Old Man Flash Fiction

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Old Man
Bistro

Old Man

I’m an old man now, discontent with the rumbles of incontinence that surge like an express train through my guts. They told me the after effects would last a year to eighteen months after the cancer treatment, and it’s nearly a year, and it should be over, but it isn’t, so I sit here, in my car, outside the washroom in the local park, waiting for that urgent call that will send me limping to my destiny and soon now, I know it will be soon now, as the cold shiver grips me, and then I start to sweat, great pearls of salt water, trickling down forehead to nose, and I open the car window, and there she is again, in a green and yellow string bikini, the twelve year old who has haunted me for the last ten minutes, ghosting round, staring at me, looking at the car, and behind her, her parents, her grand-parents, her family, muttering in some strange and ancient tongue, about this old man sitting in his car by the public washroom, being stared at by the girls, the boys, the young people as they enter and leave, bees around the honey-pot, and they gather by my car, and mutter and grumble, raising their voices and pointing their fingers at me, at the car, and always that surging wave of grumbled accusations, rising like this tide, this hot, red tide that now rushes through my guts and rumbles me towards my destiny, a plastic seat in a tin shack at the edge of the woods in a public place, this park, where I have every right to be, and the girl’s long blonde hair whisks again and again past my window, and she points and the old ones mutter, and there’s the boy again, squeezing himself, and looking cute, and I can guess what they’re thinking and saying, even though I don’t understand a word of their language, yet their grumbles are loud and their fingers are sharp and pointed in my direction, and I can see a cell phone, now, with a man taking pictures of me and the car and the number plate, and someone else is dialing, I can see their fingers punching the keys and I know they would rather be punching me, my face, anything they can get their fists into and why not, because it’s a free world and if I am what they seem to think I am, a predator after their children, not an old man, incontinent, in urgent need of the washroom yet afraid to brave the crowd and leave the safety of his car, then they would indeed have every right to be pointing at me in this way …. but hey, everybody is innocent until they are found guilty by twelve honest men, and twelve of them now gather out there pointing at me as I sit, glassy-eyed, sweating, afraid to move in case I make it worse, just hoping that they and this terrible pain will go away, this pain, this train, this express train, rumbling through my guts to its inevitable conclusion … and too late, I’ve left it too late, dammit … and so, rooted to the earth and this spot, I soil myself again.

 

12 thoughts on “Old Man Flash Fiction

  1. Public places are victims of the mood of our time. Not an equivalent story, but last evening, my husband and I drove to the place where years ago we watched Halley’s Comet in the middle of the night. We wanted a light-free place to see the Pleiades meteor shower. But last night I looked around and realized that if we parked here by the road someone in those four or five houses might see us as a suspicious entity and call the police, investigate with a flashlight or, at the very least, send frowning thoughts in our direction. So we drove on. We did find a viewing spot on the isolated Sunpoke Lake Road and saw one gorgeous meteor streak across the sky.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good job it’s just in his shoes. I wrote this recently after an afternoon in the park, surrounded by children and wondering: what if? It belongs just before Peace in the Bistro sequence. It’s not a pleasant story; but then, life isn’t always pleasant. I was in two minds whether to post it. I will be interested to see other reactions. This is when we need a “like but yuck!” button.

      Liked by 1 person

      • From the time I was a kid I always gravitated to older people. My father was 55 when I was born, so maybe that has something to do with it. I helped care for him before he passed away in 2009 at 97. All the things that accompany that grand old age, loss of dignity being one of them, make me very sympathetic to the elderly. Papa kept his wonderful mind and his sense of humor, too, right till the very end!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Old age does indeed bring its problems. I was back and forth to Wales when my parents were ill. I couldn’t always travel, especially in term time, and it weighed heavily upon me that I was absent when they needed me. Being an only child didn’t help. Tough times.

        Liked by 1 person

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