This is my interpretation of the short story “Ordeal” by Cheque. This is a life story of Lawrence Exeter Jr., the son of the wealthy Lawrence Exeter Sr. told by using checks. Throughout the exposition and rising action of this short story, is characterizing the protagonist, Lawrence Jr. to prepare for the climax and resolution of the short story, *spoiler alert* where he dies in the hospital he was born in.
It was September 2, 1903, when the wealthy couple Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence Exeter had with a child—Lawrence Jr. who they named after his father. They were especially careful this time after having an unsuccessful child a year ago, so Lawrence Jr. was often spoiled with expensive toys and bikes. Once he was 7 years old, he was educated in the prestigious all-boys school, then in a military academy. On his 18th birthday, his parents bought him a sleek black Cadillac and paid for it every time it was wrecked. Even though Lawrence Jr. was spoiled and often missed school, he still had excelling grades and was accepted to Stanford University later that year.
The same year Lawrence Jr. went to college, his mother’s parents were seriously ill, so she flew back to England to look after them. Lawrence Sr. now is living alone in his mansion. Being an attractive and wealthy businessman, he needed countless ways to keep himself occupied whilst his wife and son weren’t in Hollywood. He became infatuated with his neighbor, Miss Daisy Windsor, who always wanted to go to university and become a teacher.
Lawrence Sr. often wrote Daisy notes and bought her luxurious gifts, though, she never paid much attention, and whenever he tried to show his affection, she shields away, explaining that she respected Mrs. Exeter too much to become a mistress. Lawrence Sr. thought of a solution and gave her a check of $25,000 to pay for university. Daisy couldn’t refuse the opportunity, so she accepted Lawrence Sr. and together, they traveled to France in exchange for her education.
Daisy’s trip to France was filled with expensive outings to dinners, romantic boat and strolls in parks. Then in November, Lawrence purchased an expensive 14-karat, glistening diamond ring and proposed to her, promising to divorce his wife once she returned from England. Daisy was bewildered and tried to refuse, but he threatened to cut the deal and not pay her college tuition, so she reluctantly agreed to marry him. Soon after, they honeymooned in Hawaii. From there, they sent a letter to Lawrence Jr. announcing their marriage. Lawrence Sr. feared his son would tell his mother and disapprove of the marriage, so he also sent his checkbook with a note permitting him to spend the money freely.
Receiving the little package his father sent, Lawrence Jr. was too stunned by the amount of money handed to him to even give another thought about his father remarrying. He began buying some expensive chocolates, delicately crafted gowns for Gabrielle, someone he met while an outing with his friends. Lawrence Jr. also bought himself a pair of thick leather boots with three large diamonds. His life was fulfilled until he encountered Tony Spagoni.
One night, Tony encountered Lawrence Jr. in an alley, pressing a gun to his head wanting $126. Lawrence agreed immediately and wrote the check. They went their separate ways until a week later when Tony returned. This time he encountered Lawrence Jr. after he brought Gabrielle home. Tony was armed with a gun, demanding another $126. Lawrence gave him the money since he had plenty to spare. As weeks turned to months, Lawrence Jr. developed feelings towards his childhood friend, Flossie. He bought her exorbitant gifts and wanted her to become his wife. However, Flossie didn’t like the change. She was afraid her friendship with Lawrence Jr. would fall apart. Lawrence Jr.’s understood Flossie, however, he couldn’t ignore the feelings he has developed. His entire life, everyone surrounded him, from his parents to his female friends; he was the sun and everyone else was the orbiting planets, but Flossie was always different. Lawrence Jr. found a way to persuade her. He always knew she wanted to sell her designs, so he gave her a check of $50,000. Flossie was shocked and couldn’t help but to accept his proposal.
As months passed, Lawrence Jr. and Flossie’s marriage became complicated and together they decided to be friends was the solution. They divorced on June 20. On the same day, Lawrence Jr. proposed to Marie Wharton. Again, he offered her $175,000, and Marie agreed to be his wife.
It was around July when Tony came back into Lawrence’s life. He cornered Lawrence Jr. in the alley of a coffee shop. Tony, once again, threatened him with a gun and demanded money. Lawrence Jr. has previously contacted his friend, seeking help. His friend helped Lawrence Jr. hire people—Walker, and a group who called themselves Wall & Smith, to take care of Tony Spagoni.
Lawrence Jr. laid on the blood-soaked sheets of a hospital bed. His father flew to the Hollywood hospital and contacted the man who reported seeing Lawrence Jr. He was found covered in blood with his checkbook peeking out of his pockets, but no one knew actually happened. As days passed, his health continued to drop. Even Dr. David M. McCoy, one of the world’s most esteemed doctors couldn’t rescue Lawrence Jr. He died on 10 days later on July 15, 1931. Once again, there lived only one Lawrence Exeter.