Friday Fictioneers – Lonely Town

(Author’s note: Sorry for the lateness. That’s what happens when you become more social. More writing coming soon.)

© Marie Gail Stratford

Lonely Town

by Miles H. Rost

The Diary of Cliff Jenkins, competent company worker:

Not exactly sure why the company wanted to have their meeting here. It’s the Korean thanksgiving holiday called Chuseok, and they scheduled the meeting in Busan.

Looking out my hotel window, it’s barren. Very few people here. Haeundae Beach has no people. The streets have nothing.

I’m waiting here for my compadres. They were supposed to show up 4 hours ago. I wonder if they got lost. I know that it can be a bit of a run down from Incheon.

And now the text from the boss, “Meeting cancelled. See you tomorrow at work.”

Well. That confirms it. It’s a lonely town tonight.

Walking Home Alone

by Miles Rost

Daniel “Danny” Barstow hated walking.

Every time he ended up walking, something either had gone wrong in his life, or was going to go wrong. Whenever he got that feeling of walking, he tried everything to avoid going out. No matter what he did, though, he would always find himself walking and with a new set of problems to deal with.

The first time he ended up walking was ten years before, after he broke up with his longtime girlfriend, Yolanda. He walked for 20 miles before he finally stopped. He was cold, tired, and hungry, and ended up spending over 200 dollars on a hotel room for the night. For the first few years, whenever that happened, it was always something that went wrong that caused him to walk.

About five years later, he found the first time that something bad happened after he went walking. He wanted to take a nice walk around the park, and ended up in the next county 18 miles away. He was picked up by police and charged with vagrancy and being a public nuisance, which were later dropped after finding out that he wasn’t a drifter.

Three more years later, he found that feeling of walking again. He was laying in bed when he got the urge to walk. He realized this and he took a sleeping pill to try and stop the walking from going on. When he finally woke up, he was in the middle of a cow pasture, 15 miles from home and in the blazing daylight sun. He was arrested for trespassing, and subsequently released.

And now, today, he had just gotten laid off from his job. Working for a construction firm as their lead designer, the economy turned sour for him and he was laid off. He didn’t know how much of a bad day it would have been, until he dropped his car off at home. That’s when his cell phone rang.

“Hello?”
“Hey, Danny. What’s going on?”
“I got laid off from my job. I need to file for unemployment, and try to find another job.””How about coming down to the bar by my place, and I’ll help you feel better.”
“Gabriel, There’s no way I am taking my car down to your neck of the woods.”
“Then why don’t you walk down here.”

When Gabriel said the word ‘walk’, Danny’s feet shifted.

“Huh?”
“You don’t want to take the car, so why not walk?”

Danny’s feet shuffled this time.

“Gabriel, I don’t want to go. Now stop telling me to do the ‘w’ thing.”
“‘W’ thing? You mean walk?”

As Gabriel kept saying the word, to Danny’s great annoyance and fear, his feet started walking on it’s own.

“Gah! What the hell? Gabriel, stop saying that word. You’re prompting my feet to walk on their own!”

Gabriel did not stop saying the word until Danny arrived at the bar.

“Now, we’re going to get you drunk, you will go home, and you’re not going to worry about things.”
“But I’m going to get into trouble. It always happens after I go walking.”
“But at least you’ll have fun getting into trouble, right?”

Danny just hung his head and looked his inevitable future. He was at the mercy of other people to walk where they wanted him to go.

Don’t Box Me In

by Miles Rost

Rodolfo Dominguez flipped his welding helmet up and turned off the torch. He looked down at his work and smiled.

“I said that one day I’d show them just what I’m made of. It’s just about that time. Just one day more.”

For many years, Rodolfo was considered the odd man out. In high school, he was ridiculed for having a large brain and large girth to go with it. Even after becoming a member of the auto club, he was still made fun of. He took it in stride, making jokes about himself like Gabriel Iglesias did. But he felt that even though he could roll with the punches, he had to prove his mettle. He had to show them that he wasn’t just a fluffy guy. That he was also made of more than that.

He had spent most of the fall and the winter of his junior year of high school in his garage, working and tinkering on a project that he merely called “The Devon Project”. No one outside of his house knew what it was about. No one asked, but here he was, almost finished on the project and just about ready to demo it for the rest of the school. And it was going to be at the annual carnival and exhibition for his high school.

He went to sleep that night, and instead of dreaming triumphant dreams, he had terrible nightmares. Nightmares of failures, of becoming the butt of all jokes, and not surviving the rest of high school. He woke up feeling very nervous, in a pool of sweat and worry. After putting on his glasses and rolling out of bed, at 5AM, he went out to the garage and proceeded to spend his morning with car wax in his hands.

He went to school that morning, and had to deal with certain taunts about his weight and other things. He looked at them, smiled, and said, “Don’t worry about my feelings. Wait for this afternoon, and we’ll have a good laugh about it.” The other kids laughed, seemingly at him, but inside wondered what he would actually do.

At the proper time, the carnival and exhibition was open for business. School was out, with students, teachers, and parents milling around the sprawling high school campus. On one side of the massive high school lawn, were a bunch of cars. Members of the auto club and others brought out their vehicles to show off, and to win contests.

Rodolfo had gone home just before the carnival started, and as he opened the garage door, he pushed his surprise out of the small shed-like building. The sun glistened on the newly painted black exterior, glinting off the chrome and the steel. He turned the key, and the engine started and purred like a kitten who had too much love in it’s heart. The fluffy guy, the man everyone called “Round Rodolfo”, would be making splashes at the carnival this year.

He drove his vehicle to the high school, and pulled in through the parking lot and onto the lawn. People looked at his vehicle, a newly restored 1972 Oldsmobile 442, with a pitch black exterior, Shelby-Cobra emblems all over it, and a hearty engine that made others pale in comparison. He slow-rode his way past the other gawkers.

“Is that Round Rodolfo?” one person asked, in disbelief.

“Wow! How did he get a car like that?” another guy asked.

“Is he still single?” one young lady asked her friend, who looked at her with a look that read “Are you insane, girl?”

Rodolfo did a quick rev and jet, then pulled into the end spot. He got out of his vehicle, turned around, and looked at it. By now, a good crowd had gathered.

“Hey, Rodolfo. Is this yours?” one of the auto club members asked him.

“Yeah, paid for it with my own wages. This is my baby.”

“Looks cool, sir. You got style, man.”

Rodolfo got a compliment, for the first time in a good long time. And boy, it felt good. No longer was he boxed in. He was soon to be known as “Rockin’ Rodolfo”, and would be known for one of the prettiest vehicles in the whole school.