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Notes of an Old Man Who Lives Alone

October 12, 2016 Leave a comment Go to comments
Luman Harris

By Luman Cans Harris

“Where did you work as a young man, Luman?” the visitor asked.

It was Baxterson. He lived next door. Occasionally, he wandered over and we sat at the kitchen table in the fading light.

“I worked for the Frostie Company. Do you remember them?”

“No.”

“Root beer. I worked in the bottling plant.”

“Sounds stupid. Like something you made up.  I would have known about them,” Baxterson said.

“They went out of business. They never did well anyway. The owner, Mr. Frostie, suffered from several mental illnesses. But they did give me a nice pension.”

“Bunch of lies. Bunch of god damned lies.”

It always went like this. Baxterson not believing anything I said, always getting aggressive about it. I wished he would leave.

He got up and went over to a giant microwave oven that sat atop the fridge. It was ancient, barely operable– I didn’t use it often.

“What kind of stupid thing is this?” he asked. He fiddled with the knobs (it had knobs).

“Listen, Baxterson, I need to start thinking about getting to bed.”

His shoulders suddenly slumped. “It’s only nine, Luman. You wouldn’t believe the evening I have planned for us.”

I sighed. Everything hurt. I was beginning to worry about cancer. That would be the kind of thing that would happen to me. Some rare form of cancer. Nobody would find me for months.

“Excuse me a minute,” I said. I went to the bedroom. It was dark in there– the last bit of summer sunlight had faded. I put a fan on and reached into the bedside table, felt the cool steel of the old Child Scouts hunting knife. I had kept it all these years.

I came back into the kitchen with the knife extended in front of me.

“LEAVE NOW OR I WILL CUT YOU!”

He laughed a bit. “What are you trying to pull Harris?”

I lunged at him– he dodged and the knife went into the fridge. “GO ON, I TOLD YOU I’D CUT YOU.”

He turned into the sink, stumbled and then took off towards the door. I listened to his footfall down the staircase.

I undressed and got into bed with the latest Dean T. Pibbs novel. The premise was that some terrorists attacked a large carnival. It seemed promising.

Everything seems promising though for an old man who lives alone.

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