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The Old Man
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TITLE (EDIT)
The Old Man
DESCRIPTION
A story on the end of a great man's life.
[775 words]
AUTHOR
Tony De Lima
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
-
[January 2006]
AUTHOR'S OTHER TITLES (1)
Fisherman And The Gringo (Short Stories) A small-town fisherman has an interesting encounter in a cantina. [1,054 words]
The Old Man
Tony De Lima


The day was cold and harsh. The gloomy sky loomed overhead with an intimidating power. The tumbleweed rolled across the road. The beggar’s life was ruined, just as it always had been. Thundered upon and scorched, the man appeared to be. Probably from ceaseless days in the blazing heat and treacherous clouds. Everyday the aged old man would walk with his battered cane to the docks of San Patricio. Everyday, when the old man arrived at the docks, he would wait for the snapper boats.

            The snapper boats docked. Then the old man would rise from his bucket that doubled as a stool and walked crookedly toward the boat captain of the “’Ija de la Chingada” fishing trawler.

            “Jefe!” cried out the boat captain as his crew unloaded tons of wet, red snapper from the belly of the enormous trawler. “Como estas Sebastian, mi buen amigo?” the old man asked. The old man spoke with his three gold teeth that created a lisp. “No tienes pescado que me das pa’ vende’"? the old man asked quietly and rubbing his bony and vein-covered hands together. “Maldito ‘inche viejo! Siempre pide ‘inches pescados!” muttered Sebastian under his breath. “Ahí te va!” Sebastian muttered hurriedly and angrily as he tossed the old man a single bony snapper, yellow with disease. “Muchas gracias Sebastian, eres muy generoso” the old man said, his eyes twinkling with tears.

            The old man returned to his bucket. He skillfully sliced and gutted the fish. He used his callus-encrusted hands to rip the bright red meat from the fish’s cold and wretched body. It was still cold out. The old man wore nothing but huaraches, trousers almost as old as he was and a large brown leather jacket. The jacket was warm. It was a gift from a once loving and caring wife. Something caught his eye. It glimmered. There it was. Hanging out of the fish’s torn guts was a solid gold ring. The old man gasped. “’Ija de su madre!” The old man was sputtering tears of joy. He was on his knees. The old man whispered a prayer into the daunting clouds. The old man slowly slid the ring over his bony, skinny finger. It was ice cold. Nothing happened. Then, the old man curled his collar about his neck and curled up to sleep.

            When he awoke he rubbed his hands to warm them. The ring was still there. The man smiled. The crooked old man stood up. He felt powerful. He hobbled off to the plaza. It was empty, except for a few pigeons nodding their heads, scavenging for food. The man felt their pain. The old man asked his good friend Juan Vargas, the horseman, for a bale of hay to feed a cow that the old man sometimes looked after. Juan Vargas stared deeply into the old man’s eyes.“Tienes que ser un pinche loco! Vayase de aqui!” yelled Juan Vargas, waving his arm. The old man teetered on his cane. It was his only support in his wretched life. However, the old man felt squashed. Just as a fly on your morning bread.

The old man managed to walk to the open field on the calm bay. There she was. Maria was plump but beautiful. The man walked cautiously toward her. He patted her. She gave a short, soft moo. He sat next to her and rubbed her side with the back of his hand. “Lo siento Maria, no me dieron comida pa’ da’te.” Maria simply gazed at him with loving eyes as if to say “Its alright, I still love you.” The man slowly and painfully rose to his feet. He patted her gently. He saw his finger, the ring was now warm and fit comfortably on the old man’s hand. He squatted a few feet away from Maria on the sand of the beach. He gathered small twigs, lit a match and there erupted a small flame. It burnt for two hours. It kept the old man warm. When the fire was nothing more than smoldering hot ashes, the old man tossed a red slice of meat onto the coals. Snapper is good grilled on coals. He pulled a lime from the lime tree and squeezed it over his feast. The old man was happy. As he cooked he thought of the day. He sat cross-legged with his cane in his lap. He slowly chewed the snapper with his three gold teeth. Maria gave another soft moo and fell asleep. The old man, swallowed the last piece of snapper, curled the collar of his jacket about his neck, and fell asleep.



      

 

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COPYRIGHT NOTICE
© 2003 Tony De Lima
STORYMANIA PUBLICATION DATE
January 2006
NUMBER OF TIMES TITLE VIEWED
1074
 

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