On Wednesday, Sebastian Livermore Trout decided to change his name.
Sebastian was a 23 year old ribbon clerk at Garlock’s Department store. His was a hard life. He lived with his mother, Mrs. Clarissa Trout in a two room flat. Kitchen-dining area, a bedroom, which they shared, and a small toilet. The tub was located down the hall. Meals were simple. A ribbon clerk was not a well-paid position. Nor a seamstress, for that matter.
Sebastian had been with Garlock’s for three years. He started as assistant clerk which paid even less. Sebastian had a somewhat plain face and retiring demeanor. He would hardly stand out in a crowd. This did not mean that he wasn’t a good ribbon clerk. Actually he was a very good one. He always gave an “Extra Inch.” He would measure out the exact length, then say; “And an extra inch for good measure,” and cut it. The ladies were always pleased.
Sebastian was a sporadic masturbator. He would have been a constant one, except that his mother slept in a bed not seven feet away. He tried his best to keep the springs from creaking and his breathing normal, but she must have suspected something. Especially on those mornings when she would find a newly washed handkerchief laid to dry over the back of a chair.
She once she said; “You don’t have to do that you know.” He didn’t know if she referred to his masturbation, his secrecy, or the washing and he didn’t dare ask. His masturbatory fantasies consisted of visions of sales girls dancing around in their undies. He knew all about undies from the lingerie counter. But what was under the undies wasn’t quite clear. He had never seen a picture of a naked women. So those areas of anatomy always appeared fuzzy. He knew there must be something wonderful under there.
When he reached his majority. His mother sat him down and told him, with much ringing of hands and sobbing, that there was no ‘Mr. Trout.’ Sebastian was the product of a regrettable indiscretion at age nineteen. After three months of throwing up she could no longer hide her condition from her parents. They, being good church people, gave her $100 dollars and told her to put at least three states between them. They informed friends that she had the chance to become a nanny in Switzerland, and jumped at it.
She gave birth in the charity ward of the, “Good Mothers of Plainfield,” and for the first three years lived in the “Good Mothers” dormitory with similar girls. There she learned sewing, mending, and repairing the clothing put into donation boxes. She became proficient as a seamstress and got a job at Mrs. Seaton’s Dressmaking, and would bring work home. She shared a space with another young mother. Here she raised young Sebastian.
From age 10, Sebastian did all he could to help out. Selling newspapers, running errands, making deliveries, washing automobiles, till at 23, he got the job at Garlock’s. His knowledge of ribbons and trimmings learned from his mother stood him in good stead.
Sebastian researched the requirements for a legal name change. Did all the paperwork, and in two weeks, stood before a judge with his mother crying behind him, and changed his legal name to Biff Cartwright.
As Biff, he stood a little straighter. Looked people in the eye more. Seemed more self confident. He started to exercise and put on weight, mostly muscle. His shoulders broadened and he outgrew two suits and had to get new (used that is) from “Second Suits.” He grew a dashing, thin, military mustache to go with his now tanned face. He was soon the secret desire of the sales girls both single and married, and matronly customers.
These changes did not go unnoticed at Garlock’s. He was removed from the ribbon counter and made Floorwalker. This he did with aplomb and great flair. Assistant Manager was not far behind. The sales girls, both single and married, went crazy. He rented a six room house in a better neighborhood, with a discrete side entrance to his bedroom.
He bought a 8-cylinder motor car with a custom hood ornament. He soon found out what was beneath the undies of the sales girl’s, both single and married, and liked what he saw. Remembering his poor mother’s downfall, he took great care to protect the ladies from any unfortunate circumstance. This was much appreciated and the word was; “He was safe as a saint and a LOT more fun”.
He rode the wave of adulation and success for two years, when at the urging of his now well-dressed mother, changed his name back to Sebastian Livermore Trout. As Sebastian his shoulders seem to droop a little. His eyes no longer caught the light and his skin seemed more sallow. He began to lose weight and returned to “Second Suits,” for smaller sizes.
These new changes did not go unnoticed at Garlock’s. The boss’s son replaced him and he was once more a Floorwalker. But he no longer walked with a flair or aplomb. Sales girls, both single and married, wondered what they ever saw in him. Soon he was back behind the ribbon counter where he still gave an “Extra Inch”.
A year passed. Gone was the big house, the car and nice things. They found themselves back in a two room flat with the tub at the end of the hall. Sebastian now masturbated nightly. He made no attempt to hide it from his mother. Clarissa felt somewhat comforted, for she had her son back. She even washed out the handkerchiefs.
After 18 months, Sebastian came to a decision. He would quit Garlock’s, change his name to Kip Masters and get a job at Sander’s Emporium. He would aim for the Presidency.
(written April 1, 2011)