Pushcart nominee, Joseph Grant returns to cavalcadeofstars.
The House on Market Street
With her uncle unable to work, Eloise would come home completely exhausted from her sixteen hour work day at the ribbon factory on Stockton Street off Union Square. Her family needed the money as they could not survive alone on what his military pension had allowed. It also did not help matters that he would choose to play his piano until all hours of the night.
From her factory window on Post Street, she could peer out on the Palace and watch the fine gentry coming and going out of the grand hotel. Obviously, some of them were well off, probably land and oil barons, maybe even a stock market tycoon, she sighed. She would daydream of the man who would spot this Gibson Girl beauty and whisk her away from her present drudgery, court her, marry her and take her to live in a big mansion like she would read about in McCall’s or Ladies Home Journal. These daydreams sometimes came as a detriment to her beautiful and delicate hands for more than once the prick of the sewing needle brought her back down to her dreary reality.
One fortuitous day, upon walking by the hotel did she secure the eyes of such a handsome gentleman. He stopped and chatted most amiably and asked to call upon her that evening. What a glorious evening it was! Dinner at Fior d’Italia, tickets to the Metropolitan Opera where Enrico Caruso was performing and capped off with a daring walk through the park near the Presidio. They then took a ride in his Oldsmobile, her first automobile ride ever. Back to her apartment and front parlor they went.
A fervent kiss upon her lips provoked such a grievous reaction from her uncle that it sent the young suitor running out the door. As a result, Eloise found she could not stay in a relationship, committed or otherwise, such was the fury of her uncle.
Strangely, in an apartment-hungry city such as 1906 San Francisco, even the empty rooms upstairs could not be rented out, as Eloise soon gained a reputation of being eccentric and odd. This was due to the fact of her being still unmarried at the ripe-old age of twenty-five. It was quite the scandal. Even the superstitious Chinese would avoid walking down Market Street.
In the end, no matter how much effort Eloise put into running a neat and proper boarding house, her uncle would still create havoc whenever he was provoked. He was easily agitated. If Eloise moved something in his room during the day, he would go berserk and cruelly make her pay for it at night as he played his piano at all hours; which was always peculiar to the neighbors, for he had died 6 years before.
As a Pushcart Prize nominee, Joseph Grant’s short stories have been published in over 230 literary reviews such as Byline, New Authors Journal, Underground Voices, Midwest Literary Magazine, Inwood Indiana Literary Review, Hack Writers, Six Sentences, Literary Mary, NexGenPulp, Is This Reality Zine , Darkest Before Dawn, strangeroad.com, FarAway Journal, Full of Crow, Heroin Love Songs, Bewildering Stories, Writing Raw, Unheard Magazine, Absent Willow Literary Review