The calendar may say it’s still Autumn, but winter has arrived in Pittsburgh. Hello, all you rock ‘n’ rollers all over the world! The man on the radio just said it was only 18 degrees and windy. The high today will be only 25 with a mix of clouds and sunshine and the possibility of snow flurries.
But the show must go on. The show will go on! I’ve got a diary/smut magazine to put out. After I publish this blog post I’ll take a quick walk to Armand’s in Little Italy for a couple of beers and some socialization.
A Christmas Story by Guy Hogan
I was at Armand’s yesterday late in the morning. The stools at the bar were full. Some of the people were retired like I am and a couple of the men had been working on a roof, but the roof had started to ice over and there were a couple of people I didn’t know and therefor I didn’t know what they did for a living or even if they worked for a living. There were only a couple of women in the bar.
Then this other woman walked in dressed for the cold weather outside. She wasn’t a young woman but she was not an old woman, either. I really couldn’t guess her age. She had a pleasant face. She handed one of the men sitting at the bar a card. I knew his name. He was a regular and baked bread at night for a living. A large purse was slung from the woman’s right shoulder. He read the card and looked at her and gave the card back. The bartender, a woman and a baby boomer like I am, came over and said to the other woman she could not solicit in the bar. The woman gave the bartender the card. The bartender read the card and gave the card back and said there was no soliciting in the bar.
All this time the woman with the card never spoke while she was in the bar. Not a word. She just watched the face of the person speaking to her.
She walked to the inner door. The night baker got up and followed her and I followed the two of them. The two of them opened the other door and the three of us went out into the cold. I waited several paces away as the silent woman took out several trinkets from her large purse and displayed them to the baker. All the trinkets were on a silver ring. He finally choose one and asked, how much? Throughout the transaction I notice how intently she watched his face. She never said a word. The cold wind was blowing. I had left my coat on my stool. She showed him all eight fingers and both thumbs. He took out his wallet and gave her $10.00 and she gave him the trinket he had picked out, unhooking the trinket from the ring.
I caught her eye as the night baker went back into Armand’s. I walked up to the silent woman and she gave me the card she had shown the night baker and the bartender. The card said she was a deaf mute and she made her living selling crafts. I usually wear a wristband on my left wrist. I always wear the wristband for karaoke the first Sunday night of every month at Sonny’s Tavern in Little Italy. The wristband is black but it’s really just an old shoe lace. So, she pulled out the craft pieces that the night baker had look at. There was really nothing I liked. All the time she intently watched my face and no doubt saw the doubt in my face. All of the trinkets were on the single silver ring. She put that ring back in her purse and pulled out a smaller ring of trinkets.
And there it was, a wrist band made up of small, what-looked-to-be black pearls. Of course they were imitation black pearls, but I still liked the way they looked. I pointed to it and pulled up the left sleeve of my long-sleeve sweat shirt and showed her the old shoe lace wrapped around my wrist. She took the wrist band off of the ring and showed me how to adjust it and I said how much and she held up all the digits of her right hand and I pulled out my wallet from my right back pocket and paid her the five dollars.
She put the ring back in her large purse and tapped her heart twice and I did the same thing and she smiled and I watched her walk away, mentally wishing her good luck and wondering what her life was like and if she made the trinkets herself or sold them for a store or an organization that gave her a cut of the profits or maybe she belonged to a cult that took all the money and just clothed her and gave her room and board…
Back inside the bar I walked up to the night baker who sat on his high stool at the bar and I said something like, “Do you think she was really deft and mute?’
He thought for a moment. “Yes, I think she was. I bet she was for real.”
“I think she was, too.”
I went back to my own stool near the window. The two nearest men to me were Vietnam War veterans like I was.
“Now that I’ve survived long enough to take retirement I plan to pursue my dream of being a full-time professional blogger win, lose or draw. And I’m living my dream right now.”–Guy Hogan
This is Guy Hogan reporting for the Pittsburgh Flash Fiction Gazette. All photos of Lenka Haskova were sampled from Egoallstars. Join the party. Bookmark or follow or take out a free email subscription to my little diary/smut magazine today!