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Fiction

Whenever I wear a Double Windsor knot, the tie tails run embarrassingly short. I hide the tiny tails inside the safety of my vest so no one else can see them. The gargantuan knot, however, that’s a big dumb flashing advertisement: THE GENTLEMAN ENTERING THE ROOM IS VERY IMPORTANT. God forbid I bend over and pick up a pencil or paperclip off the floor—the tails could pop out from under my vest and everyone would think that I’m a clown rather than a lawyer.  

What day is it anyway? Is it Thursday? I wear my brown tie on Thursdays. But there are three ties here on my closet post, one for each day left in the week. Wasn’t yesterday Wednesday? 

I’m going with the brown tie. I love this tie. From a distance it’s a deep mahogany, but close up, it’s a myriad of chocolates and indigoes. The browns swirl in different hues, resembling tear drops or amoebas—I haven’t decided whether the tie is crying or an amoeba. If the tie is crying, the blue drops radiate sadness in cocoa stitched echoes. If the tie is an amoeba, the blue drops are its food vacuoles, deep inside the plasmasol of the light java swirls and the ectoplasm of the dark chestnut stitches. 

The sun peeks over the horizon like a hot red blanket. Is it March already? I rub the meat of my palm over the steam clouded bathroom window and the tree line comes into focus. No frost. It must be March. 

With a washcloth, I wipe out a sliver of my reflection in the steam fogged mirror. The brown tie agrees with my blue collared shirt. It’s a meeting of the minds. I fasten the top button of my shirt, flip up my collar, and place the tie in position. The short end lays on point with the fourth button down while the long end swings low around my mid thigh. I rub the tie between my right index finger and right thumb. This tie is thicker than most ties. Fabric like this probably caused the Silk Road Wars. The coarse top and soft underside feel exotic, even in 2020. Or, is it 2021?

I pull the long end over the short and pull the long end up and over what will become the majestic Double Windsor knot. The long end’s tip wafts her perfume, tones of orange, pear, jasmine, and vanilla. What was it? Chanel? Black Opium? What is she doing now? Is she asleep? Maybe she’s dreaming. It’s an hour behind there. No sunrise in Memphis, yet. 

I pull the long end up and over again, but this time on the other side. The end swooshes past my left ear. We rode the swing carousel. The air wooshed past my ears. I could feel it more than hear it, though. DJ Xtre was so loud that night. We got “Rebel Yell” by Billy Idol for our ride. She was in front of me for most of the ride, but when it tilted, she and I rode side by side. Our eyes met just after Steve Stevens’ guitar solo, the one that sounds like a Stormtrooper gun set to stun. “I’d sell my soul, for you, babe. For money to burn, for you,” Billy sang as the colored lights and artificial thunder buzzed and boomed around us. We held hands after the ride and then shared a fried Twinkie. A month later, she left. How long ago was that? Last year? Has it been a year already?

I pulled the long end over and around and over and around. Did the Duke of Windsor ever tie a Double Windsor on accident? The Double Windsor is sometimes called the Balthus knot, named for Balthasar Klossowski de Rola. Balthus is said to have created his knot around 1930 out of boredom, but he rarely wore it. If he hardly ever wore it, how would anyone even know about it? With no TV, no internet, no wide newspaper circulation, something seems amiss about giving Balthasar the credit for popularizing the Double Windsor when he only wore it maybe twice.

It must be Thursday because I haven’t worn this tie yet this week. I tuck the large end through the loop and pull it taught. I flip down my collar. There, there—a perfect Double Windsor. Thick and in charge. Not a Half Windsor. Not a Full Windsor. A Double Windsor. I tuck the ends of the tie into my waistcoat. 

I grab my pocket watch from the watch stand next to the bathroom mirror. I rub my thumb over the back of the watch. I read the engraving, “Congratulations on passing the bar, Malcolm. Love, Mom.” She gave me an engraved money clip when I graduated from high school. I lost it on Franklin Street during a Thursday night bar crawl. Mom gave me an engraved chip when I checked out of rehab. I carried it in my pocket everyday. But one day it fell out when I sat in a comfy chair at the Wagon Wheel Tavern. I fell off the wagon. The watch chain clasps to my belt like a vice grip. I tuck the watch away in my vest pocket. Biden’s on the news a lot, talking about empty chairs at kitchen tables. Mom was one of those chairs. COVID snuffed her out. I didn’t even get to say goodbye. I ain’t losing this watch. No way. 

I sit in front of the television with a bowl of granola mixed with two tablespoons of Skippy peanut butter and a cup of whole milk. I turn on the news. Thursday! I was right. It is Thursday. She still calls Thursday “Little Friday.” Why does she always want to leave work early on Friday? I guess she likes the weekend. I hate the weekend. 

The weather report predicts rain later today. It’s supposed to rain in Memphis this morning, too. I hope she has an umbrella. Shit, she has like five of mine. I don’t know if it was because she liked my umbrellas or if she just kept losing them. But wait, she won’t need an umbrella because she works from home now. I’d wilt if I had to work from home. 

The Double Windsor holds all of this in place, deep and under my vest. 


March 08, 2021 17:26

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Mustang Patty
15:53 Mar 15, 2021

Hi, Mike, Thank you for sharing this wonderful story. Your presentation was great, and I found few errors to discuss. I am putting together an Anthology of Short Stories to be published in late Spring 2021. Would you be interested? The details can be found on my website: www.mustangpatty1029.com on page '2021 Indie Authors' Short Story Anthology,' and you can see our latest completed project on Amazon. '2020 Indie Authors' Short Story Anthology.' (It is available as a Kindle Unlimited selection.) Feel free to reach out to me: patty@mustang...

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