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Four roses for mother, four columbines for Miss O'Toole. Kero, Melvin

Abstract

In the absence of his regular supervisor, Arvo Maki, an emotionally immature young man working as a designer in-a Vancouver department store, is informed by Moore, the rent plan draughtsman, that a girl, Vara, is joining the design office, and Maki feels threatened. His current design project is an enormous plaster Pegasus for the Fashion Floor. At home, he is suddenly told by his alcoholic mother that she is opening a bootlegging joint during the July 1 weekend, about ten days away. In this ten day interval, Maki loses his virginity to Vara, promises to take her away for part of the weekend, moves his mother to her planned bootlegging joint, gets drunkenly involved with a cripple who travels about on a skateboard, and holds a mock funeral for Moore in the design office. With Vara on the camping trip near a town of Maki's childhood, he drifts irresolutely between the past and the present. In an attempt to ingratiate himself with her after an argument, he reveals the plan to open the bootlegging joint. She wants to come as The painted Woman. On the night of the opening, the grotesquely dressed Vara, disappointed and drunk, gets her nose broken by Maki's possessive mother, he pitches rocks and his paintings into the house, and is arrested and jailed for drunkenness. He spends the night with the skateboard cripple in the drunk tank, and on their release in the morning, they move off to begin a business of their own, that of making names in silver wire. The intent of the story is to make an arabesque of ideas, acts, and images that the central figure, an unwilling eclectic, cannot resolve.

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