He sat quiet, watching the coming and going in the park, Alfred standing to the side, staring off towards the pond.
“After we eat, don’t worry,” he said, taking a bite of his biscuit. Sipping coffee. Tossing half of another to his friend. Alfred ignored the sharing.
He shrugged. It was early. Alfred wasn’t a morning bird.
Neither of them were young. Maybe that was why they were such good friends. Both of them looking at the world from the wrong end of the telescope.
He hope Alfred went first. Who’d take care of him if he passed first? Alfred was a quiet bird, a reflective bird, set in his ways.
Taking his last bite of biscuit, he crumbled the bag and tossed it into the trash bin. Two points. He still had it.
Glancing down, he saw Alfred eating his biscuit, settled back to wait. Friends waited for each other. Friends accepted each other. Friends were friends.
Besides, he enjoyed the quiet. The pond would wait.
“Would you rather have real birds, feet buried in the sand?”
Susan sighed, watching the man buying lunch at the trailer beyond.
“Are you trying to distract me?”
“If I was trying to distract you, I’ll be heading you towards the bedroom.”
“If I wanted real flamingos, would you get them?”
“For you, darling, anything.”
She turned in her chair and looked at him. So handsome with his chiseled features and beach blonde hair. And his hands. She’d never known such magical hands.
“Anything in the world?”
Leaning over, he kissed her gently. “Anything.”
“Okay, then I want flamingos. A pair to keep in my garden.”
For a moment, he considered, pretty sure hijacking real flamingos was against the law. Besides, he’d never heard of captive flamingo except in zoos and he wasn’t much of a zoo fan.
He pulled her into his lap, lips caressing the soft skin of her neck. “How about a little before lunch fun?” His hands moved up her sides.
She wiggled. “You are trying to distract me!”
“Guilty as charged.”
She snuggled for a moment then rose, grabbing his hand and pulling him inside.
Photo Credit: C.E. Ayr
“It was a nice house,” one said finally.
“Real nice inside.”
“Bill put in a nice new bar.”
“Wonder if he’d of rebuilt?”
“You don’t think so?”
“Why not?” He scratched under his ball-cap.
The other man just shrugged.
“He loved that house.”
“I’d hate to see it burn again.”
“You think it will?”
“Well, he ain’t the best kind to have in the neighborhood.”
“I guess we’d be better off if he moved.”
“Don’t need nobody poking their nose into things.”
“Think he’ll talk about things?”
“Kinda hard.” Uttering his first two words of the morning.
“Dead men don’t tell no tales.”
They stood looking at the ruins of the house.
“Yeah,” they both agreed. “Dead men don’t.”
“Buddy is still watching over Grampa, isn’t he?”
Pa nodded, cupping the back of the boy’s head with his hand. “He sure is,” he said quietly, staring down at his Pa’s grave. Didn’t seem like no time since he was standing by Gramp’s grave with his Pa, his Pa’s hand cupping his head.
Funny how time worked like that. Used to be summers lasted forever. Now his boy was out of school and back in almost fore he turned around.
The boy knelt, petting Buddy as if he was real.
Buddy would of been there if the dog hadn’t died the hour after his Pa. Died of a broken heart, that dog. He hadn’t never seen nothing like it. Both of them buried right there, together until the end.
“Come on, boy,” he said, turning away, “time to go on home.”
The boy hesitated, petting Buddy once more, whispering something in the dog’s ear before following.
“Pa,” he asked as he took his Pa’s hand, “is Momma gonna watch over Gramps til you get there?”
For a moment, Pa was silent, eyes fixed on the grass, then he lifted his head, smiled at the boy. “She sure is, boy. Gonna have them a party when I get there.”