His name was Jasonian Arventus—the kind of name you wouldn’t forget because it had pretentious written all over it. Jasonian Arventus—who had always insisted I used his entire moniker, as he couldn’t accept the shortening of his name to that of a commoner—never once left his house without his silk, peach-coloured handkerchief. Routinely, he had it snugged in the front left pocket of his expensive grey-checkered, double-breasted wool coat, before taking a foot past the front door. The plain and glossy piece of fabric was akin to a child’s security blanket, for Jasonian Arventus—whose name I’m bound to misspell in the near future—believed it brought him good luck.
Jasonian Arventus had a myriad of possessions but none as precious as his rabbit’s foot of a mouchoir. He lived in a Victorian mansion the size of a Slovenian castle, and had not one but fifteen automobiles that would awake your inner green-eyed monster. He also had a private collection of historical armaments from the Crusades and ancient scrolls from the age of pharaohs. And, if you ever had the patience to hold a conversation with him, he would boast of the ungodly amount of jewellery he owned that rivalled the royal museum. Yet, you would find that Jasonian Arventus would give it all up for his handkerchief—except for that one night, when he was offered a hat in exchange.
The felt hat arrived at his doorstep in a box. It wasn’t a package he had ordered nor was there a delivery man requesting for his fanciful signature. When Jasonian Arventus attended to the chime of the doorbell—he didn’t believe in squandering his wealth on a doorkeeper—he found a note attached to the parcel. The scribble of a letter read, ‘Exchange the kerchief for the bowler and you’ll receive your greatest desire.’
Some days, I wonder if I am to blame for what happened to Jasonian Arventus. However, it was a blessing in disguise. As I was, unsurprisingly, the only person who cared enough, Jasonian Arventus rang me over. He sent his chauffeur to my humble abode, ensuring that I couldn’t decline his seemingly urgent request—made a few hours shy of midnight.
“You have to help me, Beasty,” Jasonian Arventus hollered, just as I exited from the daylight robbery he called his favourite car. “I don’t know what to do.”
My name is not Beasty—lest you believe my parents would actually pen such an atrocity on my birth certificate. Jasonian Arventus never saw the importance of learning my name as I did his. Thus, he called me Beasty—short for Aarion Beastanol.
“What is the matter, Jasonian?” I asked, questioning my kindhearted nature for attending to his almost always childish beck and call.
“Jasonian Arventus, Beasty,” Jasonian Arventus corrected.
“What is the matter, Jasonian Arventus?” I repeated.
“I received this.” Jasonian Arventus slammed the letter on my chest—forcefully enough to knock all the air out from my last breath. “And that,” Jasonian Arventus added, pointing to the box on the marble front porch.
“Hmm,” I said, after reading the hastily written words. “Exchange the kerchief for the bowler.”
“You think I should?” Jasonian Arventus asked. His eyes widened as though he had already decided but needed further affirmation.
“You want to, don’t you?”
“But you know how important silkie is to me,” Jasonian Arventus said.
“The letter didn’t say what to do after the exchange—there’s no return address. Once you make the trade, I’ll take silkie out and keep it for you,” I offered. All I so desired, as my eyelids weighed heavily in the need of rest, was to end the conversation.
“Good idea, Beasty,” Jasonian Arventus said. He took my proposal as encouragement and shuffled to the package. Ripping the box open in unrepressed excitement, he swapped his prized possession for a promise. Then waving me over, he prompted, “Take silkie.”
Withholding a sigh, I did what Jasonian Arventus asked once more. If it meant that he would send me home, I was more than happy to abide. Little did I know, that was the last time I did anything for Jasonian Arventus. In fact, it was the last time I ever saw him or uttered his name. For the following morning, as I returned to Jasonian Arventus’ mansion, I found only the bowler.
Some Wednesdays, while I sipped on earl grey tea in my cluttered office, I would wonder about Jasonian Arventus’ greatest desire. What was it that he had secretly coveted—that made him, his entire household, and every paraphernalia that moulded his persona, disappear overnight? Other days, I would imagine a different scenario, of which I didn’t suggest he trade his handkerchief for the bowler—would he still be boasting his grand and lavish lifestyle? Fortunately, on most days including the weekends, I left my inquisitive thoughts at the back of my mind. After all, if it wasn’t for Jasonian Arventus’ vanishing, I wouldn’t have learned about my sickly aunt in Chenonceaux, France.
Who knew that I—an ordinary man of no stature—could be someone of great importance. Who knew that society would someday say my name—the entire moniker, Aarion Beastanol, that should not and could not be shortened to the likes of a commoner. Perhaps, Jasonian Arventus was right about the handkerchief—luck was now on my side. And should I be offered a hat in exchange, I would be less of a madman to make the same mistake.
Hat, handkerchief, and car were words given by Manua De Cia.
I wrote this with Discombobulate, from the Sherlock Holmes film soundtrack, on repeat. It may or may not have anything to do with the tone and setting of this story. Also, the names were given by a friend—an inside joke that could have, possibly, inspired the characters themselves.
Now, it’s your turn! Write a story of your own with the three words given. And while you’re at it, feel free to challenge me with 3 MORE WORDS in the comment section below!
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3 Words, 1 Story © 2019 by Jeyna Grace. All rights reserved.
(Click HERE for a list of stories in this writing challenge.)