It was a beautiful sunny day in Lasky park.
People were moving slowly. No hurries. No worries.
Soaking it all up
Shadows were wrapped around everything
Sounds were muffled in the trees
One might have felt like pulling up a chair and reading a good book, maybe dozing off for a while
It looked like slow motion to Charlie, who took a seat on a bench, scraped the little stone that was bothering him off the bottom of his shoe, and unpacked his brown paper bag
The idea was it would contain Samantha's lunch of the day
Fuck he loved her
But the little orange Tupperware with his sandwich and the tangerine had been discarded
In favour of a bottle of Pappy's bourbon
He was fucking it up with Samantha.
He knew he was.
This was the definition of fucking it up with Samantha.
Charlie sat back on the bench, peeled back the brown paper from the bottle, looked around himself for any scornful gazes and upended it.
He suddenly felt his toes. Like they’d woken up. Tingling, coming back to life, a warmth creeping up him and finally into the part of his brain that manufactures smiles.
He did indeed smile as he looked forward to his next drink and was able to relax enough to appreciate two birds battling over something in the grass.
This is what Charlie wanted. Just 2 birds. Over there. Doing their thing. What were they fighting over. Where do they live.
Charlie needed to absorb himself in the birds
And forget everything else.
He was just picturing what these 2 fighting birds were going to give their kids for dinner and he heard the sound of footsteps slowing in front of him.
Another man, or rather the shadows and sounds from another man had slowed down past the bench, and seemed to be considering a seat
Charlie thought, for fucks sake how many other benches are there?
Literally 4 yards away right there buddy
But the man came over
And took a quiet seat at the opposite end of the bench
Charlie accepted the intrusion and vowed to get back to what he was doing
but he couldn't remember what he'd been doing.
The birds had gone, dispute resolved.
and life went on for everyone and everything.
Charlie thought about another sip but now this guy would think he's some wino or something. For fucks sake. Just a quiet drink in a quiet park without fucking bench stalkers. Is that too much to ask? Please.
Charlie looked down at the bag and was about to twist round to the side to take a secret sip but then the man spoke and stopped him in his tracks.
Man: I'll bet your'e worried about tonite
Charlie: Excuse me?
Man: Well you know Samantha is gonna say something tonite - you've been slacking - not paying her enough attention - smoking hot booty like that too - silly boy - and she's looking so hot...
Charlie: What the fuck, how do you know... you dont know anything about me
Man: I know everything about you
Charlie: Who are you?
Man: I’m you. I’m everyone.
Charlie: What? You're not me. Fuck off. You don’t know me.
Man: Oh really?
Man: OK so ask me a question about yourself that I couldn't possibly know?
And be ready to have your head fucked.
Man: You heard
Charlie wanted this fruit cake gone. Say something and then grab the booze and that should be enough for him to find another fucking bench
Charlie: OK. So, when I was 6 I had to bury my rat. I took him down to the river and used a rock to dig a little hole and bury him. I thanked that rock for helping me and I gave it a name. What was that name?
Man: Good one. Like it. Well, let me see now, oh, poor baby, your little face trying to hold the tears back, bless ya. Now what did you call that rock? Hang on. I got it. And you called it….. wait for it…. Ricky the rock.
Charlie felt a cold sweat settle on him. If he wasn't sitting down he might have needed to sit down.
Man: Ricky the rock, motherfucker
Charlie: I have never told that to anyone, not my folks, not even my sister back then, not my fucking dog, not even the silence when I am alone. Not once, ever.
Man: Are you sure? So I shouldn't know anything about your dog Buster then, should I?.
Buster. How the fuck? Now Charlie WAS dizzy. He didn't know if he was sitting or standing. Trying to walk away or falling as