Saturday, December 20, 2008

My Fiend Lucife

This short story appeared in the Winter 1951 issue of The Baylorian, a college literary magazine of which my mother was editor during part of her tenure at Mary Hardin-Baylor College. It was inspired by a quirk of her own typewriter.

Until ecently, Lucife has been a vey good fiend of mine. We woked togethe in pefect hamony until he got subbon and stated ejuvenating the alphabet. We wote lettes, stoies, poety, and hied out to type tem themes of othe people. Fo this we ecived ten cents pe page, and we split the poceeds evenly. Lucife spent his pat fo cleaning fluid and fesh ibbon, and I geneally got no futhe than the bookstoe with my pat.

Lucife used to be quite popula in ou domitoy. Someone boowed him almost evey night. The only complaint eve made against him was his tendency to cul up his ibbon in a knot and efuse to budge, but he neve did this unless he was tied o mad about something. He's a little tempemental. He only tied it with me once. I was typing a theme about Geoge Washington, and Lucife can't stand Geoge Washington. He hates him because so many people conside him the geatest man in the histoy of Ameica. Lucife thinks M. emington and M. and ae the geatest figues in the histoy of the whole wold, not to speak of Ameica. I can undestand his viewpoint.

Lucife is lagely esponsible for my usual state of unemployment. We wite numeous lettes of application, but someone else always gets the job. Afte all, who wants to hie someone who gives evey indication of being completely ignoant of the existence of a cetain lette of the alphabet? I tied to explain this to Lucife, but he seems to think that if the Southenes can ignoe the eighteenth lette, why can't he? Maybe he's got something thee.

Some people ae naow-minded enough to believe that a typewite has neithe pesonality o, speaking simply, mental capacity. I know this to be a fallacy, and if Lucife had hind legs I'm sue he would stand up on them and chee that statement. He pides himself on his intelligence and he has his pesonal likes and dislikes same as eveyone else. Fo instance, he has a geat weakness fo a cetain light fom of beveage. And until he has had his moning potion of Happlespoon's All Pupose Machine Oil, he's as unbeaable as some people befoe they've had thei beakfast coffee.

As fo dislikes, he cannot bea the sight of my oommate. Thei elationship was puely satisfactoy until the cold winte night she left him out of his case and caused him to catch a hoible cold. Since that time, thee has been a distinct ai of coolness between them. Lucife does not fogive easily.

Fom all this I have evealed of Lucife's pivate life, one might come to the conclusion that said typewite has a key loose somewhee. Be that as it may, I have neve come upon him clicking to himself, and until I do, I shall maintain my faith in his sobiety.

Indeed, if he would only stop being subbon and tempeamental, I would be vey happy to esume ou pleasant fiendship. Lucife could be a geat help to me, but instead he causes me to get low gades in English, and it's all his fault that no one eve wites to me. Who wants to coespond with someone who misspells eve othe wod?

I've tied aguing, pleading, easoning and theats, but nothing seems to wok. Lucife just sits thee looking exaspeatingly unconcened. I guess I'm stuck with him, and I may as well stat getting used to a 25 lette alphabet. Oh, dea!

Now for the younger generation that came along after the demise of the manual typewriter, I will explain that Mr. Remington and Mr. Rand referred to the manufacturers of a major brand of typewriter. I personally was partial to the product of Mr. Underwood and actually achieved a speed of 72 words per minute on an Underwood back in 1971. Believe it or not, children, that included having to return the carriage yourself at the end of every line. And you poor kids have never known the thrill of a key-jam, let alone the joys of threading in a new ribbon and ending up with blackened fingers. Ah, the good old days.

This was murder to rekey. I bet the typesetters for the magazine could have throttled Mother for this story.


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