As promised, I've been looking into some of the more cryptic or unknown people here in Pale Forest. The first on my list was the foreman at the mill, Stanley Fouts.
Fouts is a large, imposing man. He is almost entirely bald-headed (and has been for years), but incredibly hairy everywhere else. His dark, deep-set eyes are usually hidden in a perpetual scowl, and his frame is heavy-set but powerful. I remember him being a harsh man, even back when my father worked at the mill. The years have done little to soften him.
He was furious with me when I was caught at the mill, which now seems only natural given what I found out about him. Of all the people in Pale Forest, Fouts is perhaps the most ardent "seperatist" around. He cares little for those he doesn't know personally and shows open disdain for anyone not from town. He apparently includes those who've migrated to Pale Forest (including me) in this general hatred. He is also quite secretive in his affairs, which seems to go hand-and-hand with the Pale Forest "us against the world" mindset.
As a result, it's been difficult to find out much about him. But I managed anyway.
Stanley Fouts traces his family back to basically the earliest days of Pale Forest. They have always been involved in the mill, as well, with at least six foremen coming from their ranks (some of the records have been lost or simply left blank, so the exact number is impossible to find). In fact, the Fouts line is sort of the de facto blue-collar group here in Pale Forest. That's a badge of honor, by the way; very little is judged with higher esteem here than doing one's duty without fail. Of course, that fact also lead to the family's blackest moment and darkest secret, too. Some sixty years ago, Warren Fouts, a previously outstanding member of his clan, let the lineage down.
Though it took some real digging to figure it all out (most of the blight had been stricken from history) there was just enough to piece together most of the story. Apparently Warren overstepped his rank-and-file stature by trying to become more. It seems despite the fact his job should have been passed along in an almost genetic fashion, he wanted a greater degree of power than it could afford. In fact, he even ran for mayor. Now, in most cultures, this wouldn't seem like a big deal, but there is a sort of caste system here in Pale Forest. And Warren had violated it.
Why he did, I can't say. The was no print given to his side of the story. The backlash, though, was swift. Not only did Warren Fouts lose the election (to Jack Huntley's great-great-uncle, no less), but the transgression set his family back for years. It wasn't until Stanley, in fact, that they were again trusted enough to be elevated to the top position at the mill. Obviously, Warren's stain took a while to wash away.
I can only imagine how much Stanley would appreciate me sharing this on the Internet. He has undoubtably done all he can to make the entire thing disappear so as to avoid any further embarrassment. Of course, the type of person who'd go to such lengths to maintain secrets is exactly the type of person I'm most interested in exposing.
Until next time...