The Old Man

Let's see where this goes

I saw him sitting there, casually, just smoking on a long pipe. I couldn't be sure of his age, but he was no doubt near the end of a long life. I'm not sure what it was about him that first caught my attention. I am not the type of person to really take notice of others, especially not wrinkly old men. But, nonetheless I found myself staring at him and pondering his very existence. Who was he? Where did he come from? Why had I never seen him before?

I had lived here for the majority of my life. I knew everyone in this town and many from towns near here. It was rare at my age to meet a stranger, yet there one was, just sitting there smoking his pipe. I don't know why, but something about him unnerved me. It wasn't that he was intimidating or villainous in any way, there was just something about him. Besides, what was he doing here? Nobody ever came in this old cafe anymore. I wasn't even sure how Theresa kept the place in business. I truly think she just kept opening the doors day after day to get herself out her home and away from the memories of her long dead husband.

I decided that I had enough of just sitting around and staring. It wasn't right to sit there and judge and make assumptions about a stranger. I got up slowly and headed towards him.

"Hey there, name's Bill McVance. How do you do?" I said slowly and cheerfully at the stranger.

At first he didn't move, I almost wondered if he had heard me. Maybe he was hard of hearing in his old age? As I started to repeat myself, he suddenly broke in.

" I know who you are Bill. You are William James McVance.  Son of Johnathan and Vivian McVance. You are 47 years old and a farmer. You farm the same land your father farmed, and his father and his father. 

I had heard enough. "Ok Mister, all that you're saying is true, but how do you know all of this and I don't know you?"

"It's not important. My identity that is. But what is important is my presence here today in this cafe. So please, pull up and chair and let's discuss."  

"Discuss what Mister? I don't know who you are, or where you're from, or even how you know me. Frankly, I find all of this a bit off and I have half a mind to call the Sherriff."

" There is no need for that Bill. I mean you no harm. But there are some things we must discuss. Some may be hard for you to hear. Others, more pleasant. But, unfortunately, I do not have much time. I am here but for a few mere moments longer and what I have to tell you is of great importance."  

As he finished I looked him over once more. He seemed ancient, yet ageless. I had a strong feeling he was older than anyone I had ever met, yet I saw no true signs of age. That is to say, he wasn't wrinkled, or slouched or even balding. He wore a dark black suit of a style I couldn't place. He parted his grey hair neatly and his mustache while a potpourri of grey and white, was trimmed and looked well kept. But what really stood out to me was his eyes. They were dark and when I looked into them I felt a deep panic. But, I wanted to know more. I grabbed a nearby chair and pulled it up to his table. As I did, he looked up and spoke again.

"Theresa, would you mind fetching us two coffees? I'd like mine black and...Bill? Two lumps of sugar, is that right?"

I couldn't speak. I just nodded. Who was this man? 

The End

0 comments about this story Feed