Take on a Challenge

T

masquerade – gang – allege – double – lucky
tea – personality – introduction – parasite – class

He’s not waking, despite the bustle of the street, and it’s nearly nine AM. “Excuse — sir.” I’ll offer him my tea, they didn’t have Earl Grey anyways. First pull my scarf tighter and higher around the neck. It’s a cold morning. I’ll just give him a quick prod with my foot… Ah, stirring now. A grumble from him. “This is my shop. You’ve got to move on.”
Immediate: “When does it open?” His eyes half-closed, not looking up yet.
“Nine o’clock.” He checks his watch! A nice one too. Then, “I’ll move at nine.”
Calm, now. A breath. “Sir, that won’t do. I’ll have customers by then. Perhaps an introduction: I’m Wilbur of Wilbur Tailors. Would you like a mug of tea?”
He props himself more upright at this. “I would.” And he takes it.
There’s folds of clothes, blankets, bags, beard. “Maybe I can give you money to get your own breakfast.”
“I’ll not be budging, actually. Your personality grates me.”
A gasp. Foul. “Fine by me. I’ll just get the police to remove the parasite from my doorway.”
“You classist shit. You stand tall and strut, you masquerade as better than me because your father died and gave you ‘Surname Shop, Inc.’ Nah, you and I have a problem.”
“Rubbish. Not what you said. Just you — rubbish. And you’re lucky I’m in a fine mood this morning. The police will deal with you.”
He stands to his full height then. An odour is noticed first, followed closely by the fact that he’s probably 6’3”, and now that the folds are out of the way, a dog has been revealed. He’s not kind. He growls. “Seems you have double the problem now.” My face must have been telling.
“I’ll not be intimidated by you two like some gang of thugs. I’m a respected man.”
He says then, “Are you a good man?”
“Pfft. Are you alleging that I’m not?” — “Well, are you?” — “I am. I’m a fine man.”
Then he grabs his bags with one arm and his blankets with the other. “I reckon you are. Come on, pooch, it’s nine o’clock. You have a fine day, Mr. Wilbur,” and he just moved on.
“You too, sir,” I said to myself, as he was already gone.

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Benny Greeno

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