Thursday, September 29, 2011

An Unusual Encounter (3)

Below is installment number 3 of this piece of fiction.  I probably won't post any more here.  Again, your comments, feedback and criticism are appreciated.

An Unusual Encounter (3)

Chance paused as he shook the old man’s hand and said, “Mr. O’Malley, I can’t imagine who it is that I remind you of.  I grew up a good bit east of here in Southwestern Oklahoma.  As far as I know I don’t have any relatives out this way.  Maybe I just have a common face.”

“Son, do you have any relatives by the name of Charles and Nancy Hunter?”

The muscles on Chance’s face tightened at the names.  It had been many years since he’d thought about his parents who died in a wreck back in the 60’s.  He had been raised by an aunt and uncle in Oklahoma after his parents were killed.  He could barely remember them.

The wreck had occurred on some back country road in the Texas Panhandle.  His parents had been on a vacation in northern New Mexico and were on their way home.  Chance and his sister Katie had been left with their aunt and uncle who eventually became their foster parents.  The casket wasn’t even opened at the funeral because, his aunt told him, it wouldn’t do to remember them this way.  His uncle later told him they had been so mutilated by the wreck that the mortician couldn’t make them look normal.  So, Chance’s last memory of his mother and father was a tearful farewell as they pulled away from the old farmhouse where his aunt and uncle lived.  He never understood why he and Katie couldn’t go with them to New Mexico.

The old man waited as the faraway look slowly faded from Chance’s eyes.  He knew the answer even before the soft reply, “That was my parent’s names.”

“Well, I thought it might be.  You look just like your father except your eyes.  They look like your mother’s eyes.”

“You knew my parents?”

“Yep, it was a long time ago.  Your dad, Charlie, and I were partners in a little adventure back in the mid 50’s.  When he and your mom got hitched, I got to know her too.  We were good friends even though I was nearly 30 years older than him.  I even saw you once when you were a baby.  You were born at the hospital in Hobart weren’t you?  I came and visited your folk’s right after that.”

“Chance, I’ve got a lot to tell you and it’s gonna take some time.  Why don’t you order something to eat and I’ll start.  We’ll see where things go from there.”

Chance grabbed the menu, relieved to have a minute to collect his thoughts.  He was having a hard time focusing on the items because his mind was reeling at the idea that this old man knew his parents.  He finally flagged the bartender and ordered a hamburger and fries.

The old man said, “Bring us a couple more beers with that if you would.  We may be here awhile.”

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

An Unusual Encounter (2)

Below is a continuation of the piece of fiction that I posted here yesterday.  I'm still waiting for input!

An Unusual Encounter (2)

Upon closer inspection, Chance noticed a few things about the old gentleman that made him quickly realize this was no ordinary individual.  The Levi jeans were ordinary, but the cuffs were turned up and he wore a pair of slightly scuffed black cowboy boots that were hooked on the rounds of the stool.  A pair of rainbow colored suspenders stretched over a rounded belly and connected the jeans to the rest of his body.  The long-sleeved white shirt was of the finest Egyptian cotton and probably cost a couple of hundred dollars.  On the lapel was a small gold cloverleaf and the cuffs were adorned with a matching pair of the same.  But the thing that caught Chance’s eye was the large nugget ring on the right hand.  It’s a wonder he can lift his hand was the thought that flashed through his mind.

The old man saw Chance glance at the ring and smiled.  He said, “Son, what’re you drinking?  I’m in the mood for some company and if you’ll sit and visit awhile the drinks are on me.”

“I’ll just have one of those like you’re drinking.  It looks like it ought to quench my thirst.”

The bartender brought the tall glass of Irish Ale and the two raised their glasses and said, “Cheers.”

For a while the two sat in silence listening to the quiet murmurings coming from the various customers in the pub.  The bartender brought a menu and told Chance to let him know if he wanted something to eat.

Chance pushed the menu to the side and continued to sip on his Ale.  He wasn’t sure how to begin a conversation with the quiet old man sitting beside him but, he felt that it was someone he needed to know.  It was one of those feelings that occasionally come over a person yet nothing he could put his finger on.  Fortunately, he didn’t have to; the old man did it for him.

Turning to Chance, the old man said, “Pat O’Malley is my name.  I own this old pub.  What brings you to town?”

“I’m just passing through.  I like to eat here in Old Town when I’m in the area, but, usually it’s Mexican food.  Tonight I just wasn’t in the mood.  My name’s Chance, by the way, Chance Hunter.”

“Good to meet you Chance,” said the old man, sticking out his hand.  “You remind me of someone I knew about 50 years ago -- spotted it when you walked in the door.”

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

An Unusual Encounter

A while back I indicated that I would be including an occasional piece of fiction on this blog.  Below is the beginning of one.  Your feedback in the comments section would be greatly appreciated.  Where should I go with the story?  What adventure will this encounter lead to? 

An Unusual Encounter

The little old man at the bar appeared as though he was pushing a hundred.  Perched on the stool with a tall glass of some dark beer in front of him, he looked a bit like a garden gnome except he didn’t wear a pointed hat.  But, the white beard and shaggy white hair peeking from under the black Fedora perched on his head made him look like a fictional character from a 50’s era movie – or, a garden gnome out of costume.

Chance Hunter was just passing through town.  It had been years since he had been in Albuquerque, but, here he was again.  Old Town had been calling his name ever since leaving Grants and he needed something to quench his thirst as well as his appetite.  He just wasn’t in the mood for New Mexico style Mexican food so he ducked into what looked like an Irish Pub.  Surely they would have a sandwich or something to go with a good drink.

Originally, Chance had intended to make it to Amarillo before stopping for the night, but, a flat tire had altered the plan.  It didn’t take long to change it, but, getting it fixed in Grants took a little longer than expected.

The transition from the bright sunshine of the New Mexico day into the darkness of the pub caused Chance to pause briefly just inside the door.  It was a typical pub with tables and booths of some dark wood and various signs clinging dustily to the walls advertising an eclectic collection of ales and stouts, most of which no longer existed except in memory.  The bar looked inviting and since there was only one other patron sitting there, it was easy enough to find a stool.

Chance eyed the little old man with curiosity.  The look wasn’t unnoticed.  With a twinkle that reflected a deep-felt joy with life, the old man said, “Sit down youngster and take a load off.”

“I don’t mind if I do,” said Chance.

So began an encounter that would change the life of Chance Hunter forever.

Monday, September 26, 2011


Last week we had my daughter and grandchildren here all week.  I'm suffering from withdrawal already!

I still haven't figured this Grandpa bit out though.  I'm obviously not old enough to be a grandfather.  I look in the mirror and see the same person I've always seen, yet, when I look at my classmates or peers, I see people who are aging quickly!  But, in spite of the fact that I'm too young to be a grandfather, my classmates/peers obviously are not.  So, logically, in spite of how I feel, I must be old enough.  Besides, it sure is a lot of fun.

The other thing that really throws me off about the grandchildren thing is that I just can't seem to keep up anymore.  I'm actually in pretty good shape physically, yet, they can wear me out!  How can they have so much energy?!  I found that as the week went on my arms began to get really sore.  It took me awhile to figure out why.  At first I thought it was from picking them up.  But, no, I think it was from pushing the swing!  They couldn't get enough.

What is it about grandchildren that make them such a joy?  I'm sure there is some deep reason that is tied to our genetic need to replicate and perpetuate, but, surely there is a simple answer.  Maybe it is just God's gift to us that says, "Hey, you didn't do such a bad job with your own kids after all!"

Just thinking.....