Thursday, 2 December 2010

Further Acts of Faith 1

Trevor met the old man one night at the bus-stop. Trevor was waiting for a bus. The old man was living there; his possessions consisted of a battered brown-paper parcel, tied up with inordinate amounts of string. Trevor shifted from foot to foot, impatiently consulting his watch. The bus remained resolutely absent.

After a while, the old man cleared his throat and spoke, “Not very happy in your own company, are you?”

Embarrassed, Trevor remained mute. With great relief he spotted the bus arriving.

“Easily done, though,” the old man stood up. “Getting to know yourself. Getting to like yourself, even.”

Trevor found the old man sitting next to him on the bus. He stared ahead, but the old man continued in a gentle but persistent manner. “All it takes is an act of faith.”

When Trevor got off the bus he found the old man still with him.

“Are you following me?” he asked, irately.

“Not at all,” demurred the old man, “I’m accompanying you.”

And so he was, right up to the door

“I live here,” protested Trevor.

“After a fashion,” agreed the old man.

“I’m not inviting you in,” insisted Trevor.

“That’s fine,” replied the old man, “Just wanted to give you this.”

He handed Trevor the battered parcel.
“I can’t, “began Trevor.

“In it,” the old man assured him, “you’ll find everything you need to be happy.”

And then he walked off.

Trevor sat alone on his sofa with the parcel and, despite himself, began to disentangle the string. Inside was another parcel, almost identical but slightly smaller. He set to work again. He persisted, driven by curiosity and irritation in equal measure. By the early morning his room was filled with crumpled brown paper and innumerable lengths and tangles of string. And nothing else.


Oscar Grillo said...

I modelled the old man on Paul LĂ©autaud (Maurice Broissard). Check him up in Google.

Chips with no strings attached said...

Damn fine, Oscar.

Exactly what I had in mind. Although he's completely new to me.

No One In Particular said...

You guys are totally moving in on my territory! Not that there is a territory, or a me to have it, blah blah blah blah blah.

King Lear (I, i, 92) said...

Nothing can come of nothing;