I wrote this is 15 minutes as a writing excersize similar to tossing a baseball, jogging to a run and stretching. I didnt even read it yet and I would love to get some responses.
The old man was walking in a rushed pace. Well rushed pace for him at least. At 83 years old he had once been a daily runner but gave that up at 65 when he felt while running and ended up with a broken hand. Well, broken finger to be exact, but Irving Grunon was the sort of person that overreacted to every occurrence he witnessed, was involved in or even heard about. So he stopped running and began to get old.
Twenty years earlier he was owner of a clothing company in New York City. He was a workaholic and a demanding boss who alienated everyone who worked for him. His favorite phrase, “If you need something done right, you need to do it yourself.” When he said this to his 3rd wife when he turned 50 years old and she bought him a watch she thought he would love, it was the last straw and she promptly took the watch, packed her bags and walked out. His response upon the door slamming shut? “About time, how much abuse do I have to throw at someone before they get the hint and get the fuck out of my life?”
He has lived alone for twenty years, been estranged from his two sons and only had human interaction with people who were on his payroll. He would get to work at 8am and leave the office at 8pm. He would have dinner at BBM’s on Broadway and 72nd Street every night of the week. The staff knew him there and knew to keep their distance. He tipped well so they ignored his grunts and his overall curmudgeon aura. Each night he would order one of 7 meals which he made sure were available each night. He dined alone, read the New York Times and during his tea and desert he would fill out the crossword puzzle – seven days a week.
His two sons walked out in unison when he berated them both and called them “Parasites who cant even suck the blood out of their host the right way,” in front of their extended family. It was Thanksgiving Dinner and his response when they both walked out? “Good now they can stop stealing my money and stealing my time with stupid questions and problems.”
So here he was walking with a cane, through the West Side of Central Park on a cool October afternoon. With each step his cane would hit the floor and a wince would reflexively appear on his face. There was no physical pain, just a feeling of distaste and anger. You see Irving Grunon was walking his final steps on this earth. He knew it – somehow he knew that this was the end. He had called his two sons this morning to say “Goodbye” but instead left messages for them as they would not pick up the phone when he would call. He called his three ex-wives and each one hung up on him when they heard his voice. He called the high priced escort that he had on his payroll for the past three years and she expressed sadness that she would not see him anymore. His doorman shook his hand and said, “Its been a pleasure avoiding you Mr. Grunon.”
“Its been a pleasure being avoided…doorman.”
“My name, is Ed.”
“You think I give a rats ass? Open the door and I will give you a twenty.”
He walked slower now recalling some episodes in his life.
There was being born during the Great Depression, going through childhood during World War Two when he lost his father and an Uncle in the Normandy Invasion. There was his mother’s own great depression which left him alone and cared for by his grandmother who had the warmth of an ice cube. There was the time he met Irene, his first wife, listed her prospects on a sheet of paper and decided that he would want to ask for her hand in marriage. His two sons being born 1 year apart and fighting with his wife when he did not want to hold them or change their diapers. The great divorce proceedings when they were each 6 and 7 years old. At first he refused to give in to her demands but when it was pointed out to him how much time he would miss from work and how much he would have to pay the lawyers – he gave in a gave her what she wanted. His second marriage to the Italian girl, Jacklyn. What a mistake that was. “never marry the help.” was what he said when she walked out. And of course, Tanya, the “sensitive one.”
He sat down on a bench and remembered the looks on all the peoples faces that he had hurt. The looks on their faces when he made his critical comments to them and the looks on their faces when he dismissed them as if they were nothing but an old pair of sneakers.
He felt for the first time in a long time a feeling of…something. Maybe it was just a feeling a sense of understanding just what kind of person he had spent his life being. He had a stunned look as if he had just realized something. But it was too late.
He fell to the ground from his bench, the cane falling to the side and his fedora fell off his head. Alone.