Goodbyes.

I love writing short stories which capture single moments; instances which are often overlooked. This is one such short piece inspired by the accompanying painting, observation and my own experience of leaving.


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Goodbyes are strange things, often they are the closing of a book before the end, before the story is finished, leaving so much unsaid and undone.

Forever a moment tinged with sadness for what may have been, whilst lingering expectation of future calls from beyond the now.

Enhanced for me by the hissing of steam locomotives and the rattle of passing railway carriages. I find the very intrinsic transient nature of the station heightens the poignancy. You see today I go to my future; a place where hesitant anxiety skulks in the shadows of trepidation.

Stepping from the platform onto the train is confirmation of my intent, yet my heart is heavy with sadness. The weighty clunk of the door signals finality. The solid steel and wood closing off possibility of concede.

Leaning from the open window I look into her eyes.  Deep brown pools glistening with wetness, teardrops not yet formed. My heart flutters in the presence of her beauty, as it always does.

Leaving her is my greatest regret. Pale skin, gentle, soft. Hair that cascades over her shoulders, which lays upon the morning pillow, a delta, a million threads sparkling in rising suns light. Oh, how I shall miss her warmth, her scent, her childish laughter and her smile.

I reach forward as she steps closer. Wrapping my arms about her slenderness I pull her to me, hold her close. Comfort, comradeship, love.

She lifts her face, powder and rouge, lipstick and Coco Chanel. Pouting she reaches to me. My lips taste hers, sweet, soft, eager. I can feel her skin through the light cotton of her dress. My body floods with desire, with passion. Yet overall the sadness of parting drapes around my soul, a black cloak of earnest despondency.

One moment. One solitary final moment. It is all I have left.

The shrill shriek of the stationmaster’s whistle pierces the air cutting lose the threads of safe harbour. Our lips part, my hands slip unwillingly from her body. The train moves, a grunt, a hiss of steam, another whistle.

My destiny awaits.

I stand looking back. One hand raised, a forlorn attempt to wave. She smiles back, gesturing in return. Small rivers, silver tears run down her cheeks. Too soon she is gone from sight. I fight to retain her image freshly in my mind. That last look. Sad inevitability painted upon her perfect face, the tears which enhanced her beauty. I want, need to capture that, burn it into my memory, etch it there for eternity.

Sitting back I keep my eyes closed, not wanting her light to escape. The faint odour of Coco Channel prevails, the waxy smudge of lipstick. Her laughter is conjured within my mind, giggles, childlike, almost a squeal.

I wonder if I shall ever set eyes upon her again.

Who knows the future, who knows what destiny holds in store?

Not I.

Goodbyes are strange things, often they are the closing of a book before the end, before the story is finished, leaving so much unsaid and undone.

.

   © Paul White 2015

Please visit my website and browse through my books, if you read one, or more, please leave a review so I know your view.

Thank you.  http://paulznewpostbox.wix.com/paul-white

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The Fifth Chapter

I have to say, this is one of my favourite short pieces. It was so much fun writing and I am sure, at some point in the future, Marylin and Gordon may just make another appearance.


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I was sitting at my desk, reading over my first draft, again. I am calling it my first draft, but in reality, it is just a pile of notes and rough plot guides put into chronological order, (sort of), with a few added scribbles here and there.

In fact, the whole thing is a bit of a mess. But hey, you have to start somewhere.

Even as rough and messy as this draft was I could still see promise in its outline. The places I used in the story were mostly real places, like my office; only instead of being in the rear of my house, the fictional office was on the second floor of a run-down building in the centre of the city and it was not ‘my’ office in this story, but Gordon’s.

Gordon is a private eye, one of the old ‘gumshoe’ tradition.Marilyn_Red_SamShaw_t800

I was happy with the other characters too, particularly Marilyn the demure blond bombshell. (Think Marylin Monroe. Okay, not so original but perfect for my story.)

Only Marilyn had an ulterior motive in seeking Gordon’s help; there was something from her past, something hidden, something bad which was now creeping up on her. I was not sure what it was yet but it was there, smouldering under the surface, as was Marilyn’s sensuality.

I know this format, the gorgeous (blond) girl, the private detective, who was down on his luck as far as the whiskey was down the in the bottle, add a hint of foreboding and sex… it was nothing new. It was a tried and tested structure of many books. Yet, as I re-read my draft I knew I have something special here. This was a nineteen fifties style novel, a pulp fiction, stiletto-esque paperback being brought up to date, dragged kicking and screaming into the modern world. (at least, I hope that is how it will turn out.)

I knew it was not going to be any ordinary story because, even to me, the writer, the creator of this fantasy, there was an element of surreal fact, a touching, almost tangible reality to this tale.

manuscript_250pxBy the time I re-read through the manuscript as far as chapter five, making margin notes and a few changes along the way, my eyes were weary and my mouth parched. It was time for a break, a cigarette and a coffee. I would dearly have loved a double Scotch too, but it was way too early for that.

 

I leant back in my chair, stretched my back, listening to those small creaks and cracks as bones and tendons moved for the first time in hours. I pressed save. There was no way I was trusting all my work to auto-save, not again. I closed the file and picked up the ceramic mug, which my daughter bought me for Father’s Day and walked out of the office.

My mind was still racing with thoughts of the story, what steps Marylin should take next and would Gordon listen seriously? So, it took me three, maybe four steps before I realised something strange was happening. I stopped, blinked twice, looked left and then right, rubbed my eyes and looked again.

I was no longer in my home. I was not in even in my house.

I was in that run-down office building in the city, on the second floor, outside the gumshoes office, the very office, the very building I created in my mind while writing my book.

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This was impossible. I must be sleeping. I must have fallen asleep at my desk and this was all in my dream.

I pinched myself. It hurt. I was not sleeping.

‘Where’s Gordon?’ Her husky voice drifted along the dimly lit corridor. I knew without looking, without turning around it was Marilyn.

Her voice was exactly how I imagined it would be.

The click-click of stiletto heels echoed as she came closer, each step sending a shiver of expectation and bemused wonderment down my spine.

I turned around to face her.

‘What have you done with Gordon?’ she asked.

‘Nothing,’ I said, shaking my head.

I could not believe I was talking to a figment of my imagination.

‘You’ve deleted most of him, you’ve deleted those paragraphs.’ Marilyn, I noticed was shorter than I envisaged her to be. I would have to do something about that.

‘I haven’t deleted them, I have saved them, I need to re-work them,’ I spoke defensively.

Here I was in some sort of netherworld, talking about the book I am writing, a work in process, with a fictional character who, as of this moment only existed within my mind.

Yet, it all seemed so real.

I could smell Marilyn’s scent. It was Coco Channel, No 5.

Marilyn slid a long, thin pink cocktail cigarette from a gold case, placed it between her bright red lips and lifted her head towards my own. Automatically, I reached into the pocket of my jacket and took out my cigarette lighter. I always use a disposable lighter, because I am constantly losing them, but here, in this twilight world, I acquired a heavy gold, Du Maurier.

 

Unperturbed, I held it towards Marilyn, watching the flames light as it reflected in the 5d14058f7c3dc37d0567cc7fc6eeff27deep blue pools of her eyes. Marilyn closed those bright red lips around the gold covered filter and drew in deeply until the tip of her pink Sobranie was glowing red.

She managed to turn this simple act into one of sexual suggestion, of illicit promise, a hint of a secret shared.

‘Thank you,’ she sighed, blowing out a perfect ring of blue smoke that meandered lazily upwards, spiralling towards the glass orbs of the industrial lighting suspended from the vaulted ceiling.

‘I’m making some coffee,’ I said, holding up my mug as if to justify the statement. My own cheap ceramic mug had disappeared. It had been replaced by a brown glazed cup.

I was not disturbed, but rather fascinated by the fact.

Marilyn smiled. I could not help but notice the way her head tilted to the right as she did. I found it quite endearing. It was something I would have to write into her character.

‘I’ll wait inside,’ she said and clicked her way along the hall towards the office door.

I had never been here before, never imagined this part of the building, yet somehow I knew the coffee was made in a small room further along this corridor. The doorway would be on my right. A small plaque would be etched with the legend ‘still room.’

It was.

When I returned to my (Gordon’s) office, Marilyn was sitting on my (Gordon’s) chair behind the desk. I sat on one of the two chairs facing the desk. (one of two chairs I do not have.) As I placed the coffee cups on the table I noticed my laptop was now an old, clunky looking Imperial Typewriter. Chrome metal, black keys inlaid with discoloured ivory coloured letters. I said an inwardly silent prayer to the gods of digital storage; when (and if), I ever returned to the ‘real’ world, I asked that all my work would still exist.

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Marilyn tossed a pile of papers towards me. Dark blue carbon paper slipping from between sheets of typewritten foolscap.

‘That will never work,’ she said dismissively, waving one hand in the air.

I picked up the sheets of typewritten copy. This was my story, Marilyn’s story, Gordon’s story. These papers were sections of the manuscript of my book.

‘What do you mean, this is brilliant.’

‘Oh please, Paul,’ Marilyn walked around the desk, placed a hand on the back of my neck and lent forward. I could feel the silky talcum powder softness of her cheek, pressing against mine as she rested her chin on my shoulder.

‘Look,’ said Marilyn, running a long ruby painted fingernail along the lines of text, ‘That’s far too modern to be taken seriously, what on earth were you thinking?’

Slowly and deliberately Marilyn read my story out aloud. It was strange hearing her voice, the smoky, sexy, husky voice which I created, reading out my story line by line.

I had to hand it to her, like many writers I convinced myself I was writing a masterpiece. I was so wrapped up, so involved in my work I failed to see the flaws, failed to step back and read it for what it was, a piece of work which not only needed a lot of heavy editing but needed an entire overhaul, to be re-worked altogether.

When Marilyn got to the fifth chapter, I had had enough.

I held up my hands in surrender.

Marilyn casually tossed the manuscript back onto the desk, the sheets of paper sliding into disarray.

Turning my head, I looked at her. ‘You are right, I have a lot of work to do to get this right.’ I admitted.

‘Yes, you have, but I know you can do it.’ Marilyn placed one hand on the side of my head, turning it towards her, she kissed me. It was a sweet taste of smoked honey, smeared with a waxiness of deep red lipstick and scented with face powder.

‘You must do it,’ she said, ‘If not, both Gordon and I shall die.’

It was a point, like so many, I had not considered.

‘I must go now. I must let you concentrate,’ Marilyn winked at me and click-clicked out of the office.

Looking back at me over her shoulder she said, ‘Please, don’t let us down. I don’t want to die yet, not yet, not when I have never fully lived.’

I listened to the sound of her stiletto’s fading away into the distance as she walked the length of the corridor.

Placing my hands over my eyes, I let my forehead rest on the desk while I tried to assimilate what was occurring. How in the name of all possibility have I wandered into my own fictional world?

My next recollection is the knocking on the office door. Looking up I rather tetchily shouted ‘Yes, yes, come in’.

My wife entered with a freshly brewed mug of coffee. 4410471775_4ca51b8c0e

‘You have been in here for so long, I thought you would need a drink by now’ she said, looking at me quizzically.

Placing my own cheap ceramic mug, full of steaming coffee on the table, I watched as she collected the two brown nineteen fifties style cups from my desk.

I looked around, my office was as it should be. It was back to normal, my laptop sat in the centre of my desk, notepads, pens and my mobile phone lay where they belonged. I must have nodded off after all. It must have been a dream, but the brown cups my wife had just collected… maybe we had them all along?

I walked to the door and opened it, cautiously peering out, both left and right, before daring to set foot outside. Thank goodness, I was still at home and not in some imaginary corridor. I headed for the bathroom, where I ran a bowl of hot water, ready to wash the tiredness from my face.

In the mirror, I saw the face powder on the shoulder of my jacket where Marilyn had rested her chin. There was also a smudge of bright red lipstick on my left cheek. I could also detect the lingering scent of Coco Channel, No 5.

chanelno5THE END

© Paul White 2018

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I hope you enjoyed that short tale? If so why not check out my longer short stories, my ‘Novelettes’ at Electric Eclectic books HERE 

You will find plenty of captivating stories to choose from myself and my fellow Electric Eclectic authors.

Go take a peek, now 🙂

Paul.

 

 

Mr Harrington

Mr Harrington is a short story, a comedic piece of flash fiction I wrote about two years ago. I have decided to post ‘Mr Harrington’ on A Little more Fiction for several reasons, the first is, due to other commitments, I have been unable to post here as often as I wish and feel in some way I am letting my ardent followers down.

Secondly, since I reblogged ‘A Preserve of Love’ a few days ago, I have gained a number of new followers, so I hope this story will be received, as a way of a thank you, by them.

Lastly, but not least, I hope you will take some time to browse the stories I have here at the moment. Most are mine, but I do have a couple of guest posts. I frequently change the stories on show, never allowing a large number to be present at any one time.

Hopefully, you will enjoy my various writing styles and genres and, leading on from that, I would like to think you will take a peek at my website HERE and maybe purchase one or more of my books.

Alternatively, you could take a look at Electric Eclectic’s website HERE. I have written several Electric Eclectic novelettes such as the psychological drama Three Floors Up, North to Maynard, an urban ghost-in-the-machine tale, Miriam’s Hex a lighthearted black comedy of greed and latent curses and, my latest addition, The Orb, a high octane, urban fantasy speculative thriller.

Anyway, on with the show as they say, (whoever ‘they’ are?)

 

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Mr Harrington

 

Something astounding happened yesterday I must tell you about.

I was standing at the kitchen sink, washing the dishes from lunch and gazing out of the window as I did so. In the corner of the kitchen, little Jack was playing with his favourite toy, a fabric clown. I could see Jack’s delight each time he made the clown squeak.

Outside, a flock of sparrows were devouring some crusts I tossed on the lawn earlier and I could see Mr Harrington pottering about in his garden, which adjoined the end of ours.

It was pretty much an ordinary and uneventful day until Mr Harrington looked my way.

In fact, I am sure he looked directly at me. A strange type of challenging stare. It was most unusual for him to look at me in such a way and most disconcerting.

Mr Harrington then stood, stretched his back and began running towards me. With one flying leap, he hurdled the back fence, continuing to run at full speed the entire length of our garden, scattering the sparrows as he neared the house.

Mr Harrington did not stop running, he came dashing through the kitchen door, ran straight up to little Jack and hit him on the side of his head with a vicious, swinging swipe, before turning around and dashing off.

Jack spun across the floor and slammed into the cupboard doors. His toy clown flew into the air, bounced on the floor with a pathetic little squeak before coming to rest under the kitchen table.

The entire act happened so quickly, I only had time to pull my hands from the suds and pick up a towel ready to dry them, by which time Mr Harrington was halfway back down the garden and heading home.

Jack was far quicker than I. He scrambled to his feet and was after Mr Harrington like a flash, jumping on him and raking his claws along his back. The two cats tumbled and twisted, matted clumps of fur flying into the air and letting loose a series of those blood-curdling, high pitched, ear shattering screeches and meows that resonating throughout the entire estate during the early hours of the morning.

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Mr Harrington

Catching up with them I clapped my hands, stamped my feet and shooed at them. Mr Harrington giving up the fight and running home, while Jack came and rubbed himself around my ankles like a furry slinky, purring away as if nothing untoward had occurred.

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JACK

Looking up, I saw Mr Harrington sitting on the fence between the two gardens washing his paws. He looked back at me, head slightly tilted and wearing an expression which said: “This ain’t over yet.”

I know this to-do is mostly my responsibility.

You see, until I brought Jack back from the animal sanctuary, we welcomed Mr Harrington into our house and garden, fed him on occasion and spoilt him with tidbits of ham and the odd prawn or two.

Now Jack is here, Mr Harrington feels pushed out. He is understandably displeased and disgruntled.

 

End.

© Paul White 2016

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A Preserve of Love

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 Today I made jam.

 Blackberry jam with the fruits from my garden, the final harvest of the year.

These Blackberries are plump and juicy. They have such an intense flavour and sweetness which comes from the fact they are actually wild Brambles I have tended, with love and affection, during the past three years.

I have ensured these Blackberries have a rich soil, a solid foundation in which to sink their roots. I have fed and watered them whenever they needed attention.

I cared for each leaf, gently dusting off the debris which fell upon them as caringly as I untwisted the mess and tangles they got themselves into.

I marvelled at the beauty of their flowers, the bright centres, the white petals and the sweet scent.

When the fruits began to form, I admired nature’s magic and when they ripened, I plucked each one with respect and appreciation, leaving a few behind for the birds and wildlife so they too could share in nature’s wonderful bounty.               

In fact, I showered these berries with love and affection, tenderness and understanding. I tried to balance their wildness and waywardness with thoughtful, considerate support. There was little I would not do to ensure these Blackberries were as happy and contented as can possibly be.

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As I stood in my kitchen preparing the jam I thought of you.

How I gave you a place to live, a home, somewhere you could put down roots of your own. How I provided food when you were hungry and drink when thirsty.

The many times I picked you up and dusted you down, brushing off lives injustices and torments. How I untangled you from those situations and incidents you got yourself into.

I marvelled at your beauty, your bright eyes, the porcelain glow of your skin and your sweet scent.

My love for you fruited, like a mystical magic. When we made love, it was with respect and appreciation, leaving little to the imagination. We shared each other, nature’s wonderful bounty.

I showered you with love and affection, tenderness and understanding. I tried to balance your reckless foolishness and rowdy craziness with sensitive, considerate support. There was little I would not do to keep you as happy and contented as I could.

I always knew you were a wild child, a free spirit seeking something, seeking yourself, seeking the unobtainable. Whatever you needed I knew it was something more than I could offer.

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So now, as I pour the last of the Blackberry jam into the jars, I am smiling to myself. Smiling because each time I look at one of these pots it shall remind me of you.

During the bleak winter nights as I sit by the fire, eating a simple snack of jam on toast, the summer sweetness of the berries shall bring forth such fond memories of you I shall weep with sad contentment.

On crisp cold snow-covered mornings, the flavour will remind me to look up to the sky and send you a pray of love and well wishes for your safety and happiness.

A prayer to let you know I love you still and so I shall forevermore.

Today I made a preserve of love.

 

© Paul White 2014 

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Visit my website at https://paulznewpostbox.wixsite.com/paul-white

You got any ideas?

1970-Dodge-Charger

She is a 1970 Dodge Challenger RT. Ya know the one, like was in that film, vanishing something… anyways, when I got her she was as rusty and as bent as an old pie tin in a trash can.

Now, ha, well. I’ve sorta darned gone an put my mark on her, made her mine, all mine.

I spent hours downtown. Rented a workshop and kinda of lived there for a while, well like two years a while.

Sometimes I would sleep in the shop, not wash for days, not sleep much either.

I was constantly an oily, greasy mess. My hair was lank and I stunk like the ass end of a skunk. If I ventured into town folk used to stare at me, wondrin what the heck I was.

I found that look of total incomprehension plastered across their slack-jawed faces as funny as Fu… well. darned funny anyways.

Two fucking years I spent working in that workshop. Two years, just seemed ta be gone, like that.

Time flew by.

Time weren’t nothin though, not while I was working on her. Not until I looked back, an you know what?

A lot happened in those two fucking years.

My divorce settlement came. I spent all of it on tools and parts and spares and paint. Well not all of it. I got a little food and a bottle or two of Kentucky smooth.

I got the house from the settlement too.

I sold the house. Too many memories I did not want to be living with any more.

So, I moved here, to this small place out of town and out of the way. Moved the Challenger out here too, into the barn.

That’s where I finished her. That’s where I got her looking the way I planned.

Not once, not for one single, solitary moment in all those two years that sorta slipped away when I weren’t lookin, did I deviate a fraction of one iota from my plan.

She was my baby.

Everything under the hood looks pristine now, betta than when she was new, when she rolled off the end of that production line.

The pipes and hoses are coloured, pale blue for cold water, dark blue for hot. Red for fuel, green for oil and so on. What is not covered in colour coded silicone or paint, is inside woven steel cable or under bright, shiny, polished mirror chromium.

Inside the seats are covered in soft cream leather, handstitched by me, with deep pink piping around the edges. Just like the door and roof lining and the deep pile carpets.

Polished wood, chrome switches all original design. All them, along with retro dials completed the dash.

Outside she was sweeter still, real sweet if you know what I mean.

I covered my baby in a solid, shocking pink paint, metallic flake topped with seven layers of high gloss lacquer.

Like I said, I put my own mark on her.

She is now a sorta Barbie car, a ferocious, mean, growling bitch of a Barbie car, right down to the hood ornament.

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I designed it myself; a chrome plated sculpture of a severed penis. Yeah, you heard right. A small soft dick.

Just like my ex.

It puts the message out there. “Don’t you mess with this bitch; unless you want to lose your manhood.”

You see, two years livin in an oily back street workshop ain’t no place for a sweet girl likegrease me unless you gonna get something for keeps from it.  

And I was keeping my girl.

Now, all I gotta do now is find a real good name for her…

You got any ideas?

 

 

 

 

If you enjoyed “You got any idea’s” why not check out my Electric Eclectic novelettes on Amazon HERE

 

 

 

 

Toothache drops

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“Johnny” shouted Marjory, her voice carrying the length of the garden. “Johnny, stop running about. Go sit with your Grandfather.”

Sluggishly, Johnny dawdled along the garden path towards the small arbour where his Grandfather sat. As he walked he ran a stick along the fencing so it made a clackety-clack sound.

Most adults found the noise annoying, but Grandfather Eddie clapped his hands together, jumped from his seat and said “Go back a bit Johnny, go back and do that again.”

Johnny liked his Grandfather, he was funny. He did lots of stupid things and told jokes which his mother called, ‘only nearly funny‘. That was when he wasn’t grumpy.

Not that Grandfather Eddie was ever grumpy for long, he had his special sweets, his toothache drops. If he felt bad, he ate two or three of those and he was smiling and laughing again in no time.

Johnny often wondered why Grandfather Eddie did not go and see the dentist more if his teeth hurt. Surely a dentist could make the pain stop, or he could take Grandfathers tooth away altogether?

Grandfather wrote songs. Not old songs like he was old and Nanna was old, but songs you hear on the radio. He knew all the stars and artists. Grandfather had even been on television and had trophies for writing, on display inside the house, next to his collection of guitars.

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Sometimes the famous people came to eat dinner at Grandfathers house, or to have a barbecue. Some of them were coming today. Which is why Johnny had to be on his best behaviour. Although, when you heard and saw all the things these people did, Johnny wondered why he had to behave when no one else did?

Adults can be strange at times. Most times.

Johnny sat opposite Grandfather Eddie and, looking directly at his face, watched as he tapped away on the laptop key board. His Mother said, “Don’t disturb you Grandfather when his typing.” So, Johnny waited patiently.

“That’s it” Grandfather said, a big grin spreading across his face as he shut the laptop. “So, Johnny, that’s the Vampire Dunkin Monkeys next big hit in the bag. That’s the Grunge-punk awards won for this year and it’s all down to you and your clackety-clacking.”

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“I could have done more Clacking, but the Lemon tree is in the way” said Johnny.

“You have done quite enough young man, I shall reward you handsomely, when the record become a big hit.”

“Can I have a fast car, an orange one, with silver wheels?”

Grandfather Eddie laughed. “When you are old enough you can have all the cars you want.”

“Eddie” it was Nanas voice. “They are arriving.”

“Right, Johnny.” said Grandfather Eddie, “Let’s go to work, let’s get that fast Orange car for you, shall we?”

“Go to work? I thought they were your friends?”images

 

“My friends are Alexander Hamilton, Ulysses S. Grant, Benjamin Franklin, William McKinley and Grover Cleveland. You would do well to make their acquaintance too, young man.”

Grandfather Eddie popped two toothache drops into his mouth as they walked towards the house.

When they met their guests, Grandfather Eddie was chatting and buzzing like a teenager.

END.


Check out my novel, ‘The Abduction of Rupert DeVille’ right HERE

Hitchhiker

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I am old school.

From a time when life seemed simpler, less hectic, less complicated.

It was not.

It was just different.

Some will say that, ‘way back when’, life was safer, people were happier, times were better.

They were not.

Life was simply lived at a slower pace.

But there was less fear.

Less anxiety and more acquiescence.

I think life was more honest.

We were more honest.

With ourselves.

Life holds risks. You have to live with that.

Take your chances. Accept the possibilities.

Face the consequences.

That is how it goes.

We recognised that fact.

We did not fight it, we acknowledged it.

That is what made life simpler.

 

Like hitchhiking.

Like the figure I see ahead of me now. Checked shirt, blue jeans, backpack, thumb-out.

Quite rare nowadays, hitchhikers.

Too much fear. Mostly unwarranted.

Phobia, nurtured and spread by the media.

But who should hold that apprehension.

The driver?

I could drive on past. No one will make me stop.

Is the hiker a danger? A mass murderer?

A Rapist?

Is their thumb a lure for the unsuspecting?

Or

The Hiker?

Simply travelling home.

Should they get into the car?

Could I be a psychotic killer?

Could I be the Rapist?

Is my car a trap?

 

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As I get closer, I see the expectant look on the hiker’s face.

A bright smile.

Willing me to slow.

To stop.

I feel a compulsion.

An obligation to a fellow human.

I have been there myself. Thumb out. Waiting, hoping.

Praying for the next car to stop.

To give me a ride.

A ride to somewhere warm. Somewhere with hot coffee.

The hiker looks clean. Normal.

Conventional.

I slow. Maneuver towards the roadside.

Stop, a few yards beyond.

Looking in my mirror.

Watching.

 

The hiker picks up a small rucksack.

Running towards me.

I lock the doors.

Clunk. Safe.

I can leave. Go.

Put my foot on the accelerator.

Speed away.

The hiker is close now.

My last chance.

Decision time.

A smiling face appears at the window.

I smile back.

Still time.

Go?

Stay?

 

I press a switch.

The window hums. Open.

Half open.

I hear my voice. “Heading North” it says.

“Me too” the hiker replies.

I nod.

The hiker smiles.

Expectancy.

I smile back.

Trepidation.

Time stands still.

Momentarily.

 

Click.

I unlock the doors.

My own thumb jerks, a backward motion.

“Put your bag in the back” my voice speaks again.

Autonomously.

The bag lands on the rear seats.

Drive away, I think.

Take the bag.

Go.

Now.

What is in the bag.

Some clothing.

An iPad.

Money.

Or the hiker’s life?

Their entire possessions.

A lifetime or memories.

Lost loves, lost mother.

A bag of dreams, hopes for the future?

Is that where they are heading now?

The future.

Thiers. Mine. Ours?

Has this moment inexorably entwined our lives?

Left an indelible mark.

Or just a scratch. Unnoticeable, hidden.

One that will fade, become rubbed out as life progresses?

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The door opens.

Blue eyes, bright teeth, pale skin.

The hiker sits next to me.

“Thank you” she says.

“That’s okay” I reply.

I put the car in gear, heading North.

Our lives are meshed. At least for the next one hundred miles.

If she makes it that far.

If I make it that far.

Who knows?

Life holds risks. You have to live with that.

Take your chances. Accept the possibilities.

Face the consequences.

That is how it goes.

You see, I am old school.

I know what makes life simple.

 

 © Paul White 2016


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