William’s Ritual

Click the pic for the original challenge. Written for Ermilia’s Picture It & Write.

William Andruss stood six foot, two inches, without his boot heels. In Louisiana, that made him a sort of giant among men. He was as well-dressed and better groomed than any man I’d seen then or since. We all agreed he was a good-looking man in general, if a little unimpressive once undressed. But what stood out about him, was a gold pocket watch.

He made good and sure of it.

Each of the three times I saw him, he wore a vest had a pocket made to hold such a watch. None of the three times I saw him, was the watch in a pocket. The man had a compulsive tendency was the explanation for his grooming habits, and some other oddities as well I expect, but it was conceit responsible for the way he wore that watch. It hung at the end of a long gold chain, and he had a special gold pin to fasten it outside the vest pocket where everyone could plainly see.

Inside my bedroom, his watch became part of a comical dressing ritual. It was the first thing he removed and he checked the time. He set it carefully aside on the table. The vest came next, folded. Suspenders, folded cross-ways first, then in fourths, were laid neatly in the center of the vest. Each article of clothing followed in turn, his shirt, his trousers, his drawers and his stockings. Each folded neatly, and placed carefully and precisely on the top of the stack.

Once he stood with nothing on but his hat, he picked the watch up, and placed it in the center, meticulously shaping the chain into a word I could not read. His hat was placed neatly to the side so the watch remained proudly displayed. When he dressed again, the ritual was exactly reversed. The watch was placed aside, and when he was done dressing, he checked the time, and then fastened it just perfectly outside his vest pocket again.

Most everything about William Andruss was forgettable, especially with his clothes off. I won’t soon care he was a man of considerable wealth, or a man of ill manner. Many a man may pluck his eyebrows or wax his mustache. Dressed and undressed, I will never forget William Andruss’ watch.

He made good and sure of it.

© 2012 Anne Schilde

You can read about when Kate first met William Andruss here.

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About Anne Schilde

Image "Webster's Kiss" © 2011 Anne Schilde Thanks always for reading! ♥
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17 Responses to William’s Ritual

  1. Ermilia says:

    Awesome. I like this extra detail to the scene. I also liked that he was rather ordinary without all his wealth and clothes. Once all the exterior is wiped away, we’re all just common humans. Thanks for contributing this week, Annie! 🙂

    – Ermisenda

    • Anne Schilde says:

      Thanks, Ermi. You know I actually forgot to mention the watch when I first wrote The Price of a Flower? I didn’t even notice it until I was going through my notes and saw the watch in the scene with the car, and I’m like “Oh crap!” The detail about his compulsive behavior may end up in the edit copy.

  2. yazrooney says:

    Again, I love the style of this story, the way you’ve fashioned the language. You’re a sort of actress of the pen! If you know what I mean… Thanks for a good read. Yaz

    • Anne Schilde says:

      Yasmine, I am going to wear “Actress of the Pen” as my moniker now. It’s going straight to Facebook! I so love you for that! I’m starting to think Kate’s going to live longer than I will. Scary but really exciting! Thank you! Thank you!

      • yazrooney says:

        Yes, you SHOULD acknowledge your ability to act out the roles through the language the characters use, and the way you describe them. I can write a good story, but I don’t act, so I recognize this talent when I see it. Keep going! Yaz

    • Anne Schilde says:

      Hehe! [in a gruff voice distinctly not my own] You’ve been Faced.

  3. I loved the tone of this one. Light and fun. Easy to read and enjoyable to the end. Bravo!

  4. joetwo says:

    Nice addition to the Kate narrative. Will you use it as part of the canon?

    • Anne Schilde says:

      Thanks, Joe. No, not as is. The three times she meets William Andruss have been written separately (the third is in the chapter I am about to post). She describes the watch and him undressing in The Price of a Flower. The additional detail might work well there.

  5. I enjoyed the meticulousness of your William narrative. It had perfect “timing” so to speak – nice rhythm, and yes, tone. I could visualize exactly how he placed his clothes and what you had him doing with his watch. And yes, his outward appearance was so much more than he who was. I guess he would be one who would believe that appearances are important. Thanks, Randy

  6. I like how you showed us how compulsive he is without ever coming out and telling us. The ritual of him dressing was very interesting to watch in my mind.

  7. Enjoyed this tremendously, Anne… well done to you..! 🙂

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