Eloise Gramine

The Banker stood at Eloise Gramine’s door, suitcase in hand, a doleful look spread across his face like rancid butter.

“Raven kicked me out. Can I stay until my next paycheck?”

Eloise stood aside; allowed The Banker to enter. She studied her slippers, noted the small tear along the right toe.

“Aren’t you going to say anything?”

Dust moats slanted past the faded red curtains and shattered on the hardwood floor. “It’s good to see you.”

The Banker shouldered past Eloise. “I need a shower.”

Eloise heard the guest bathroom door slam; heard the shower sputter, the water murmuring to itself. She padded to the kitchen to put on a pot of coffee. A cardinal lit on the crabapple tree outside her window, its tiny claws gripping the thin branch.

“Mother!” The Banker entered the kitchen, a faded towel wrapped around his waist, a shampoo bottle in his hand.”You have hundreds of dollars in here.”

“Thousands.” Neatly rolled up and tucked inside. Another couple of hundred in the conditioner, not that he needed to know.

The Banker pulled out a chair and sat. “You normally bring your own shampoo.” Some fancy-pants crap supposed to attract women, but smelling, Eloise thought, of motor oil.

“You need to see a doctor.” The Banker stood and headed for his bedroom.

Eloise followed him. “Whatever for?” She averted her eyes as he dropped the towel and stepped into his boxers.

“You have a problem.”

She laughed. “Seems like you’re the one with problems, both women and money.”

“One does not keep money in an empty shampoo bottle.”

“There’s been a string of robberies in town. Who’d think to look in the shower?”

“That’s quaint, Mother.” The banker buttoned his cuffs, shook the bills from the bottle. “I’ll put it in the bank. Get you some decent interest.”


The Banker grabbed his suitcase. “I’ve got to go, Mother.”

Eloise stood at the door, fingers grasping the frame, watching her son walk down the sidewalk to his car.


This was written for this week’s Trifecta Writing Challenge. The word was quaint.

27 thoughts on “Eloise Gramine

  1. I love how her calling him The Banker both identifies how she thinks of this son and how distant their relationship has become. I also love how neither of them is either right nor wrong here. Really, it’s her money, she should be able to do any damn thing she pleases with it. But it’s easy to see how a grown child who isn’t close to his mother would perceive this as some kind of illness. And how he could be right.

  2. I liked your story. And, I’m jealous. I have not gotten the legs yet to add description to my stories… mostly I think I forget. I love this line A cardinal lit on the crabapple tree outside her window, its tiny claws gripping the thin branch., and how you used it. I found that he was casually dressing in front of his mother interesting.

    • Thanks, Ted. I didn’t know if I could get away with lit or had to go with alit, which I didn’t like. Tough to get that description in with 333 words, isn’t it? That limit also perhaps explains why he’s casually dressing in front of his mother…

  3. I think the banker/son is a pretentious jerk (yep, I’m judgmental!) The mom’s house her business and he should stay out of it- the house and her business 🙂

    • Tend to agree with you, JannaT (about the son, not you). He’s a bit of a pain and only comes to her when he needs something.

  4. As Ted says – great detail – that cardinal in particular. I love the distance of ‘The Banker.’ His mother ought to give him a bit more distance. Great scene, Kelly. I hope his mother has more shampoo bottles filled with cash hidden around the house. Nice writing.. as always.

    • Thanks, Steph – I hope she’s got more bottles hidden away as well, because I think this one is gone.

  5. As usual, a wonderful story full of so many details you feel like you’ve finished a novel when you stop reading it. Awesome characterisation of both Eloise and The Banker and I especially love Eloise’s thoughts to herself! May she fill as many bottles as she wants with her money! Thanks for linking up!

  6. Oh, Kelly, this is so good!
    The characters are perfectly etched, the scene set and transcurring so slowly, the tone of the dialogue measured just so.
    The cardinal’s claws, her fingers. The way quaint fits in so perfectly.
    And in the end she watches her son, not the Banker, leave. < 3

  7. Love the way you weave your stories-so enchanting with the small details embedded like well polished diamonds:-)I feel sorry for the mom here-what a son to have-a real bad ‘un-no wonder she hides/hoards money in strange places!A fabulous tale,like always Kelly 🙂

    • Thanks, Jody. I was experimenting with not naming the son and avoiding as much as possible their relationship to get across the idea that they didn’t get along.

    • Thanks, Draug! Who knows where the idea of cash in a shampoo bottle came from? Definitely different!

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