That Old Coot by Logan Cox

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This is the story of Frank.

Frank was the type of man who had never heard of the word “merriment” and if he had at some point crossed paths with it, he would’ve likely guessed that it was only a term that should be used regarding two people who were considering the prospect of being wed in holy matrimony. He did not care for antics, tomfoolery, or shenanigans of any kind. He is the remnant of a generation that shook their fists at skateboarders and other wheel-enabled delinquents.

He was most often called by his name to his face, and “that old coot” once his back had turned.

If you have ever sat in your reclining chair with a TV dinner and a Wi-Fi connection and casually wondered whether there was a single soul left in this world that puts on their hat and suit just to venture outside each day, let your wondering be satisfied at last, for there is but one.

One day Frank had enough.

His hearing aid was fully operational and thus he could hear the offensive garbage that the blonde woman’s little miscreant child was saying about him. He had indeed had fun “for one day in his miserable life.” Granted, it was likely just the one day, but he could fully recognize the concept if he were to see it again.

He chuckled to himself, not visibly, just the kind of chuckle that exists in the recesses of ones brain. He was amused because he imagined cracking that little chocolate-faced monster on the knee with his cane, and then reverting back to the harmless, grumpy old man everyone believed him to be once the police arrived. It was laughable to imagine the confusion of law enforcement as everyone in the neighborhood attempted to convince the officers of the truth.

The joy of the dream faded once the eye-roll realization arrived that smacking a snot-nosed little kid who fully deserved it now likely amounted to “child abuse.” His own parents had called it “good judgement” and being the one who was the recipient of those often well-judged beatings, he thought he was in a fair position to tell the current generation that he had indeed deserved it completely.

The bane of Frank’s very existence rode upon skateboard and was mere moments away from crossing over the boundary line into the old man’s jurisdiction of sidewalk.

He stuck his cane out across the sidewalk, giving the child plenty of advance notice to stop, and therefore not intending to injure him. The boy had a stupid, new-age, nonsensical name that is so atrocious it has been omitted from this account, and henceforth we will refer to him only as Lucifer.

Lucifer came to a halt, but cut the timing far too close because he had not been paying attention to where he was going (as per usual) and promptly spat out several curse words that a young boy his age had absolutely no business retaining in his vocabulary repertoire.

“What?” Lucifer said, rudely.

“Let me see that,” Frank said, pointing to the skateboard with his cane.

“You can see it from there,” The boy said, purposely missing the meaning.

“No, I can’t, I’m ‘a million years old’ remember?”

The boy looked slightly shocked that he had been able to hear and recall that quotation, and that shock was enough for Frank to win the skateboard.

Frank stayed sitting but turned the board over in his hands, making confused faces at the strange designs.

After standing around for a minute, Lucifer’s short-fused patience ran out. “What do you want with it?”

“To ride it.”

“You?” The boy sneered.

“Can’t be that hard, you do it.”

I’m good.”

You hit a fire hydrant last week.”

Frank stood and put one shoe on the board, finally alarming the nearby adults who now watched intently, albeit reasonably assured he would not raise the second foot.

“What happens if I break your toy?”

“You better not come back.” Lucifer growled.

“Deal.”

Frank raised the second foot and began to gain speed. Nearby eyes grew wide and gaping mouths grew even wider, as the grandstands now watched (and considered rescuing) the old man careening down the street.

Frank passed his block. Then the next block. Then the hill at the end of the visible street.

Frank did not come back, he was having too much fun.

*****

Logan Cox

Logan Cox is a young writer who is currently lost at sea. He writes stories and puts them in corked bottles, setting them adrift for publishers and other assorted explorers, who locate them almost every time.

Some links to previously published stories-

https://thedillydounreview.com/issue-2-volume-2/logan-cox/

https://flashfictionmagazine.com/blog/2021/03/29/mon-etoile/#comments

https://eunoiareview.wordpress.com/2021/01/08/shopping-and-kindness/

Cover Image by Intographics

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