The Well-Wisher

posted in: Other | 0

It was still early. Thirteen minutes past six. Only a few ladies and gentlemen stepped out of their quaint homes, lined up so neatly and organized along the cobblestone road that ran perfectly along the perimeter of the town. The town, oh so antiquated and tranquil, far from the bustle of the cities, the nearest of them being a distant hour or so away, lay so perfectly flat on the lush, vernal plain, looked upon by the snow-powdered mountains that nearly surrounded the town in an aloof bowl. And the townspeople appeared just so; peculiar, yet spry. The pleasant little townspeople in their alike, pleasant little homes, and the picturesque, pleasant little town. And every day these people were greeted the same at the well, now idle and unused, in the town’s central plaza.

An elderly man, balding and decrepit, sat at the bench before the well and spent his morning greeting the young men and women walking swiftly through the streets in a rush, as to be prompt at their workplace; whether it be at the market, the convenience shops, each with similar stock but with a number of items that one could not find at the other, or the larger stores that could only be found in the cities.

An elderly man, balding and decrepit, sat at the bench before the well and spent his morning greeting the young men and women walking swiftly through the streets in a rush, as to be prompt at their workplace; whether it be at the market, the convenience shops, each with similar stock but with a number of items that one could not find at the other, or the larger stores that could only be found in the cities.

Most knew of him, however none had acquainted themselves with him in such a way that they might be able to even learn his name. His name, frankly, was unknown to all of the town. Some, those who bothered to pay a second longer of attention to the man sitting at the bench, would even ask amongst themselves whether he was homeless or had an accommodation in either the town or somewhere far more distant and lonely. For certain he could not have a home in a city. He did not look the sort to have either the wealth or desire to live among city folk.

But there, as he looked at his watch that now read twenty-five past six, the old man sat. Being the time it was, he looked up and observed the street on his right. From there, approximately fifteen meters from where he was complacently located, a youthful man, with an expression of utter elation, walked briskly, with a slight skip in his left step, along the cobblestone street, his path marked only by a fading, painted line.

The tired, old man sat his wrinkled hand on top of his rounded belly, squeezing his aged, squinted eyes shut, almost smugly as he let out a coarse, rugged chortle. The walking man, heading his way with a polished leather briefcase in hand, dressed in refined, recently tailored attire, was on his way to work as usual. This young man’s expression, which could easily be translated as pleasure, amused the elder.

“There is the kind, hard worker,” mumbled the old man to himself. “There he is, as he is every day. There’s no doubt in that outlandish grin that the man is delighted.” The old man clicked his tongue. “Pity to know he’s not satisfied with his wife’s affection, but rather with his affair with that shifty wench. Such a pity to be so ignorant…”

And as the old man continued to scorn the fellow under his whiskey-soaked breath, the hasty gentleman passed by and tipped his hat, the grin remaining.

“A good day to you, sir!” the old man, feigning a smile, returned. And the gentleman was gone, disappearing into the mist that occasionally trickled from the valley.

It was then round seven. The morning rush was to come soon. A few more citizens walked out into the crisp morning air, provided by the evening’s rain, and shuffled carefully across the stones that glistened with a slippery glaze.

Of these citizens was an aging woman, in her later forties, trotting in her velvet high-heels of a brilliant mauve, balancing herself hysterically atop the rocks beneath her feet. She was well known among the townspeople. She went by the stale title, Madame or Ms. Daft, depending on one’s affiliation with her.

To where she went specifically, one could never be certain. Her extravagant clothing, which some would even tend to call “grotesque”, seemed to suck the color from her surroundings, devoting everyone’s attention toward herself. On this particular day, it seemed that Ms. Daft would be heading to the marketplace. She dragged behind her a cart with two large wheels and an intricately decorative fabric cover. Slung across her shoulder was a low-hanging purse, studded with sparkling blue rhinestones and rimmed with gilded silk.

The old man scoffed and scratched his temple with his index finger, the nail yellowing and chipped after years of the pipe. He looked Ms. Daft up and down and smiled with teeth that didn’t fare any better.

“Ah,” sighed the old man, “the woman can’t go anywhere without putting herself in front of the eyes of every being in this’re town. She dangles her money before everyone. Or, better yet, her husband’s.” The old man quickly fell into a fit of coughing. He dabbed his lips and wiped the drops of blood on his collar.

Ms. Daft attempted to straighten her hat, which only made it more crooked, balanced on the side of her concrete brown hair, and noticed the old man sitting by the well.

“Good day, Madame Daft,” waved the old man. Ms. Daft, taken aback by his sincerity but frightening complexion, managed only a stiff nod and a hastening of the step. Her cart made a boisterous racking noise as it rolled and bumped over the stones.

The old man, innocuous, but crude, sunk deeper into his seat and pulled out of his pocket a tarnished bronze coin. He rubbed it between his fingers and kissed it softly. He turned slightly and flipped the coin into the well.

As the morning hours passed, the old man observed the passersbys and recalled all that he knew of them. He saw the tailor’s apprentice and shunned him for stealing from the shop’s cashbox. The adolescent apprentice, his nose and cheeks freckled red, snuck into the candy shop and left with a two-pound bag of gummies and licorice. The old man saw the town baker, who, a week earlier or so, had been told by his wife about their baby to come. She, unfortunately, had passed due to unknown circumstances, although the old man had been hearing whispered rumors carried by the wind lately, and the baker had already proposed to a woman much younger and comelier.

“And there’s the ‘househusband’, Mr. Joyce.” The old man cleared his throat and rolled his eyes. “Why is life so wasted? The man spends his time cleaning and taking care while his wife spends her ours weaving in the factory. Such a lenient lifestyle is not fit for a man!”

It wasn’t until the near end of morning, four minutes ‘till twelve, that the old man stood from his bench and lumbered away, his pocket now empty, the seven coins he had had now at the bottom of the well.

The old man passed the liquor store, but realizing that his pockets were now only full with balls of bister lint, he continued on. His walk was far from the town, into the heart of the valley, his cottage hidden by the mountain side. The old man’s feet were sore and swollen. He unlocked the front door with a rusting silver key and was inside.

The fireplace was soon aglow and the old man was, once again, sitting. In one hand, a cubed bottle of hard liquor, and in the other, a framed picture. The girl could be no older than seven. Her face was stolid. Nothing could be told from the photograph.

She was frozen behind glass.

“But that was many years ago.” The old man heaved a despondent sigh and wiped a tear from his eye. “It’s nothing now.”

by Christian Gann, 16, Seoul American High School, South Korea

The Well-Wisher

real hot amateur latina girl getting fucked real
Follow Christian Gann:

Creative writer, published freelance photographer and journalist, creative cinematographer -- "The fact of storytelling hints at a fundamental human unease, hints at human imperfection. Where there is perfection there is no story to tell." ~ Ben Okri

Latest posts from

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.