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Mr.Tanner

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The old man came out of his apartment with a lawn chair, a cigar and orange soda. I sat at the bus stop, reading a book, looking up every now and then at my surroundings and at the old man. He came back out of is apartment with a mini tv that had a large antenna sticking from its rear. The old man tucked the Sunday paper between himself and the arms of the chair. He would look around cautiously as well, this not being the best neighborhood ever. The old man caught me looking at him quite a bit and eventually opened his mouth, “Hey there son.”

I glanced down at my book then at the sky and back at the old guy. I didn’t respond.

“Hey, ya here me?” He asked, one of his eyes squinting under the sun though covered with the brim of his straw hat.

I nodded slowly.

“Okay then. You a little slow, boy?”The old man shifted in his seat and brought his forearms to his thighs, hunching forward.

“No.”I whispered but he could see that I said it.

The old man rolled his eyes softly and lay them at the bus stop itself.

“Aww, waiting for the bus, huh?”He asked.

“Yeah. Pretty much.”

“Hmm, how much longer are you gonna be sittin’ there glancin’ up at me every five seconds?”

“Looks like for another hour. Says here, uh, sixty-two minutes. So, to be exact . . . like an hour and two minutes.”

The old man got up from his chair and eyed me suspiciously. Occasionally, his left eye would twitch. He pulled up his pinstriped white and beige trousers and unbuttoned a bit of his nicely pressed collar shirt. I could see his fluffy sandy brown chest hair against his tanned skin. He crossed from the middle of the street over to the bus stop. He stood abnormally close to me, with his chest by the top of my head. I’m still sitting down when he punches my shoulder with a surprisingly strong force.

I rubbed my shoulder lovingly but he slapped my hand away and grabbed the meat over my shoulder with a pinch.

He looked into my eyes and slowly, as his eyes ran deeper into my pupil, raised his upper lip as his bottom lip quivered.

“What’s your name sunny boy?”He asked with a husky tone.

“Sunny boy? Where did that come from?”

“You wanna get smart with me boy? I’ll beat you down right here.”

“My name is Robert Gray. Why?” I asked somewhat afraid of this old man.

“Boy, my name is Emmett Frederick Egan Tanner. But your gonna call me Mr. or Mista Tanner. Got it, boy?”

I nodded my head, my hands starting to sweat, my heart began to punch against my chest.

You got one chance to answer these questions right and if you don’t, huh,”He bent down by my ear and whispered, “Oh, your dead meat. Believe me boy.”

I decided not to ask why, I got the feelings anything would make this guy crack.

“How long have you been watching me?”He laughed atrociously.


“Um, I think its been like five minutes now. You seemed like a pretty interesting person. I wasn’t thinking about doing anything or stealing anything. I’m not like that, never been a nosey or mischievous boy a day in my life- you gotta believe-”

Mr.Tanner whacked me in the head with the palm of his hand. He dug in the opening of his collar shirt and pulled out a 9mm. He pressed the gun up to my temple and smirked wildly.

“Wrong! You, boy, are a no good nasty little spy! Don’t deny it, who you got throwin’ the cheddar in your face? Huh, who IS givin’ you the MONEY?”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about Mr. Tanner. I really don’t. I just came to this bus stop hoping to spend this lovely day with my grandmother. I know this bus line usually comes whenever so I brought a book and came earlier than I needed to. Than I saw you and I found it interesting how you had brought out a lawn chair and cigar with a mini tv and an orange soda. I’m sorry.”I almost started to cry. My lips and eyelids became soggy and my hands started to sweat more heavily.

“Why you gettin’ nervous boy? I’ll shoot you. Don’t think I won’t? BAM!”

I screamed and began to sob and shake me head persistently, “Please, think about my grandma, think about ME! I’m still young, I have a whole life ahead of me! You can’t do this!”

Mr. Tanner growled, literally, growled, “Boy, you don’t know nuthin’ about me and I’ll shoot your behind in five point six seconds, so fast you won’t even know what happened. Now, how much do you know about me? Huh, ‘cause I bet it’s all lies. Last time ya’ll tried to find me, you did the same thing. I oughtta take a number two in the toilet and dip your head in. Oh, or how’d you like some diarehea?”


His apartment door cracked open, across the street, and a thin older woman with a white sundress and chalky hair came out. She folded her arms together when she saw Mr.Tanner and shook her head, “Honey, what are you doing?” She asked knowingly.

Mr.Tanner smiled and hurriedly put the gone back into his shirt. “Uh, a spy honey.”

She lifted up her eyebrow with question.

“Okay, I was just having a little fun.”

“Well, I need you to come back inside for lunch. Emmett, honey, please hurry up, alright? Say goodbye to your friend and hurry on in.” she smiled at me and turned back in side.

Mr. Tanner slapped my back and gave me a cheerful smile but still disappointed, “Nice to meet you, uh, Robby. Tell grams I said hi.”



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