The Pennyfeathers, Part One: History
With her hand pressed against Master Bruce’s door, Ms. Doreen Pennyfeather glared down at the sandwich she had made for him. Unfortunately she had made the grave mistake of leaving the crusts on. Not wanting to anger her future employer she briskly made her way back to the kitchen. She glided through the large desolate hallways of Archer Manor with such poise and posture but at the same time she didn’t even make a sound. Just as she was taught. For six generations, spanning over one hundred years, the Pennyfeathers had always been loyal servers to the Archer business dynasty.
Starting in the late nineteenth a young cattle farmer named James Archer started a business in making leather gloves. The trend caught on quick with the upper class of the time and within a decade the name Archer became synonymous with leather clothing. By the time the company had been passed down to James’ grandson Anthony the family was world famous.
Decades of fashion was shaped by this family. But with fame also came controversy. It started in the early eighties when the fifth owner of the family company, Ewart Archer, refused to change with the times. Massive uproars and protest went against the company because it continued to use real leather. Not wanting to soil his great great grandfather’s dreams and ideals he refused to waver on the matter.
Soon the Archer leather company became obsolete because of synthetic materials and changing trends. The company was essentially gone by the turn of the millennium, leaving nothing but a memory and a vast fortune. But through the decades of hardships the Pennyfeather family was always by the side of the Archers.
Walter Pennyfeather was just a street tramp until he had the lucky break of becoming a butler to the famous James Archer. But somehow he became more than an employee to the man, he became a friend. And so the two families remained side by side as one working for the other.
Doreen always contemplated how lucky she was to be born into the life she had. At time the job was demanding but overall it was always a luxury to be where she was. Also she enjoyed the fact that she would never have to make a life decision. Her life was laid out for her. She was guaranteed to have the job she had from the moment she was born because it was her birth right and her duty. Genetically there was nothing else she really could do other than serve.
But she couldn’t help but think that there was one aspect of her life that was different and that was her relationship with Master Bruce. Obviously the spark that had kept James and Walter so close together didn’t necessarily make its way down the gene pool. She had heard stories from her mother and father about how they got along well with their counterparts in the family. But she didn’t quite have that with Bruce.
He was snide, lazy and crude. He had fallen victim to the twenty first century curse that since he was born into money then he had no reason to earn anything in his life. He spent most of his youth and even his adult life playing video games and not bothering to think about the future that he may, or may not, have as an Archer. Doreen never blamed Ewart for how he turned, he was a busy man trying to keep the company afloat, but she always did have bad feelings about the woman he had married. She wasn’t a particularly nice woman by her opinion.
But regardless of her feelings she never let them get in the way of her professionalism. In all her years of working for the Archers she never really let anything change her focus. Which is why it was all the more tragic that that her one slip up came on that day while she thought about how she had never been distracted. One way or another cockiness was unbecoming of her so maybe deep down this was her own personal punishment.
Doreen had made it back to the kitchen. With her mind slightly adrift she didn’t notice how close she had gotten to the counter and she stubbed her toe.
She gritted her teeth and tense most of her body. Most, because her wrists seemed to loosen up and the tray holding the sandwich almost fell to the ground. She recomposed herself just in time to avoid such a calamity.
She placed the tray down and rifled through the nearest drawer for a suitable knife. She found it quickly and began lining up her slice. It needed to be perfect. The cut had to remove all morsels of crust from the bread but at the same time there had to be a maximum amount of dough.
Her mind was swimming from the pain of her toe. It was so unlike her to be like this. She flicked her wrist downward to take a slice of crust. Just as she was doing so the door opened behind her. Normally this wouldn’t be anything to alarm or distract her but with the way her mind had become so unfocused she took a split second to look across the room.