A scion of a wealthy family lives up to his uncles’ expectations.
Stephen Lloyd Auslender’s The Streamlined Locomotive follows Theopolis P. Bezelbottom, the scion of a wealthy family of old-fashioned robber barons and leaders of industry. Theo has a family but is also separated from a sort of wife, Peggy Mae Sue, because he is known for his philandering. He is also known to be indolent and irresponsible, and he only does as little as possible to maintain his family. He expects to inherit the main part of one of the major railroads of the country as well as control of Hawgwaller County in Appalachia.
However, the patriarch and boss of the family, Uncle Throckmorton P. Bezelbottom, expects Theo to take active responsibility. Meanwhile, his Uncle Aloysius P. Bezelbottom also expects him to come up with a streamlined locomotive for the two-bit-third rate feeder railroad the county operates. Theo is well aware that he will lose his comfortable position in the family unless he succeeds in all the tasks he is now expected to perform. If he does not perform, he will lose his wealth and favored position in the family and be drafted into the Army just as World War II is about to break out.
The Bezelbottom family has a weird rule. Their leaders are named Aloysius and Throckmorton. Aloysius is a name assigned to the artists, never-do-wells, and dreamers of the clan. A member assigned as Aloysius does not have an ambition but will be given a task to lead the family. Throckmorton, on the other hand, is a name assigned to the intelligent, ambitious, and ruthless character of the clan. A Throckmorton is tasked to oversee accounting and finance. If a leader named Aloysius or Throckmorton dies, the young leader in training will change his name to Aloysius or Throckmorton.
Theopolis, or Theo, has been tasked to keep Aloysius out of trouble since the Aloysius of the family is a never-do-well. Theo’s main task is to resolve conflicts that his Uncle Aloysius is dealing with. Being the president and influencer of Hawgwaller County’s major industry, the Hawgwaller and Western Railroad Company Inc. (H & W Railroad), Aloysius wishes to have a streamlined locomotive for the county. Aloysius talks to Throckmorton about the plan but is denied. He sends Theo to convince Throckmorton. With this, Throckmorton tells Theo to finally take active responsibility rather than doing the minimum under Aloysius.
Being the second in command under Aloysius, Theo takes care of the task and does everything to accomplish the undertaking. If he does not complete this responsibility, he will lose his family inheritance and comfortable life. So, he goes to see Charles Chester Billingsbody, who tells him that he can have the streamlined locomotive parts manufactured. However, he has to ship them from Vulgaria, a place in Bulgaria that has never been conquered by America, the USSR, or any German ally.
Theo has always been known to show cowardice, but people did not know that he took a minor in acting and drama in college. He also earned a doctorate in foreign affairs at Yale University and an MBA at Wharton. He used his skills to show authority to the people of the H&W Railroad. Using his skills in acting, foreign affairs, and business, he is able to form a group of alliances and fulfill the tasks his uncles expect him to do.
The book uses imagery and humor to keep the readers engaged. It follows the track of a young man that people underestimate because he is expected to show no ambition or anything good with his life. However, a little push from his family helped Theo defy the negative expectations and fulfill the tasks assigned to him. The main takeaway of this book is to never underestimate anyone as there are still so many things to discover.
QUOTE| “The boss was allowed to dream and create, and I was there to see that they were carried out with the least amount of damage and, if at all possible, to actually earn a profit for the family.” – Theo P. Bezelbottom, The Streamlined Locomotive.
Book Title| The Streamlined Locomotive
Author| Stephen Lloyd Auslender
Publisher| Page Publishing, Inc.
Published date| August 10, 2020
Paperback Price| $14.95
Stephen Lloyd Auslender studied Industrial Design (B.S. Degree), then earned a Master’s Degree in Sculpture and a Doctorate in Creative Arts. Over the past fifty-plus years, he has taught and worked in Mechanical Design and Sculpture. He sees life as a combination of the comedy and tragedy masks of the theater. He has retired from the Mechanical and Educational fields and is presently sculpting and writing.
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