Tattered Blue Parka

So I haven’t posted anything in a little while so I decided I’d do another quick short story working under the same idea as the last post. A set word limit and go as fast as possible. This is what I came up with.

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It’s Goddamned cold, Paul thought. He was walking with a quick staccato rhythm.  His hands jammed in his pockets, hidden from the cold. He had made sure to walk on the dark side of the road; the late afternoon sun, though warm and soothing, was too bright for him. He disliked squinting against the light. Not intensely. As much as anyone else on the busy street he supposed.

Cars hurried along the road. Work traffic. People just trying to get home.

He stopped abruptly at a crosswalk, waiting for the light to change with several other people. A man dressed in a frayed and dingy parka next to Paul shouted into a cell phone. Paul couldn’t really make out what he was saying, but he seemed like he was having a good time.

Paul watched the light for the crossing traffic change and took a step before the blinking walking sign started. The group followed him. He took a little joy from this then inwardly rebuked himself for such. He was on the other side of the street when he decided it was ok to enjoy the weird little things.

The man in the dirty parka with the faded blue hood walked beside him, still merrily shouting into his phone. His grey beard hid his mouth well and it bounced as he yelled.

The group stopped at the next crosswalk. It was on a wide intersection and the sun streamed down the corridor of buildings onto the pedestrians. Paul turned away from the light and was facing the man in the blue parka just as he ended his call and slipped his cell phone in his pocket. Their eyes locked. Paul’s and the man’s. Not the man’s and the cell phone’s. Cell phones don’t have eyes.

—Hey buddy. You got a dollar?

Paul furrowed his brow and pursed his lips in an attempt to convey incredulousness. He and the bearded man didn’t break eye contact. Paul still had his hands in his pockets while the man rubbed his dirt fingers together. Paul almost laughed out loud when he noticed he was wearing fingerless gloves, though he maintained his quizzical expression. Only movie hobos had those, he thought. The man continued looking directly at Paul.

—Man, I just saw you hang up your cell. That should do the trick, Paul assumed.

—Yeah, and they ain’t cheap.

The crowd started to cross the street around them. Paul narrowed his eyes, his lips still pressed against each other.  Without breaking the long look shared between the pair, Paul drew his hand from his pocket and placed a loonie in the man in the blue parka’s hand.

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