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Anthony Hall

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Member Since: May, 2004

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Epitaph
By Anthony Hall
Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Rated "PG" by the Author.

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Recent stories by Anthony Hall
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Short story, based on a memory of what happened one evening many years ago...

Aaron Michaels lugged his briefcase toward one of the 3 benches at the bus stop. He walked past the first one, though its sole occupant was an attractive redhead in a tight fitting, blue jean jumpsuit that emphasized her rather remarkable attributes. However, Aaron was not feeling very sociable. “What is it about redheads and blue jeans?” he asked himself as he sat down in the middle of the second bench. Aaron knew that this strategic positioning usually discouraged others from joining him. This would be his little island of solitude. Although the bench had recently been painted, but he decided it still looked as battered and stressed as he felt. ‘Misery loves company’, the thought brought a wry smile to Aaron’s lips, but it did nothing to assuage his weariness.

Aaron works in Pleasanton, CA at AT&T as a Residential service account rep Supervisor. He knew it was going to a long day when his first crisis was a guy who wanted an 83-minute call to Iran taken off his bill. He claimed that because of the poor reception, he had to repeat everything twice.
“Why did you stay on the phone so long?” Aaron asked
‘It’s not my fault your lines are no good!” yelled the man, “I’m not paying for this call!” Yes, the beginning of another glorious day…

“Where is that damn bus? Its freezing out here” grumbled Aaron. His double-breasted, pinstripe, charcoal suit offered little protection from the Mid-September winds with their chilling caresses.

“Is it cold enough for you?” asked a man that Aaron had not seen walk up, as he was concentrating on retracting his head down between his shoulder in an effort to keep his ears warm. “What’s up brotha? My name’s Rudy,” he said as he sat down next to Aaron, apparently blind to the fact that this person did not want to be disturbed. “How long before the bus to Walnut Creek gets here?”
“In about 15 or 20 minutes.” Aaron answered. Despite his desire for solitude, Aaron found himself liking this friendly, plump Mexican with a mustache that looked like the handlebars of a Harley Davidson.

“My name is Aaron.” he offered.
“What’s happening Aaron? You look like you could use a drink. Thirsty?”
“Why? Do you have a thermos full of hot coffee on you?” Aaron asked sarcastically. Rudy appeared not to notice as he answered only with a devilish grin. Reaching into the inside pocket of his black nylon jacket, he pulled out a bottle of…Aaron couldn’t believe it…Root Beer Schnapps!

“This will keep you warm, or at least make you think that you are.” laughed Rudy. He had one of those hearty, genuinely happy laughs that wriggles its way inside your stomach, shoots up and tickles you neck and grabs the corners of your mouth and you suddenly find yourself laughing too.

“I had heard that they made this stuff, but I didn’t think that anyone really drank it!” Aaron chuckled.
“Man thin will put hair on the bottom of you feet! C’mon try it, we might as well enjoy ourselves while we freeze!” replied Rudy.

“Well Rudy, with my butt frozen to this bench and me without an ice pick, that is an offer I can’t refuse!”
“Its an acquired taste” Rudy said as he offered Aaron the bottle. As Aaron opened the bottle, Rudy pointed up the street saying, “Here comes the bus, all right!”
Watching it approach, Aaron prayed it was the right one.
“Crap! That’s the Livermore bus” Aaron said disgusted, as it rolled to a halt. The large, rectangle LED screen on the front of the bus seemed to mock him as it flashed in bold, white capital letters, LIVERMORE…LIVERMORE…LIVERMORE…

The redhead was the lucky winner in this evening’s lotto. Rudy shouted, asking her to take him along. She paused at the door and flashed him a dazzling smile.

“Whew! I bet if she sat on your lap your butt would thaw out in a hurry! But we got the next best thing. Bye-bye you hot mama you!” Rudy said, as he waved to the vanishing bus.

“How do you like…” he started to say, but Aaron’s face was so contorted, Rudy doubled over laughing, which started Aaron laughing and since he had not quite swallowed the mouthful of Schnapps, the rest sprayed out on the sidewalk and on Rudy’s shoes.

“Sorry ‘bout that. You weren’t joking about this stuff, it has a kick!”
“How can you tell? You spit most of it out!” said Rudy, still laughing.
“Here, let me show you how its done” and taking two big gulps, he smacked his lips and then belched. “Ahh, that’s my favorite part!”

For the next 5 minutes, the two concerned themselves with consuming the entire contents of the bottle.

“So tell me uh, Aa, Aaron, wazit, whats it you do..do for job?”
“AT&T, the ri-hic, the right choice! R-Really though I, I’m a (burrrp) writer”
“I never heard of a “burrrp’ writer before, laughed Rudy at his own joke. “Is there much, haha, much money in it!” he added, tears rolling down his face as he laughed even harder.

“No, I mean po’try, that sort of thing. I started onna song, it a Country/Western song I call ‘The Conveyor Belt of Love’. I can tell you want me to sing it for, right? Here it goes:

‘I used to be a young man as happy as can be
I had me a real fine gal, prettiest girl in Tennessee
But she turned around and dogged me, I swear to god above
She broke my heart and put it on the Conveyor belt of Love

I thought I made her happy, I thought I did it well
I worked all day from dawn to dusk, for my sweet southern bell
I would’ve done most anything for my little turtledove
But she broke my heart and put it on the Conveyor belt of Love…’

“that’s all I got so far.”

“That’s plenty!” yelled Rudy as he began laughing again.

“You know what would be funny?” said Aaron as he tried to hold back his own mirth, “is if our bus never comes and they find us in the morning, frozen like two big ice cubes!”

“Yeah, but we’d probably be having too much fun to notice and that’s how they would find us, two big, grinnin’ ice cubes!” agreed Rudy. As he pictured the ludicrous scene in his mind, he started laughing even harder.

“They would have to bury us in one huge grave, bench and all, and our tombstone would read:
‘They were laughing when they died’ concluded Aaron.

Then he joined his voice with Rudy’s, the laughter of two friends echoing up into the night.


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Reviewed by Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado 6/9/2005
nice story, anthony! very well done!! more stories, please!...

(((HUGS))) and much love, your friend in tx., karen lynn. :D
Reviewed by Shirley Cheng 1/12/2005
That is a very cute, and warm story, which gives you a warm feeling...great write! LOL

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