Thursday, December 4, 2014

Guest Post: At The Kitchen Table (short story) by David Burrowes

Photo of the author David Burrowes
Photo by Joel Harvey

The two of them, Johnny and Sheldon, bumped together many times in their movements over the next number of months. They would try to upstage each other and get in the last remark before the talking was done. This behavior became the topic of conversation in the community. The ensuing remarks about them only made the situation more difficult.

When they did see each other, they were usually snippy and not too dissimilar to little kids being disagreeable. They seemed to prefer it that way. But maybe it was like a computer program that was faulty and the circuit just kept repeating itself until something or someone could steer it on a course correction.

One day, something different did happen. It was a day when Sheldon and Maxine were going for a walk on a street far away from where they lived. Sheldon had noticed a vaguely familiar vehicle parked in a driveway up ahead. Then, as he approached the driveway, he saw a garbage can sitting there. He lifted the lid and dropped a small bag of poop into it. That changed things.

“Hey! What are you doing there?” a man yelled out.

“Can’t you see? I’m just walking with my dog out here.” Recognizing it was Johnny shouting from the window, Sheldon added, “I…I didn’t know…I didn’t have any idea you lived on this street.” Sheldon was mortified.

“Why don’t you come in and join me for a beverage? It’s OK.” Johnny reassured him. “It’s cold out there. I promise I won’t bite.”

Sheldon was still too shocked to say no. He didn’t know what to do. So he went inside and Maxine followed him in the open doorway.

Johnny placed a mug in Sheldon’s hands and he sat down. In the background, the hockey game was on. Sheldon had one eye on the proceedings. Then a Canuck’s defenseman scored from the point, breaking the tie. The crowd was delirious and Sheldon was instantly involved. Johnny took delight in this, and like a Pavlov trained response, both Johnny and Sheldon high fived the goal.
“You know, you probably were more like me once.” Johnny surmised sitting beside him at the table. Sheldon grimaced and gazed down at his tilted mug and the liquid circulating about the rim. Sheldon was tired of being a tough nut. He looked around Johnny’s home: “I think maybe, I still am like you.” Now, it was time for Johnny to be surprised.

Otherwise that day, they shared a pleasant conversation at the kitchen table near the warm stove. Quite a different path this was becoming as they came to realize their common enjoyment of nature. And they were both friends after that despite their many differences and the fact that Maxine had barked at Johnny’s cat.

This has been a story of what people appear to be and what they actually are; what people try to be and what they actually become and how people everywhere aren’t so different from each other.

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.