Fiction written by members and friends of the MuseItUp Club. Submissions are invited for this page.*
by Nick Tyler
pickup football game came to a halt. Someone spotted 'Lobster Face' strolling down the walkway beyond the end zone.
redness of his cheeks made him look like he belonged to some unknown race. His droopy chin pointed out over his sagging chest.
"Hey, Lobster Face," BT called.
"Relax." I grabbed BT's arm; he shrugged me off as if I didn't exist.
talking to you, you stupid drunk!" BT continued his assault.
Morley, Chris, Wiley and Mitch stood silent, all of them
offering phony smiles, ones that wanted to fit in.
The old man maintained his pace.
"Why do you come walking
around here all the time, Lobster Face?" BT shouted.
The old man's back faced us now.
"Don't walk away from
me!" BT marched ahead, an angry rage plastered on his face and accompanying his words. The rest of the pack followed.
escalated too fast. Here I was, stuck between siding with my lifelong friends and saving this old man from humiliation.
ran in front of BT, who led the enraged pack of seething beasts. He stopped and looked down at me as if I'd lost my mind.
"I know that man," I explained, pointing behind me.
"His name is Harry. He took care of me
when I was a kid. My mother was too upset about my father's illness. She had no energy to do anything for years. I haven't
seen him in ages, but I know that's him. We stopped keeping in touch after my mother got better and finally accepted my father's
death. That man you're calling Lobster Face is a good man, and formerly my father's best friend. He's not a drunk. Those are
third degree burns. He's a retired firefighter."
Paralyzing guilt washed over their faces.
"Why didn't you
"I tried. From what my mother says, that man has nothing. He walks to the store for a bag of peanuts
every day. He has no money or family."
"Maybe we can help him," BT said, showing he had a good side.
got a few bucks in the car," Morley offered.
"What if we all chip in twenty bucks?" Mitch bettered. "Maybe he can
get some food for the week."
"I think that's a great idea." I focused on each of their faces. "If you guys are really
They all agreed.
After pooling the money, we hopped in BT's jeep and chased the old man down. His
jubilant reaction caused proud looks to consume all of my friends' faces. Mission accomplished.
After finishing the football game,
I drove behind the horse stables, where I knew Old Man Harry would be waiting.
"Well done," I said as I approached.
"Anytime," he said with a scratchy voice as he held out fifty dollars. "Here's your share."
"Thanks." I grabbed
the cash and stuffed it in my pocket. "I've got some cousins getting together for a stickball game tomorrow. I'll call you
in the morning with the details."
© Nick Tyler
Nick Tyler has written three books: Rawson’s Fun House, Rawson’s Revenge and
Mind Bomb. He is currently working on The Locals and Short Shorts. He has won
several short story contests, although hasn’t yet broken into the traditional publishing world. He trades stocks for
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