“The Park, part 5” – Friday Fiction by Gary Picard

Here’s part 5 of Gary’s growing story…

Close up of the lonely man, Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia    

5   

           

     “Minerva come here, you have to see this.” Joe was looking out the kitchen window at Chuck, his neighbor across the street.

     “You know Joe, ever since we moved here you’re like an old busy body,” she replied as she came into the kitchen.

     “I know. But this is better than T.V. Look. Chuck’s  taking his laundry off the line.”

Chuck was one of their elderly neighbors and a friend of Henry’s. His wife made him hang clothes outside all year long and this morning he was struggling with a pair of frozen jeans. They slipped through his hands and landed on the frozen February ground standing straight up, then  tipped over into the snow.

Joe giggled like a little girl and Minerva walked away rolling her eyes.

     “Get ready for work Joe.”

 

Lying in bed later that night unable to sleep during a particularly windy snowstorm, the trailer rocked and creaked slightly. Several times Joe had to remind her it was securely fastened and they couldn’t possibly be blown all the way to Kansas. Minerva lay there thinking. They had lived on Chipmunk Run for almost six months now.  After a rocky start things settled down.  The old rusty propane tank outside had been replaced with a new 120 gallon tank and they were finally able to find and plug the hole that the wind blew through which kept blowing out the pilot light on their stove. She turned over and pulled the covers up to her chin. The furnace kicked on. It’s soft whirring noise made her drowsy and as she fell asleep she was trying to remember if they shoveled the roof off lately.

      “But Minerva there’s no sidewalks. Where do you expect us to walk, in the middle of the street?”

     “Honestly Joe sometimes I wonder about you.  There’s hardly any traffic this time of the morning and the streets have all been plowed.”

They sat on the porch putting their boots on getting ready for their walk.

     “You said we would walk every morning before work and we haven’t been very consistent so it’s my job to make sure we stick to it,” Minerva explained.

     “I know Minnie. But I work in a lumberyard. The last thing I need is more exercise. Besides, what if we see that guy again?”

     “What guy?”

     “You know. That fat guy who washes his dishes naked.”

     “Don’t look.”

Sporadically over the last month Joe and Minerva would take a brisk forty minute walk through the park before breakfast. Usually they were out of the house by 5:00am when most of The Park was still asleep. One morning while they were walking up Shrew Terrace a light inside one of the trailers caught Joe’s attention. As they walked by Joe saw a naked fat guy washing dishes at the kitchen sink. Not just once but on two separate occasions.

     “And I swear Minerva that was the same guy dressed in the Santa suit we saw sitting at the bar at Christmas time.”

NOTES: Search “The Park” in the box on the right for the other installments. And the image comes from http://www.cringel.com/node/483?size=_original.

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