Friday, November 28, 2014

Guest Post: The Conversation (short story) by David Burrowes

The first part of this three part short story was published last Friday. Here's the link to it. Read on for the second part. 

Photo of the author David Burrowes
Photo by Joel Harvey

Johnny placed a box of elongated bolts on top of his truck hood, took a bite out of his bologna sandwich and sipped on a soda. He flipped his Yankees cap backwards and slid his sunglasses back on. He was at the hardware store on his break. Just chilling. It was a sunny day, finally, after three straight days of downpour.  So good to be outside again talking to friendly people, Johnny thought.

Then Johnny spotted him. There he was. It was that old man again with his little dog in his arms. Johnny hadn’t forgotten. How could he? All that man had done was glare at Johnny that day. No explanation. He hadn’t said anything at all back then…and he was doing it again.  Staring at him. It was kind of spooky. What was with this guy? Johnny wondered.

That particular day was a while ago. Last spring some time.  At the gas station, was where they first met. Johnny remembered what started it off. The old man had been driving like an old lady. He had somewhere to be, Johnny did. And he was late he remembered. He had passed the incredibly slow car on the road. That’s what set things in motion.

Johnny brashly approached the man with his little dog. “Your name--Sheldon? And that--your dog?” “What’s it to you?” Sheldon snapped back.  His head bobbed a little in recognition, “Oh, so you remember me. I’ve heard your name is Johnny.” Sheldon placed his dog Maxine on the ground. Maxine loved to sniff other people, especially new smells, and Johnny was that. Maxine stopped suddenly at Johnny’s feet and started to growl. ”I know what it is.” Johnny grinned, “Your dog detects my cat’s odor on my clothes.”

Johnny awkwardly continued: “You’re not wearing your other coat?”
“This is my winter coat.” Sheldon bristled then looked up.  “Hey, you don’t know me. You don’t know anything about me.” Sheldon emphasized. “All you care about is yourself and your crummy little job. Everyone get out of the way. I’m important. I’ve got important things to do.”

 “People are so damned impatient!” Sheldon roared. Then he focused on the surprise and concern on Johnny’s face, thought better of it and his demeanor melted quickly into a broad smile. Sheldon was an ornery type for sure. However, once he got to know you, he warmed up.

Sheldon had his good days. He liked to drive to different places nearby and park his car. There, he and Maxine would go for walks. It was a pleasant break and he got to see what people were up to and what they planted in their gardens. Daffodils in the early springtime and geraniums and snapdragons were his favorites later in the year. Sheldon really enjoyed gardening and Maxine loved smelling the fragrances.

Johnny thought for a moment. He looked back at Sheldon who was still there: “So, what you are saying is that one day, probably sooner or later, I’m going to be something like you?” Sheldon began to stride away, then turned to one side and responded curtly, “That’s about it.”

David Burrowes has lived on Mayne Island since 2004 enjoying the single lifestyle and hiding out from those big city ways. Dave was originally brought up on Vancouver’s North Shore. He moved to Victoria, where he ran a rooming house for 15 years taking many people off the street. Previous to that, he had his own small business representing a group of a dozen artists selling various greeting cards and gift enclosure cards around BC. Dave began writing his first novel in 2010, fulfilling a lifelong dream of embarking on a writing career.