I’m really taken with the squawking desk chair, aren’t you? This chair can situate your characters in a particular time and place. Ruth Moore uses it admirably in her 1950s The Walk Down Main Street. You feel you almost know who this character is, what they do for a living (within a given range), and what their next move might be (punning). I was surprised to see it there on my recent rereading of her good book.
I can’t say for sure if James Nutting’s squawking desk chair came out of my reading Ruth Moore’s Maine novel. It may have. I don’t remember reading it previous to writing this scene below, quoted from the first book of The Gods Cycle.
Here’s the action, written 20 years ago, set in the decade before that. Which comes three decades after Ruth Moore’s squawking desk chair.
He rolls back his squawking desk chair and grabs his note pad, comes to the counter. Chrischana, Balder and the boys hang back, but Elvegy waves them close, saying, “These good people—Godfrey! it’s Chrischana Twitchell! You’re just in time t’see what an evil maniac our class voted Mr. Congeniality. Ithiel Bitman is—” her eyes grow large and shiny. She gestures toward the window. “She’s being—”
Gaping but mute the witnesses look on. From somewhere James Nutting produces an old box of Kleenex, and, discarding the first two as dusty, he begins feeding her clean tissues, one by one.
Now, if I can just find a picture of one.
Feel free to use the squawking desk chair in your early to mid-20th-century real or fantasy world: as far as I know at the moment, it is in the public domain. The pictures included here may not be, as they are pictures of vintage chairs for sale found during a search of Google images.