Quick Tips & May

Raining nonstop at night

-1871-

If Quick Tips had another name, he refused to acknowledge it.

He was an orphan and his first memory was of being pointed at for stealing bread from the nursery by the other children. One girl, though, with long blonde hair and bright eyes was amused by his action. She giggled and told Madam Long, the head caretaker, that he must have quick fingertips, for such a feat.

It was only natural that such an endearment from such a pretty girl would stick, though it was shortened to Quick Tips as the years went by. It was also only natural that her term came to be rather fitting for his character.

He spent the rest of his childhood performing magic tricks for anyone who’d care to see. On the streets of New York, in dark alleys, next to thriving factories, where he’d gamble his fortunes by night. Dealing out Aces and returning with Kings, or by pushing coins in one ear and out the other. Never a night passed without Quick Tips returning heavier in change than before.

He was quiet, but it was known that he spoke tremendously through the motions of his hands. A trait that caused interest in his gimmicks. Aside from this, though, he was pitied.

His dark eyes and their tendency to stare were the reason he was the oldest orphan. At 17, he never had considerations from family seekers. Only Madam Long cared, in spite of his commotions outside her caretaking realm. She was to him, his own mother, really, and it pained him to cause her distress when he left for hours at a time.

It was only her and the young girl who had left their nursery years before that he ever loved.

Her name was May and she never forgot Quick Tips. Her foster parents had moved her only a few blocks away, but it wasn’t until years later that she saw him again. At 16, having to contribute to her family’s financial stability, she was working at the factories too. For hours and days on end.

It was a hot August night when it began to downpour in New York. Just when the city’s laborers returned to their crowded homes, only to sleep for 5 hours or so. On this particular night, May was stuck in a commotion outside that caused her to take a different route. And soon enough, she understood what it was about.

A crowd continued to gather, only a block ahead. Normally she’d avoid it, but something pulled her towards it instead.

Only seconds passed as she fast approached the front, and her reality was revealed; it was the boy himself, suffering and clutching his stomach on the ground, as the rain showed no mercy.

And all May knew then was that Quick Tips was leaving her forever, as she had already done to him. Her breath caught short, but she fought forward anyway. She kneeled next to him, lowering her face over his.

Quick Tips was beyond belief. He couldn’t believe she was there.

“Finally, you again,” he gasped, “May.”

“Quick Tips, what happened?” she pleaded, “Who did this to you?”

“Dunno, but he was the first person to not pity me,” he said, struggling to get his final words out, “he wasn’t happy I’d won his earnings from him, May.”

She wasn’t sure what he meant by this. She knew Quick Tips performed tricks when they were younger, but didn’t know he did so at others’ expense. It was something she couldn’t worry about, however. He needed her now.

So she grabbed his blood soaked hands and entwined them with her own, periodically tracing them with her thumb or placing their palms against each other. And she told him the truth. That she wanted to feel his fingers against hers. The fingers that she had named. And also that he was wrong. That she was the first to not pity him. That she loved him.

It was all he needed to leave this world in peace, and let the rain continue on.

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About Kimberly Engel

Dreaming, creating and tech-obsessed in New York City.
This entry was posted in Short Story and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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