A Date with a Stranger
Kindred Spirits, the dating agency, were very kind to him. The manager, Georgina, explained the drill. “You’re expected, as a man,” she said, “to take the initiative.”
He didn’t know what that meant. He didn’t like to ask, didn’t want to appear stupid.
In the event, he arranged the meeting place and time. ‘How’s about that for initiative?’ he asked himself, ‘Lilly would have been impressed.’
He took the small table in the corner of the quiet hotel bar and sipped a whisky on the rocks. He perked up the yellow rosebud in his lapel, the ‘identifying characteristic’ Kindred Spirits had told him to use, and waited.
While he waited he thought about Lilly. She always said he should meet other people after she was gone, but was this what she really meant? A date with a stranger? Wouldn’t he have been better just asking some old friend out for a drink? Like Connie down the road? After all Connie was on her own now too, with Dave gone. What a foursome they used to make; him and Lilly, Connie and Dave. What fun they used to have.
A lovely lady was taking the seat opposite him, she wore a yellow rosebud in her lapel. She smiled at him and said, “hello James, are you thinking what I’m thinking?”
“Oh Connie, yes,” he said.
© SBB 5th April 2011
She was nervous. Gloria had never been to a Fireman’s Breakfast before. She wished she had someone to go with, or at least someone there who she knew. But the hall was a sea of faces. They all turned to look when she walked in, swinging her long blond hair. Nothing much happened in the community except, of course, the monthly Fireman’s Breakfast.
Gloria would have turned on her heel, no matter how hungry she was, after all there was always the Tim Horton’s drive-through, where she could get her double double and a snack pack of timbits. And sit all alone in the parking lot.
But the smell of pan fried potatoes and ham, the pungent aroma of coffee, and the warmth coming from the villagers’ expressions stopped her. Before she knew it she was all but carried by two burly fire fighters to the buffet, where they helped her load her tray with enough food to fuel her for a week. She was steered to a seat at a table of smiling faces.
Gloria looked at her platter of food, her stomach rumbled with anticipation and she opened her rolled napkin with her cutlery. and only then did she speak, she looked up and said in broken English, “Please, can I borrow your knife.”
Hands with knives stretched out to her and she knew, there and then, that she’d made the right decision in coming here.
© SBB 4 April 2011
Ever Decreasing Circle
Frank wobbled along Front Street on the hired mobylette, unaware that his shorts had slipped and his butt crack was on full view to anyone following. The cruise ships were a blur to him as he concentrated on controlling the contraption. “You son of a whore,” he said under his breath as the front wheel bucked over a manhole.
He coasted downhill and stopped at the roundabout by the hospital. The road signs made very little sense. He held the skimpy vehicle upright between his legs and got out his map. His helmet prevented him from scratching his head, much as he felt the need.
Frank didn’t see the wizened being sitting on the bollard until it spoke.
“Hey butt crack guy, you lost?”
“Where you head’n’?”
“Er, Kinley Field, airport,” said Frank.
“You done wrong Man,” said the being.” Did you go right?”
“By the Princess Hotel?”
Then, by the Bank of Bermuda? Did you go left?”
“Neither,” said Frank. “I came down that way.” He pointed towards Palmetto Heights.
“That’s a One-Way street,” said the being, You’ll get big trouble for that Man. You’ll have to do a U-turn.”
“Thanks,” said Frank.
“And when you get to the top of the hill, there’ll be another wizened being, just like me, “ said the wizened being, “just ask it, you’ll get told the same. So see you later butt crack guy. Welcome to The Ever Decreasing Circle.”
“You son of a whore,” said Frank.
© SBB 2011
Kathryn dwells too much on the past. She worries too much about the future, writes Marie Donaldson in her report. This patient cannot grasp the present, and that will be our challenge.’
Marie visits Kathryn in the Home on Wednesday. Kathryn sits by the window poring over a 5000 piece jigsaw laid out on the large round mahogany table.
“Hi Kathryn,” says Marie, “that’s looking fantastic, what a lot you’ve got done already.”
“Where does this bit go?” asks Kathryn, her forehead’s paper thin skin furrowing into a thousand ripples over her barely visible eyebrows. She holds a blue piece of jigsaw between the finger and thumb of her frail hand, “it won’t fit anywhere. Now, if I had not done that,” she points her bent, knotted index finger to a partly finished area of the seascape, “then I could have fitted this piece.”
Marie writes in her report: Kathryn has a well adjusted view of actions and their consequences.
© S.B. Borgersen