No Smoking in the Workshop

Friday Fictioneers, January 31, 2014

A second story, 98 words

Historical fiction

New York’s garment district where Mary worked contained plenty of things that contributed to her cough. Her native American* shift lead insisted smoking tobacco would heal her cough. She doubted it, couldn’t afford it either.

Mary wished she and Shamus had never left Ireland. Their son, Patrick, wanted to head west. He had almost convinced Shamus by the time Mary got sick.

One month after the handkerchief first turned crimson from Mary’s cough, she collapsed during her shift. Two days later, Shamus gently closed her eyes and turned away. He wouldn’t stop walking until he and Patrick reached the West.

*Historical Note: In New York in the 1860s, New Yorkers who had been born in the United States referred to themselves as “native Americans” to differentiate between themselves and European immigrants.