Short Stories

Words Have Power, They are Magic pt 19

wordsWilliam, as he introduced himself or Wet Willy as the rest of the park residents called him, was gone in the morning. I had not moved from the bench. Not sure if I slept but it seemed as if I did not nor did it matter. I had watched the bums come out starting their fires after the regular citizens left the park,  cooking their meals, keeping warm, sharing their drink, their life’s stories. I could of joined them but I didn’t I sat on the bench.

In the early morning after the fires were put out and the homeless back to their hidey-holes, I watched the creatures come out.  The regulars, the birds, and the squirrels were present, but a raccoon and a family of skunks also came by, both stopping to smell me and assess if I was friend or foe and finding me friend.   The housecats came slinking after the rats and mice, and an occasional skinny dog wandered by, nose to the ground.

I sat there and watched as the park filled up with the occupiers of the apartments that surrounded it.  They came by in twos or threes on the way to work, school or wherever they went. They paid no attention to the disheveled man on the bench. The housewives and the nannies arrived at the park with their small charges to escape the dreariness of the house and to occupy the children as they sat and drank their coffees, gossiping about whoever was not there.

Not one of them even looked at me. I was but a fixture, the decoration on the bench the part of the city “ambience”. I chuckled to myself. I wondered if any of them had seen a picture of me on the TV. If so, they did not recognize m as the “famous’ author that was found and then lost again just yesterday.  I wondered if I told them they would believe me. Probably not. I could hear the polite murmurings. “Just another poor alcoholic with delusions. Boy, they should do something to help the mentally ill”

The bench is where my son found me. Of course, he gave me heck . He had seen the news reports and he staff had been playing interference with the reporters.  I guess they had descended upon his office after finding me and losing me again.  I told him I had nothing to do with them figuring out who I was, in fact, I had used the power of the words to remove myself from the situation. Anthony rolled his eyes. After all these years and all this time, he still did not believe.

Before I could tell him some more, he said, “here dad I bought you a check. It is part of the royalties you have earned from the sale of your stories.  As you found out you are quite popular. “

l looked at the check. What was I going to do with a check? I didn’t even have a bank account. I told him such. He put the check back into his pocket and pulled out his wallet. He handed me a couple of hundred dollar bills.

“Sorry, I didn’t think of that. Here is spending cash. I will come back tomorrow with cash. “

Before I could protest and tell him I needed no money, he held his hand up. “I know I know you don’t want any but dad you earned it, you deserve it and maybe you could get a place and out of the park.

I like the park, I informed him. Here it is nice, I have some friends, the kids, and the skunk likes me.

He looked at me as if I had gone crazy, Maybe I was maybe I wasn’t. It was true the skink did like me. In addition, the others did not judge me or bother me if I did not want to be bothered. I had to tell them about the power of words, but I think, like Wet Willie, they would understand and believe me. Besides, I had the children to teach.

I wanted to tell my son no, but I remembered the church. I owed the Father there. He was a good man and I had harmed his church. He had done nothing but help me.   I had promised. So I let my son know that would be ok. I could take some cash, but not for apartment.  My poor son, I don’t think he would ever understand me.

As he was about to leave a couple of the kids came up to me. A blonde, blue-eyed quirky smiled little with a smaller boy who just stood there and drooled and looked a little lost.  .

“Hello friend” she greeted me.

“Why hello” I smiled at her

“Will you tell me a story?” she flashed that smile.

“Of course” I said. “

My son interrupted me. “Should not be talking to kids”, he scolded me, “that is how people go to jail”

I looked at him and said “that is what I do right son? Tell stories I am a big famous author of kids’ books right? Stories?  You and I have made money? So I tell some kid a story. Why don’t you listen up, maybe you can make another book”.

He sighed and pulled out his smartphone. I will record you then ok.

I nodded and looked at the little girl and her friend.

“Have you ever heard of the Three Rascals?  Did you know they had many adventures and did you know that they discovered that words were important?  Let me tell you how they found out that words have power, they are magic.”