Tarquin Saint Regis. Take 2

Tarquin Saint Regis is the older of two sons.  He does not consider himself to be in the good graces of his younger brother, Branford.  In truth, Tarquin isn’t in the good graces of the entire family Saint Regis, a position owed mostly to the fact that Tarquin has refused to take part in any of the familial enterprises.  It broke his mother Bronwyn’s heart so greatly that she cried for two weeks straight and then did not leave her bed for another three months.  His father, MacArthur, burned down the family’s summer home on the Allegheny and declared that Tarquin was dead to him.

Tarquin is a dandy.  Before turning his back on the Saint Regis family’s considerable steel empire, he had developed a penchant for tweed suits and wingtips.  A penchant so strong that Tarquin had the Harris Tweed Orb tattooed over his heart (directly below and incorporating the Scottish cross that was already tattooed there) on his eighteenth birthday.  His exit from the family’s wealth has not hurt his foppishness too much, and he still manages to wear a different suit for each day of the week.

Since moving out of his family’s sphere of influence, Tarquin has found himself reading more.  He spends hours at the public library (ironically it is a Carnegie library, funded from the coffers of another Scottish steel magnate), and is working his way through the shelves from Abbot to Zola.  He surreptitiously scribbles notes into the books’ margins and if a subsequent reader were clever enough, they would discover that the scribblings add up to Tarquin’s magnum opus: a story of three brothers who kidnap Satan and attempt to extort their immortality from him.

Saint Regis rents an efficiency on the eighth floor of an antiquated apartment.  There is no elevator and, in his scaling and descending, he often has to step over sleeping or passed-out forms at some point on the eight flights of stairs.  Aside from his army-surplus cot and scratchy wool blanket that smells of fried potatoes and wet dog, Tarquin’s apartment is austerely unfurnished.  There is a sink mounted to the wall behind the door, but the water is brackish and tinged with rust.  When he first moved in, Tarquin had tried keeping an orchid plant, but the tap water killed it within two days.  He finds poetic irony in the death of his plant, and has yet to remove the wilted remains and pot from the windowsill.

Tarquin is aware that his family is looking for him.  His mother sends money to the Pittsburgh Post Office’s Main Office, addressed to Tarquin Saint Regis, General Delivery.  Along with the money, there is usually a small note.  The most recent note described how MacArthur had begun plans to rebuild the summer home.  MacArthur had also declared that Tarquin was no longer dead to him and he was waiting with fatted calf for the return of his prodigal son.  Tarquin had replied only once to these letters from his mother.  His message had been brief, containing only two words: Don’t Wait.

Still, the letters come bimonthly.



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