you blatantly crossed me.” He paused and it appeared as if he was stifling a grin “Mr. Monroe, you are playing with another man’s deck. I just can’t stand that.” He said pointing with his finger indicating the deck of cards in my hand. He then began to chuckle.
“What?” I said aloud then realizing I was still holding the deck of cards in my hand “Oh, I’m sorry,” I paused in pure confusion, “are you not mad that I disobeyed your orders?”
“No, I am not, it was a test and you sir have passed, I would never keep a man in my employ who would willingly mutilate another man through torturous means, just because I or any other person told him to do so. You see I had to know if you were the right man for the job. I wanted to push you to your limit – and I have – and you are, in fact, a man with a code. Whether it is society’s code or not it’s your code,” he paused, taking a long draw from his cigar.
“Now, Mr. Monroe, I need you to go and approach this broker, find out what you can within your means, but go home and get some rest. You can do it tomorrow evening. Working by night suits you.” He said as I began to rise and take my leave. “Remember Cass, so you think so you shall be.” he said while standing up to show me out.
As I got to the door, I remembered that I had his cards still in my hand. I turned to him and said “Oh yes, I forgot, sorry Mr. Chancellor” I returned the deck of cards to him and walked out the door, I stopped short and playfully told him “He still has your Jack of Hearts and your Ace of Hearts.” I chuckled as I left.
I heard him mumble as he closed the door something about “That Mr. Wendell had gotten him again and briefly it sounded like he had said something about I knew I liked that boy.” it was all muffled but I was proud and I walked off into the hazy dawn of the morning.

I finished my story and everyone smiled as if they too felt the joy, the same exact joy I had felt all those years ago. We all sat there in our silence once again just admiring the beauty of nature, a beauty that filled our cups and overflowed with tranquility and slowly but surely as they came, they left me alone puffing my pipe.
Rose stopped short and returned to me and kissed my head and whispered “It wasn’t jaded, Cass, almost as though you saw it through a rose-colored glass, but you weren’t quite there you had me wondering if you were ever going to tell them that Mr. Chancellor was testing you. I would’ve started with that, but I liked it anyways.”
I grabbed her hand and squeezed it lightly, and she walked away into the house and I proceeded to pick up my Hemingway. I’m finally getting around to my Hemingway.

 

About the author:

My name is Logan M. Saho I am the Concierge at The Blennerhassett Hotel. I have been in the tourism industry since my thirteenth year of life, I started out as a tour guide at the Beauchamp-Newman Museum in Elizabeth WV. I also since that time have become an early American period reenactor (1730s-1890s.) Beyond that I have a dual-degree in History and Political Science with a minor in communications concentrating on theatre. After my college years I worked as a living historian at Blennerhassett Island Historical State park for 2 years which geared my path to be working where I am today.

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