The Sullen Life of Mr. Small

December 18, 2009
The man lumbered down the sidewalk, head down as if entranced by the gloomy shade of gray that infected the sidewalk or the slips and cracks that degraded the once smooth slab of concrete. A court filled with thoughtless teenage boys didn’t even acknowledge the existence of the man as he broke his stride and glanced at their game of basketball for a brief moment before returning to his mindless take on an afternoon walk. His dark hair has lost its chocolate shade and became dull as ash. It also became pieces of string hung before his concealed face as if screening the pain of a diminished dream being replaced by a grim life. The sharp November wind bit at his cheeks and his pace grew faster as he held his tattered, vomit green trench coat closer to his body to retain more heat with no success because the rips and tears created holes for the wind to escape to and cause him even more discomfort. I guess 24 years is the perfect time to buy a new coat, the man thought, maybe even one without them nasty holes in them. The man sighed dejectedly; yeah sure, I’ll get a decent coat and maybe even a mansion with 30 bedrooms and two swimming pools. Or maybe a basketball court. The familiar rust red door greeted him and the man’s thoughts were interrupted by a new one. Dinner. Suddenly, the man was a starved lion and a jungle of unsuspecting prey lay hidden behind the tetanus-infested door. He grabbed on the loose doorknob as the cheap paint chipped and mottled his hand. He raced up the flight of stairs and halted before apartment 32D. He searched for his keys in his pockets and nerves suddenly dashed through his body. His hand reached in his front right pocket and an obvious tear suggested the inevitable. He figures he must have dropped it on the way home. He darted down the stairs, almost skipping every other step and passing one frayed mother holding a squealing baby after another. He ends his dash before a navy door patched with gray duct tape. The man dragged his hand upon the door and the sound of a chair being relieved was heard.
“Whaddaya want?!” a heavy man with his fists curled up into balls and positioned around a rather large excuse for a waist complained. “Look, if it’s about the faulty plumbing, I’ll get right on it after this show.”
“No, it’s not about that Mr. Riley. It’s just that I, well…I lost me key and my door won’t open without it,” the man droned, avoiding the Mr. Riley’s threatening black eyes.
“Of course it aint gonna work without the key, boy, what are ya, stupid?” Mr. Riley chuckled at what he thought was a clever comment, “Sorry, boy, but I aint got the time to make any keys right now; there’s an I Love Lucy all day marathon and I aint about to miss it.”

The man morosely turned his back to an already closed door and actually entertained the thought of staying out here for the night and waiting for Mr. Riley to find a chance to fulfill his request, but he realized that if it will take that monster, both physically and attitude-wise, of a landlord the same amount of time to even inspect his faulty plumbing as to duplicate his key, he would have turned into the dust everyone breathes in this god-forsaken place. So after not much deliberation, he decides to retrace his afternoon walk and search for the missing key himself.

The man’s hunger subsided after two hours in the bitter, unforgiving cold. It quickly became the main focus to not let the firm grasp of the chilly wind leave the man out of breath. His vision became an artist’s dream as people became moving blobs of color and landscapes became an abstract of shapes. His hunger came back and it caused his normally even and solemn face be contorted into a terribly disfigured version of himself. He takes in a short breath of the cold winter air and everything goes black.
“Mister, Mister, please wake up,” a shrill voice of torture pierced his ears. His mind finally regained control of his body and the man used it to command his eyes to at least flutter open.
“What’s a happenin’? Who are you?” The man questioned the petite little girl whose small hands cradled his head and whose golden curls bounced of her shoulders.
“My name’s Holly, Holly Waylan from 18 Carter Road. My mommy’s name is Callista and my daddy’s name is… Liam, I think. I go to Edmond Hills Elementary School and I’m in second grade and-,”
“Stop,” the man exclaimed, cupping his ears, “You’re talkin’ a whole of a heck lot and I can’t think with all your yammerin’.”
“Well why not? I am speaking English, right? What are you, stupid?” the little girl joked but the man just kept a straight face and began to walk away. Holly contemplated whether or not to follow the man when she her curiosity finally got the best of her.
“So what’s your name?” Holly asked nonchalantly as she joined the man’s side. “I bet you’re awfully smart because you look all serious and my mommy says that smart people are always serious. That’s why she said my dad should’ve been a comedian.”

The little girl sneezed, and despite his attempt to ignore the annoying little past, the man offered her his handkerchief. She smiled and for some reason, his lips curved up. As the guy basked in the possibility of having a friend, he passed by the basketball court across the street. He couldn’t help but let the graceful movements of the players causing the ball to be passed in the cleverest of ways bind him into an unbreakable spell.
“So you like basketball. I know this guy Jimmy in my school who likes to play basketball too.” Holly called out to the guy as if his mind was miles from his body.
“I aint never played. My mama said I was too stupid. She said that about a lotta things,” the man groaned. It wasn’t until then that Holly realized the immense height this guy possessed and his long arms perfect for blocking anything that ever challenged him.
“You are kind of stupid. You are like the perfect basketball player.” Holly exclaimed.

“Way better than Jimmy can ever be.”

The man grinned in pride and the little girl nodded in approval. He started to cross the street to challenge those teenage boys that now looked like puny obstacles he can easily tower over. As he reached the middle of the seemingly vacant road, his eyes caught on a silver glare reflected by the sun. They were his keys! But as he started to rush to reach the end of his original mission, the little girl called after him.

“What’s your name again?” Holly yelled.
With a smile reaching ear to ear, the man smiled to answer the question. As he opened his mouth and before a breath left his mouth, an empty city bus with a sleep-deprived driver swallowed the large man and a waterfall of blood slithered down its windows. Holly stood there in complete shock as a tree bark brown handkerchief feathered down before Holly. Something was sewn into the raggedy piece of cloth and it read: Property of Mr. Small.

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This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

Jan. 16, 2010 at 12:18 pm
"The Sullen Life of Mr. Small" is quite inventive, descriptive, and touching in an eerie, sad sense. I like your way of writing, and it's interesting the way you caught the moment. You have potential that I witness in a scarce number of young writers! Good luck, love. -DEMON Age:17
Boogiemonsta1 said...
Jan. 15, 2010 at 9:33 pm
Really good, Keep it up!
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