Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Dapper Dan... A Magpie Tale

On the street, he was known as Dapper Dan.  An elderly gentleman, Daniel Haversham was the king of the underground cavern known as "The Station".  His stately walk and ever so proper speech made the other transients treat him with respect... something rare in the school of hard knocks. 

If anyone else came into the old subway bed spouting flowery language, they would be jumped, beaten and robbed of all their meager possessions.   But not so, Daniel.  There was something about him that made people keep their distance.  A look, a sideways glance made even the most jaded street tough think twice before approaching him. 

Daniel carved out his own niche in the underground maze and furnished it with rusted, yet sophisticated flotsam from the dumpsters behind the mansions lining the shaded streets leading away from the urban blight.  His wardrobe consisted of a threadbare three piece suit, a remnant from Saville Row.  His white beard was kept neat and trim with a small pair of scissors, which he kept polished and free of rust with sand from between the old rails of the long defunct underground train. 

His most prized possession was the ebony walking cane he carried wherever he went.  The top was black with tarnish.  Rumor had it that it was pure silver.  Only once did anyone try to take it from him.  Daniel Haversham made quick work of the interloper, leaving him with a scar from the stiletto blade hidden within the ebony shaft of the cane.

Eventually, time caught up with Daniel.  They found him on a cold morning in January, with frost encrusting his papery skin.  Out of respect, the denizens of the subway bed allowed police to remove Daniel Haversham's body and belongings, including his cane. 

They buried Dapper Dan in a pauper's grave, his Saville Row suit embracing his withered body.  The cane was relegated to the police department and found a place in their collection of unusual weapons.  No one ever noticed that beneath the tarnish was the family crest of the Earl of Haversham.

* * * * *

Willow over at Life at Willow Manor  has been providing inspiration for bloggers on a site called Magpie Tales.  A photo of an artifact is posted each week as a writing prompt.  Participants write a story or poem of its history and/or how the item in the photo came to be in their possession.  Be sure to check out the other fabulous writers participating in Magpie Tales this week.  You'll be glad you did!
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