Chapter One

Chapter One

A Chapter by Algee

The Boston Social Club set is out to destroy one of its own.

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Greetings!  Let me begin by telling you that Whit Taylor is striding confidently across Boston Common on this frightfully bright Spring day, the very picture of youthful exuberance.  His thick blond hair is bouncing up and falling perfectly back into place as he weaves through the throng of self-absorbed pedestrian commuters, slow-moving hourly workers, head-bobbing pigeons and aggressive squirrels as if they were all slogging through a thicker gravity than he.  To the casual observer (a group you have already surpassed) Whit would appear to be on top of the world when in fact and unbeknownst to him he was on his way to receive the biggest rejection of his life.

     The poor b*****d.  

     Here is a fellow who was Captain of his high school and college Crew teams, a strapping six-foot-two with piercing blue eyes, wide shoulders and always perfectly disheveled blond hair. He is rich, handsome, a Harvard grad and has just passed the Massachusetts Bar on the first try.  An insidiously happy and popular fellow, born to the nouveau rich, celebrated as his parent’s single greatest accomplishment, a young man who has never spat the bitter aftertaste of disapproval from his mouth, now on his way to get skewered in the first and thereby biggest rejection of his life.

     Please forgive my foray into Schadenfreude if I come across as somewhat gleeful in describing poor Whit’s rejection.  He is, after all, the Mary Poppins of mortal production.  Practically Perfect In Every Way.  Yet don’t we all take sinister pleasure in a privileged man’s failure? Sort of evening out the score, as it were?    

     And no, he is not on his way to a job interview.  Nothing so mundane as that. Nor is he going to get shot down by his girlfriend, that social force of nature known as Maddie Pendleton. (The girl is far too cunning for such drama, at least not now, at such a promising time in her boyfriend’s life.) He is, in fact, on his way to the Corinthian Club - the Harvard, Yale and Princeton of Boston’s elite social clubs �" one of the few organizations that possess the wealth of human achievement to comfortably dismiss a young man such as Whit.

     He will be rejected because, as I mentioned, he is of nouveau privilege and the blood that courses through the Corinthian Club’s ancient veins runs ‘true colonial blue’ with a roster that reads like the names signed below The Declaration of Independence. 

     Very much so, in fact.

     Reaching the limestone encased walnut door beside the polished brass Corinthian Club address plate, Whit confidently �" even, enthusiastically �" pulled the heavy door open and stepped inside.       Unfortunately, we cannot follow him in.  The Corinthian Club is just that exclusive. 

     However, based on my own experience and that of many others I have known who once were in the very supplicant position Whit finds himself right now, I can tell you with a high degree of confidence that what Whit was hearing inside was “I’m sorry Mr. Taylor.  You obviously have excellent credentials and a fine academic history, but the Corinthian Club’s membership is currently near capacity, and so it is our duty to hold the last few spots open this year for legacy appointees, families of heads of state, etc.  I’m sure you understand, and we wish you the best of luck in your search.” 


     In other words, those whose families arrived on The Mayflower…maybe, but the families who arrived on The Speedwell, in second place, as it were, need not apply.

     But the reason for my giddiness here has nothing to do with Whit himself but in his choice of club.  The Magnificent Mr. Taylor is destined for my club - the Tunnel Club �" and it simply won’t do to have him accepted by any other. Call it Fate, Divine Intervention or Man’s Inhumanity to Man, but the fact remains he was denied (to his astonishment) and will continue to be until he winds up at my club…for reasons far too complex to unpack just yet. 

     But let’s get back to Whit, the aforementioned  poor b*****d.      

     You see, being denied to an important social club in Boston is akin to being shunned, excommunicated, extradited, spurned, scorned, rebuffed, or whatever term different societies around the world choose to call it.  In short and in fact, Whit had been dismissed. This hollow-in-the-gut, worthless-in-the-world feeling was completely foreign to him. He was popular.  He had achieved every measure of success in his life so far. He had thought he was great. He had no reason to believe otherwise.  So when the nice well-dressed man with the impossibly bright smile at the Corinthian Club brought the hammer down on him he could say nothing. He could not feel anything save the gurgitation of his bowels.  Later he would find that he could not remember anything after ‘I’m sorry Mr. Taylor’, not even being escorted to the door. They denied him, and like it or not, he was now, officially, a failure.

     This he would have to live with.  This he would have to explain. 

     Poor Whit.  But from such painful experiences come growth, fortitude, strength of character they say.  True…true…but all of that takes time and, unfortunately for Whit, the second biggest rejection of his life was literally right around the corner.


     In the amusingly unfortunate way Life has of hitting a man when he is down, Whit left the Corinthian Club and rounded the very corner where the Bastion Society stood. He was, in fact, on his way to apply for membership there (as a second choice) but was forced to stop when three men emerged from the Club, carrying a wheelchair-bound young man down the steps and depositing him gently on the sidewalk beside Whit. 

     “Thank you, gentlemen.  Now see that a ramp is installed here at the main entrance without delay.”

     Impossibly rotten timing.


     “Whit Taylor, my Salutatorian, how are you?”

     “I’m good, um…”

     This is the dead stinking cat of personalities, Les Winthrop.  Had he had time to think upon it, he would have put Les Winthrop in the ‘Top Five People He Would Least Like To Run In To After Losing At The Corinthian Club’ list, after Maddie, her parents and his father. (His mother, like all mothers, would have supported him in any event.)  Amusingly unfortunate, indeed.

     Les spun his wheelchair jauntily in a circle , his boring blue silk tie whirling up from his sunken chest in a rallying wave of victory. 

     “Whit my friend, you are looking at the newest member of the Bastion Society.”

     Public face. Use your public face.

     “Wow.  Um…congratulations.”

     The men, all dressed in ‘servants tuxedos’ searched Les for further instructions, but he waved them away.  Whit noticed they seemed happy to leave.

     “The Bastion Society, Whit.  The Be-All and End-All of Boston business clubs.”

     I’m sorry, don’t you mean the Corinthian Club?  Oh no, that’s right. You qualified it with business club, rather than social club.

     “Yes, that’s amazing. Congratulations again.”      “Were you going in?”

     “Um, just now, yes.”

     “Well I’m not sure if I just fulfilled their new member quota or not…but mention my name when you get in there.  That should help.”

     Oh please…

     “You know, Whit…” Les pushed back on his chair, confidently popping the seat back and lifting the front wheels off the ground. “The Bastion Society accepts only the very best.”

     Yes Les, we know.

     “Yes, I know Les.”

     “As defined by their intellect and their adroitness.  Remember that word?”

     “Be adroit, yes.  Dr. Summers. Case studies.”

     “I was being dismissed, Whit.  Dismissed! Can you imagine what that would do to the Winthrop name?”

     This only served to slap Whit back to the realization that he would have to explain his failure at the Corinthian Club to his parents. And worse, Maddie.

     “So I slapped some adroit on them.”

     “You what?”

     “I asked them ‘how many handicapped people have been admitted here?’ Hah! They were holding my resume in their hands, Whit. The top legal student in Boston. So the next thing you know they’re entering my name into the Bastion Society roster.”

     “Well done…”

     “I always get what I want, Whit.”

     “Yes you do.”

     Whit wasn’t sure he wanted to be a member of a club that would admit Les Winthrop into its ranks.

     What the hell. I’m here.

     Whit straightened his tie and turned toward the imposing blue steel door. “Well, my turn I guess.”

     Les laughed and spun away.

     “Be adroit, Whit.”


     Twenty minutes later Whit was back on the sidewalk with no particular place to go and nothing to do but think. Life suddenly ‘sucked’, to use his term, and it all came upon him in the course of a single afternoon.  His mind was, understandably, spinning. 

     Was it something I did or said?  Are there some unburied skeletons in my past that people know about? Is it my parents?  How could I not be good enough?  Was Life Success predicated on playing an angle? Whoa! That‘s how Les got in!  Is that what it takes?  Jeez, are all of the successful people I know �" who ever were! �" successful because they played an angle and got access to…whatever it is that makes you successful? Is this what I have to do?  Is this the lesson I am supposed to be learning here?


     “They didn’t delight in you, did they?”


     Whit’s mind had been spinning so fast that he didn’t notice that a man had stopped and stood before him, throwing a shadow down on the bench Whit was sitting upon.  Whit looked up. The man looked absolutely ridiculous, wearing patchwork pants, a kelly green vest over a Sun yellow puffy pirate shirt with a jaunty straw Panama hat to top it all off.  He had asked him a question.

     This must be what surreal means.


     Whit tried to let the scene before him sink in, but it got sucked in to the maelstrom of emotional overload: the Corinthian rejection…the talk with Les…the idea that Les had been admitted to the Bastion Society…the Bastion rejection…the thought that he had to explain his failure �" both of them �" to his parents �" both of them �" and his girlfriend.  Even worse.  Then this weird figure before him, using a word like…what was it?


     “They didn’t delight in you, did they?”


      Whit tried to shake it all off.  This clownish figure before him was too clean to be a beggar.  There was that grave look of concern beneath his smile and those bright green eyes that held a deep and intelligent curiosity. But then there was that wild salt and pepper hair that streamed randomly out from beneath his hat in an almost homeless fashion…

     What? The? Hell?  (Oh Clive…I must say I am enjoying this!)


     “Delight in me?”

     The stranger smiled. People instinctively know how to read a fellow human’s smile and Whit tried to read the stranger’s for a clue. 

     He’s harmless. Not gay…not homeless…not threatening…not crazy…ok, maybe a little…not simple…not anyone I’ve met before or should know…who comes up and starts talking to you in the park?  A sales guy?  OK.  Go with that.

     “The Bastion.  I saw you come out of the Corinthian the same way.”

     It’s a Club thing then.  But Clubs don’t come to you…you go begging to them.


     Allow me to cut to the quick.  This is Clive Forster, one of my favorite people on Earth. Former Associate Psychology Professor at Harvard and currently Doorkeeper of the Tunnel Club, a lofty life position I had groomed him for and thankfully found him accepting two weeks after I perished.






© 2016 Algee

Author's Note

A work in progress. Any and all comments appreciated.

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Added on April 5, 2016
Last Updated on April 5, 2016
Tags: wealthy, society, Boston, lifestyle, legal battle



Saratoga Springs, NY

Former ad man turned playwright, with seven musicals - all produced - written with a musical partner. Now pursuing novel writing. more..