Old Man Fred –flash fiction for d’Verse

Although age and poverty had taken its toll,  when far away an interrupted cry woke him from his sleep, he shuddered.  He knew he lacked boundaries, was too easily empathic. That tendency had led him to  panhandling in the evening of his life.  It was getting more and more difficult to arise from his seated position on the sidewalk and retrieve his upturned hat from the pavement before him.

Someone at the Center had stolen his flute, so he had  nothing left to offer passersby than  the one song he could remember all the words to, Old Man River.

The children still stood round and begged their parent for a dime to drop into his hat. The children stared. The adults avoided his eyes.  He thanked them all.

128 words

About Nan Mykel

I used to think I would be a child prodigy, but then I got old. Formerly I had fantasies of rubbing elbows with cultural and academic leaders but that did not come to pass because I did not become a cultural or academic leader or any other kind of leader, for that matter. I am not even an "Alpha Dog," a term learned from a friend who had to become "Alpha Dog" in order to influence her own pet. (When gazes lock, she never looks away.) For years I expected to become a published author, but in passing I could not avoid the fact that I had little to contribute to the world's bulging dumpsters. I'm embarrassed to report that I also considered my primary process artistic productions powerful, rather than mildly neurotic. Which is not to say that I disrespect myself, only that I am beginning to doubt my potential for making a mark on the world. If I focus on strict self discipline I may be able to keep my garbage removed on a weekly basis, to keep the kitty box changed, the clothes cleaned, the dog watered, fed and walked, but that just catches me up to the starting mark again. When writing I physically grapple with words, wrestling them from their indifference into attempted chunks of awareness. I sit heavily on my chair; I breathe in artificially cooled air; my ear drums note the tap tap of the keyboard and the steady uninterrupted sound of the air conditioner, What is that sound? The roar of the ocean from 30 yards away...Inside, my thoughts are are balls in an electronic game machine, bouncing hither and yon from lever to lever. I am a little grim and intent until I recall a dream related by a black man in the prison where I once worked. He said that when he was a small boy, back home, he dreamed he was standing on his front porch pissing, and that he suddenly found himself pissing stars...
This entry was posted in A mixed bag, flash fiction, Love, Old age and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Old Man Fred –flash fiction for d’Verse

  1. Have you read As I stepped out one Sunday morning by Laurie Lee? This has a vague reference to it.

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  2. Nan Mykel says:

    Petru–I can’t look it up just now. I’m locked out of e mail and Google because I forgot my password again and I resent having to pay to get a new one (phone charges). Maybe I’ll come across where I wrote it down soon. The only beggar poem I can remember is one about a beggar giving his starving dog half his sandwich and the lady angry that he didn’t appreciate it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fair enough. Sorry you got yourself locked out. Best regards.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t know what to do about your email situation. If I had advice I’d have given it. It’s going to have to be Google to get you access back into it again. I think clicking on: ”Forgot Your Password?” may give you an option to let Google know you’re locked out. Hope you have an alternative email they can send a link to, in order to create a new password. If you haven’t, it’s wise to do so, purely for these reasons. It happened to me once before as well. Else, use a friend’s if there’s one close by where you live?

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  3. memadtwo says:

    We are always turning away it seems. (K)

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  4. I think it takes a child to see the beauty in humans…

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  5. lillian says:

    What an excellent write for the prosery prompt! Good use of the line and you’ve painted a true person in so few words here. I especially like the detail that it’s hard for himto rise from his seated position.
    As host for OLN though…I have to make the reminder that for OLN each person can only do 1 post. This is your second. For all the other prompts, quadrille, prosery, poetics, MTB on Thursdays, folks can post as many as they want…but only 1 for OLN. Just a reminder for next time 🙂

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    • Nan Mykel says:

      Thanks, but I wasn’t sure where to post the flash fiction. Where should it go in the future?

      Liked by 1 person

      • lillian says:

        It would be posted with the prompt for it…But if Mr Linky is closed for that prompt by the time you get ready, then the next best thing is to post it for an OLN….which is what you did. Just post it as your only post to OLN.
        Hope I explained that?
        Any time I miss the deadline for Mr Linky for a prompt, I save it up for an OLN and then it’s the only post I do for OLN and I mention somewhere in the post, that it was written for the dVerse prompt on such-and-such date.

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      • Nan Mykel says:

        Tanks for the help Lillian.

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      • msjadeli says:

        Nan, if you go to the post that talks about prosery/flash fiction, there is a separate Mr. Linky to post it at. BTW I like your story, sad as it is.

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      • Nan Mykel says:

        Thanks so much for the info. I came across another prosedy story in amongst the OLN entries, so I thought that was the way to do it. Someone rescued my entry, however.

        Liked by 1 person

      • msjadeli says:

        You are welcome and awesome on the save 🙂

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