“I need a favour.”
He stayed silent. With these four words this new world had ceased to exist. He had felt the air punched out of him and he was fourteen again.
“Tailz? Tailz! You hearing me?” the voice faded into the past…
They say fairy tales weren’t real but here he was, like the miller’s daughter, up all night, sewing with an impossible deadline for the king of drug lords. If he succeeded, he would be paid handsomely; if not, he would surely die. And like the story… he was a girl. Not gay, but a girl since he chose Home Economics instead of brawny woodwork and T.D.
And the fools never let him forget it. Fools. They were all spectacularly visionless. It was the truth. Of course the other truth was that it was close to the unholy hour of two and he was still cutting and sewing and ironing logos so as to make his employer’s team, become police and coast guard protectors instead of what they really were… organized. He chuckled to himself. Their old contact had found religion and confessed [a portion of] his sins, leaving the gang the problem of finding suitable para military wear. But now… now they had found a talent who preferred swatches of fabric to bullets and… backsideishness. No vision they had. Not like him; no he would use this life then leave it for fashion school. He would be THE DESIGNER. And it really wasn’t that hard to get out since he was merely a contracted employee in an otherwise cut throat organization. The Gangster Tailor or “Tailz” they called him. He was neither drug mule nor gunslinger; the only Gaza he acknowledged was half way around the globe.
His mother prayed for him earnestly, but he knew enough Bible to know that “a man’s hunger drives him on”. Even she had to admit that.
And he was hungry….
And the money didn’t hurt.
And he sewed through 15 and 16; and he sewed all through fifth and sixth form. He sewed all night right up to the point the torn envelope spat out that golden word… “accepted”. Then he sewed no more. he would design a new life starting now.
But as the phone rang years later, he realized that like the miller’s daughter, Rumpelstiltskin’s ghost will never let him go. The threads were too tight now. only a sharp blade would cut him loose… but not without fraying the seams.
“I need a favour...”
What a Man Sews
An UNKNOWN story
© Tracy J H