The brave little tailor.

Submitted into Contest #16 in response to: Write a story around the theme: Be careful what you wish for.... view prompt



Once upon a time, there was a tailor of very small stature, named Abraham. He seemed to be very brave, but could also be very stupid. His biggest wish was to be tall. Being small, he tended to compensate for his lack of height and girth in being cursed by a large mouth and lungs which he used sometimes in inappropriate ways. A casual glance from some Adonis-like male would often cause him to immediately challenge him to a duel, or the equivalent thereof, because of some imagined sleight. Most of the Adonises would smile and move on, but some, usually after their charm had failed to remove the knickers off of some quarry, would take up the challenge to dissipate their wrath and rearrange Abraham’s face to some degree. He rationalised his battered features as being appropriate for a man of his stature; and in some moments of actual rationality, acknowledge to himself that beauty of visage belongs to those with the height to carry it. 

   He wasn’t really stupid, nor was he really brave. But an inner demon would cajole him into venting his sense of inferiority in a rage before he could gather together his good sense and curb the ‘harm-leading’ ways. He had a further demon that in cahoots with the venting one, would prevent him from uttering the necessary phrases that would stop a possible visage altering session. It was fortunate that he lived in a country that didn’t demand to see his bank-balance or insurance when arriving at a  hospital before rendering the necessarily healing balms and adjustments to his small frame.

   However, inexpert as he was at controlling his temper, his skill in tailoring ranked up with those that were talked of by the gentry in hushed tones. The hushed tones were a safe-guard in case lotto, or pools winners got to hear of him and purloined his limited hours. Abraham was able to charge like a wounded bull because his sort of expertise came around so seldom. Even among the nobility, there was a pecking order with one exception; a newspaper ‘baron’ ranked above an actual baron. Abraham’s philosophy was that more harm could come from a newspaper baron, and many of the actual barons were destitute anyway. 


   Abraham would only make his suits from a variety of the finest wools. He had a steady contract with one particular farm in a small country the other end of the world and utilised an expert weaver in Italy. The tailors working for him were superb, but no piece of garment was produced without his final okay with it. He conducted all measuring of clients, himself.

   One day, after having been successfully ‘patched up’ by his favourite nurse - a ‘fellow’ member in the limited stature faction, a man entered his shop followed by what can only be called by the unsuitably tailored bulges of their jackets, henchmen. The leader of this group gave away his nationality almost immediately by the flashing smile, which could only be American. His first words were that he’d heard he was the ‘big cheese’ around here in the ‘body cladding’ department, and he wanted half a dozen suits in short order. The man stood over six foot tall, in old parlance, and his compatriots even taller. Even Abraham’s provoking demon was dormant facing this entourage of face-changing potential and Abraham was uncustomarily speechless.

“I have it on very good authority that you have skills that surpass ordinary tailoring expertise, namely you can make suits that can conceal effectively our ‘tools of office,’ forty-fives. While you are at it, make a couple of suits each for my friends here, we need them to take them home with us next week.”

“Next week,” the strained scream came out of Abraham, “I couldn’t even think of measuring you by next week.”

The tall man bent over slightly to look Abraham in the eyes, then grabbed hold of his clothing lifted him to his own height that their noses almost touched. 

“Did you not hear me down there? Do you require me to put a little something in your ear to improve your ability to hear? He turned to one of his colleagues and asked if he had his switch-blade with him and was told in return that he would never go anywhere without it.

“You’d better show it to our friend here to see if it improves his hearing.” 

He put Abraham back on the floor and made a fuss of straightening his clothing. “Now, get out your tape-measure and start measuring.”

Whilst this confrontation was taking place, the other tailors and employees were transfixed by sheer terror. None wanted to move in case attention was brought to themselves. They inwardly marvelled at their employer's restraint at recognising that belligerence from him had no place in his repertoire today. 

The intelligence that often lay dormant during confrontational periods was marshalled by Abraham and brought to the fore. Witnessing that a definite survival tactical manoeuvre was required very soon if he was to retain the correct measure of blood that could be ill-spared by his small body. In the meantime, he summoned what he hoped resembled a smile and called over the shaking tailors to command them into measuring the three smiling men.

   During the process of the measuring, the boss-man said he had four more friends that he would bring over next week when they picked up their suits. He said that Abraham could measure them and send the suits over to the States, a couple of weeks later. Abraham merely nodded his compliance.

   After the three men had left, he apologised to his employees and asked them to carry on with the tasks before being interrupted by the intruders. He assured them that they had nothing to worry about and leave the impending future visit to him. A plan was forming in his mind and he started to smile. His customers would help.

   Abraham, Jewish or not, had friends - read customers - in high places who would hate to have their garments tailored by lesser individuals, He counted upon this level of his acclaim to extricate him from this current dilemma. First, he contacted an Earl who was also known by the clandestine industry of every participating nation of that practice. He asked if he arranged an event that would be an ill-service to a branch of the organised crime brigade, could the Earl have the judicial authorities look the other way? Not only would they look the other way, Abraham was assured, but they would say that what didn’t happen, positively didn’t happen. Not only the judicial authorities, said the Earl after finding his future attire was in jeopardy, he said all of the officiating ‘troops,’ would see that all stones would be left unturned, untouched, and in fact, be absent from any venue. With that, Abraham laid plans.

   Not wishing to implicate his employees in any way in his ‘game plan,’ he gave them two weeks off with full pay and then set to work. 

 Though not of the nobility, one of his customers was involved in a large construction organisation and he sought his help. The construction business, like the clandestine industry, often frequent the ‘darkside’ in their various endeavours. He was sure for a couple of suits and wanting to stay on Abraham’s good side, the builder would be amenable to supplying him with his requirements and suitable manpower.

The day of fitting and completion of suits for the ‘gentlemen in question duly arrived. They were greeted by a calculated degree of obsequiousness and feigned fear from Abraham, which lulled them into a normalcy of behaviour that these people felt with the intimidated people they usually dealt with. Abraham suspected that although they often provided punishment as they felt was needed, they were human and enjoyed a state of bonhomie most times. He tried to provide it.

In a jocular vein, he was far from feeling, he wiped his brow theatrically and said he and his fellows had had very little sleep these past few days, but they achieved the impossible. “Please enter here and I and my people will come in with your respective garments. We are sure you will be well pleased.”

As soon as they had all entered the small room, a room-sized heavy block of concrete fell from the ceiling and crushed the seven men into a pulpy mess.

   The block had been made up of many smaller sections that could and was taken apart by Abraham. After a thorough hosing in the back of a lorry, the pieces were distributed to construction sites around the city. The remains of the seven men were disposed of at another customer's crematorium. The ‘execution’ room had been lined with heavy-duty plastic which once washed, was taken to a plastic dump area.

   Abraham had worked through the night and the next day before collapsing on top of a bed to sleep for the next fourteen hours. On emerging, he phoned his silent helpers and told them the coast was clear and would be open for business shortly. He implored them to please wait a few weeks for him to show his thanks when the recipients would receive two full sets of superbly tailored suits each.


   Because even in the very best of endeavours, secrets tended to creep out to ears that are very receptive to them, largesse started to flow to him from many different quarters. Two weeks after the event, five million unqueried American dollars arrived in his bank account from a grateful community, it said. Apparently, Abraham had succeeded in eliminating the head faction of an organised crime syndicate that was beginning to cause mayhem in other rival organisations. That they themselves were used to causing mayhem in ordinary folks home environments, was a mere ‘trifle.’ Abraham intelligently unaware from where this particular bonus originated, concluded that it had ‘no smell’ attached to it, and uttered a silent, thank you. Further money from many different quarters was purportedly for suits that Abraham could make at any time, if at all. Basking in the glow of his increased wealth, he gave himself a weeks holiday in the South of France and unaccountably found everything was provided for free. There was also a large quantity of sponsored chips at a casino waiting for him. His only comment to himself when he returned was “Mazel tov or au vey.”

   In a fit of celebration of what he thought of as still being free, he went to an engraver and had the words ‘Seven With One Blow’ put on a plaque to go above the door of his shop. 

   However, the supreme irony of his situation became evident when favours were starting to be requested from him. Unbeknownst to him, cameras recording the demise of the acknowledged villains had been installed with the concrete ‘ceiling’ by said construction customer. He was in cahoots with a branch of government that has no name, but an ever replenished wallet of the necessary wherewithal for constantly operating under the radar. 

   Abraham’s customers came from many places, but all were exceedingly rich or often well placed in criminal organisations. With the new addition to his premises of the very best of alcoholic beverages, tongues were encouraged to wag. Poor, poor, Abraham became chained to a highly profitable business that he wasn’t allowed to leave. As age crept up on him, all he wished to do was play with his collection of electric cars. They sat in his vast garage with ready-charged batteries, and because of time restraints, nowhere to go. Abraham was adamant that he didn’t even get what he wished for, and knew life was a bitch. 

November 16, 2019 08:08

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Jubilee Forbess
22:35 May 14, 2020

You know, I like the fairy tale style format of the story a lot here.


Len Mooring
08:15 May 15, 2020

Actually I've done a few fairy type stories, but I've got a couple that needs a more imaginative touch. Reading your stories I think will have shaken up the old brain pathways, so who knows, I may be able to finish them sometime.


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