“Jacob Blackmur”–flash fiction, Difficult People

Jacob Blackmur



          In the mirror Jacob Blackmur saw an aging gray visage, slightly stooped in the shoulders, the long white hands on the railing. He saw the man pat his pockets in search of a cigarette, then worse he saw the creepy guy smile, a slow undertaker smile. Who was this guy? He felt like the boy Jacob, the teen Boy Scout, the track athlete at Yale, the banker, the dilettante sportsman…a John O’Hara knockabout character, hung-over in a seedy bed & breakfast somewhere in Western Massachusetts, near Pittsfield, with a woman still married to somebody important in Boston. Jesus! She was downstairs chatting with the lady owner about chintz and pottery and knitting and God only knows what else…and this poor owner of this small establishment will somehow compartmentalize all these conversations and a hundred other strings of narrative and wash their sperm-stained sheets. Jacob, you need a cigarette, a walk and the open road, flying down the Mass Pike, mind on empty, the little lady safely dropped at her friend’s house in Holyoke or Amherst, whatever. Adrift, an aging geezer checking out his performance index on a weekend rendezvous, not criminal, well, maybe a little. He at least was separated, own digs now. His paramour, a former fashion editor with a Jane Russell figure and feel…he knew why Howard Hughes fell for her, designed a bra for her using state of the aeronautical engineering principles. Sheila, give her a name. Sheila was feisty and living dangerously for a Connecticut Yankee. Jacob Blackmur, resident of Dover, Mass, yachtsman, golfer, philanthropist, board member of several family legacies, primarily paper, office supplies (so much for the paperless office!) and now software. Ah, he grinned into the mirror, skeletal, so what, he’d gotten lucky as usual and found that last cigarette.


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