For the short story reader. Updated every Monday.

The Short Form

“The Typewriter”

Dorothy West


Every night thereafter in the weeks that followed, with Daisy packed off to bed, and Net “gone up to pa's” or nodding inobtrusively in her corner there was the chamelion change of a Court Street janitor to J. Lucius Jones, dealer in stocks and bonds. He would stand, posturing importantly, flicking imaginary dust from his coat lapel, or, his hands locked behind his back, he would stride up and down, earnestly and seriously debating the advisability of buying copper with the market in such a fluctuating state. Once a week, too, he stopped in at Jerry's, and after a preliminary purchase of cheap cigars, bought the latest trade papers, mumbling an embarrassed explanation: “I got a little money. Think I'll invest it in reliable stock.”

The letters Millie typed and subsequently discarded, he rummaged for later, and under cover of writing to his brother in the South, laboriously with a great many fancy flourishes, signed each neatly typed sheet with the exalted J. Lucius Jones.

Later, when he mustered the courage he suggested tentatively to Millie that it might be fun – just fun, of course! – to answer his letters. One night – he laughed a good deal louder and longer than necessary – he'd be J. Lucius Jones, and the next night – here he swallowed hard and looked a little frightened – Rockefeller or Vanderbilt or Morgan – just for fun, y'understand! To which Millie gave consent. It mattered little to her one way or the other. It was practice, and that was what she needed. Very soon now she'd be in the hundred class. Then maybe she could get a job!

We read it in The Richer, the Poorer.