Below is my story inspired by last week’s blog hop photo prompt. Enjoy!
Shelia averted her eyes, trying not to make eye contact with the old man. She leaned a shoulder toward her friend.
“I don’t like how this city enables the homeless. Why would anyone want to clean up their act if they get food, free shelter, and funds from random people?”
Tracy glanced over to the man, who said nothing, as the two ladies strolled by him. “I know. We perpetuate the problem every time we toss money into their can.”
“We should be able to walk down the street without being pestered for spare change,” said Sheila.
“The homeless scare me anyway. You never know what they’re on,” Tracy said.
“Totally. Speaking of which, did you see how tipsy John got at the holiday party?”
The two women continued on, leaving the man behind. He tightened his jacket closer around his neck. The winter weather had flared the burn of his arthritis, and it was getting harder to sketch the stories.
Two hours passed with plenty of glances, careless chatter, and frigid cold.
“Daddy? What’s that man doing? He looks cold.”
The old man turned his attention to a small boy walking with his father. The boy was swinging a bucket in one hand and grasping his father’s hand with the other.
“I’m not sure, buddy. Shall we ask him?” the father replied.
“Yeah! Look he has a sketchbook! I bet he can draw Superman.”
The two approached the man. “Hello there, gentlemen,” he said with warm smile. “What are you up to this fine winter day?”
“We’re exploring the city!” said the boy. “What are you doing?”
“Well, what do you know? I am exploring the city too!”
The boy look confused. “But you are just sitting here.”
“Yes. Sometimes we have to be still to find the treasures we’re looking for,” said the old man, giving the boy a wink.
“I have treasures,” said the boy proudly, holding up his bucket.
“Ah. What’ve you got in there?”
“I have a horse, some string, some dominoes and a buncha stuff. I take it all to the park and play with kids there. It’s fun to share things cuz more brains think of cooler things to do with the stuff.”
“You’re a smart boy,” the man paused, “Say, may I sketch a portrait of you with your bucket of treasures?”
The man looked up at the boy’s father and handed him his card. It read: Daniel McGrath–Author followed by Mr. McGrath’s contact information.
“It’s fine with me if you want him to, buddy,” said the father
“Sure. What do you do with the drawing?” asked the boy.
“Well, you keep your treasures in your bucket. I keep the treasures I find in my sketch journal. Then I write the story that goes with the portrait. I’m writing a whole book.”
“I get to be in your book!?”
“Absolutely. You have an open heart; that’s a rare treasure. Don’t lose it, okay?”
“Okay!” said the boy.
“Good. Let’s sketch your story!”
Word count= 500