February 03, 2005

A Hot Summers Day

It was a hot summer’s day, nearing the end of August. There was no wind, not even a breeze, and I felt as if the air around me had come straight from an oven. My shirt was sticking to my back, and my skirt was no protection from the blistering heat of the bench I was sitting on. A small bluebottle droned around my head, dodging my useless swipes and persistently flying in its endless circle. I wiped my forehead in a futile attempt to somehow clean away the sweat gathering there, dripping down my skin like honey. I imagined that the flowers were starting to droop, and a young couple out for a stroll looked as if they might to wilt as well.

I leaned back lazily onto the bench feeling my eyes starting to close, when I was rudely interrupted by the penetrating sound of the bells of Westminster Abbey striking three o’clock. A red faced man walked past, closely followed by a small panting dog. I noticed how much the dog resembled his owner, short with a rounded waist and a fat, jolly face. They looked tired from the heat and walked along slowly, dragging their feet almost perfectly synchronised. I saw the man collapse onto the next bench and his dog fell beside him in a panting heap.

I pulled a small lump of sandwich out of its paper wrapper and began to munch sleepily. The cheese stuck in my teeth unpleasantly and it tasted foul, so I took out my apple and bit into it deeply, the sweet, succulent juices refreshing my tongue, and trickling down my throat in a delightful manner.

I watched dreamily as a tall man walked past, dressed in an expensive looking suit and a tasteless red tie. He sat on the bench next to the man with the dog who promptly left. As I watched, the man with the tie picked up something from the floor, pocketed it and walked off. This seemed to me to be rather odd as he did not appear to have dropped it and did not put it in a bin, but it was none of my business so I packed up my lunch and went back to the office.

About a week later I had gone back to the park for another relaxing lunch break, when I saw the man with his dog again. I watched him go past, amused by his resemblance to his dog which reminding me of him from before, and I wondered if he walked his dog here regularly. They walked over to the same bench where they sat down. This time I watched out of the corner of my eye as he looked around nonchalantly and dropped something on the floor, seemingly without noticing. The man with the tie walked past me and sat on the bench again. After the other man left, he picked up the object from the floor and walked off innocently.

I picked up my lunch and followed him, watching as he put the object, possibly a piece of paper, into his wallet. He strolled over to an ice-cream van where he bought a cone, and then he headed off out of the park towards Westminster Bridge where I lost sight of him in a crowd of shouting tourists, who were waving cameras dangerously.

I observed several of these meetings, which always took place at the same time. They happened once or twice a week, and after about a month I decided to follow the man with the tie again. His routine was the same as before, but this time I saw something fall from him on his way to the bridge. I walked over to it, and saw it was his wallet. I opened it slowly and started to look for the small, white piece of paper he had picked up from the man with the dog. It was nowhere to be found. It had seemingly disappeared. As I realised this, I felt a hand on my shoulder. I turned around to the man with the red tie standing there menacingly.

“What are you doing with my wallet?” he asked.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi
I just wanted to comment on your story. I enjoyed it and wondered if you belonged to any writing groups? If you don't you should do. You conjure up pictures with words. I wanted to read more - is this just a part of a story? I have only just started blogging but am not certain yet if it will hold my attention enough for me to carry on with this trend. I am a writer, interested
in fiction (short stories). Will be in to see more of your 'blogs' Liz

10:57 am  
Blogger Bean Frog said...

Thanks for your comment Liz.
This was written as an exercise to write the beginning of a novel. I'll probably be writing more of it at some point, and posting it here as I do. I think it'll end up more as a short story.
I don't belong to any writing groups at the moment, as I find it hard to make time for it around my PhD and Archery, it's something I do for fun really.
Where is your blog? I'd like to drop by and read it!

12:35 pm  

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