Friday, September 7, 2007

[Fiction] Friday Sptember 07/07

[Fiction] Friday # 19


THE THREE WISHES OF RICHARD ARMITAGE
Edited and revised



Richard walked to his usual spot by the steps of the Law Courts Building and sat down with his back against a concrete planter. He loved the smell of Broom after a soft summer rain. Molly laid down by his side. Molly was a large black bear-like dog that had came to him one very cold night and saved his life. He was sleeping inside a refrigerator box underneath the exhaust fan of a Mattress factory. The temperature had fallen well below freezing that night, while Richard was sleeping Molly crawled into his shelter and provided the much needed warmth to survive the night. Richard knew that he must have been dying because he had no recollection of her laying down beside him. Something that big and dark would surly have scared the living crap out of him had he been conscious.

When he woke in the morning there she was looking at him with the most beautiful liquid chocolate brown eyes he had ever seen. He had recognized the breed as a Newfoundland because it was his favorite and he knew her name was Molly and that she belonged to somebody by the tag on her collar and knew that she was valuable by the tattoo in her ear. She was a purebred, probably a show dog. Richard figured that there would be a handsome reward for her return but he felt no obligation to return her to her owners and he was not about to put a leash on her and claim her as his own. She had escaped from the rat race just as he had and she was free to go wherever she pleased. It pleased Molly to remain at his side. She became his constant companion.

Richard reached inside of his knapsack and took out a plain wooden bowl that served as Molly's water bowl as well as an alms bowl where passers by could leave spare change if they wished. The bowl was the last remaining possession that he had left from his previous life. It was given to him as a bad joke from one of his colleagues at the Law firm to which he once was enslaved. and had become a symbol of his freedom from the narrow-minded world he left behind. As he remembers, it was given to him a couple of days after he had disclosed over coffee that he was thinking of becoming a Buddhist. The bowl was left on his desk with a note attached," a begging bowl for the wannabe Buddhist monk."

He placed the bowl in front of him, bowed his head and closed his eyes and settled into deep meditation. He didn't like to look into peoples eyes as they passed by, not because he was ashamed at what he had become because he wasn't. He had placed his life in the hands of the Lord and if people saw fit to place spare change in his bowl it was because they were led to do so and not because he had asked them. He did not like to look into the face of the people passing by him because he could see the pain and suffering of their daily existence. It was the same pain and suffering that he had left behind him so many years ago and every time he looked into their eyes he saw himself in chains.

"Excuse me sir, might I have a brief word" came the message from above. Richard opened his eyes and looked upon someone that might of stepped out of a 1940's movie. A tall burly man dressed in an elaborate chauffeur's uniform complete with the high crowned cap wit the Pattin peak.

"Madame, would like to speak to you. would you be so kind as to accompany me to the car"? he said. Richard had always loved antique cars even as a boy and the car that the chauffeur was pointing towards was easily recognizable because there were so few of them produced. He knew that it was a 1964 Rolls Royce Silver Shadow and what made it so distinctive and so rare was that the head lamps were slanted and known as "Chinese Eye" lamps. Ricard got up and followed the burly man for no other reason then to look closer at this beautiful machine. The Chauffeur opened the door and said; "Madame would like you to join her for a word in the car".

Richard got into the car and came face to face with a lady that was the spitting image of the Queen of England. "Are you the QU..."
"No, I'm not her!" came the answer before he could finish. "I'm someone who has your best interests at heart Richard. Someone who can grant you three wishes. Within reason of course, I can't grant you world peace and a world free of hunger. Everyone asks for that but alas, it is not in my power to do so. I can grant you almost anything else you desire.'

"You know my name! How is it you know my name?" he exclaimed trying to remember if he had mentioned it to her when he entered the car.
"Of course I know your name. I know much more then that Richard Armitage, but that is not why I am here. I am here to grant you whatever your heart desires. What is it you desire? she asked.

Richard was in need of nothing. Since he had placed his life in the hands of the Beloved everything he needed came to him as if by magic. Desires were far more tricky. He could not completely rid himself of desire. He didn't believe anyone could, it was the human condition. Besides he knew that everything comes at a cost to either his freedom or his soul and it was with this in mind that he pondered before saying; "How about a fine meal for my friend and me", he said. "That should be easy enough to accomplish."


"Easy Peasy" she replied; "What is it you would like to eat? Anything your heart desires!"
"My friend would like a rather large joint of meat, and as for myself I have been dreaming lately about my Parents taking me to The Pancake House every Sunday after church and I would order their Giant Apple pancake. I would like one of those." What happened next left little doubt in his mind that he was dealing with no ordinary Woman. He expected to be driven to an eatery where he could get his meal, but to his amazement a silver tray with a pancake as big as a pizza, filled with apples, melted brown sugar and topped with cinnamon appeared on his lap. The aroma took him back to those wonderful childhood years and his eyes began to fill with tears. He quickly looked out the window to see Molly tearing into the biggest piece of meat he had seen in many years. "How did you do that?" he exclaimed.

"Ahhh, you doubted me and maybe wasted a wish on an ordinary pancake, although it does look and smell delicious. Now eat your meal and think carefully about your next wish."

Richard ate his pancake, relishing every bite and when he finished he was considering licking the plate but that might best be saved for when he was alone in the company of Molly. The lady might not appreciate it. Richard looked into the kindly face of the elegant old lady and knew that she was waiting patiently for his next wish. He began undid the top buttons of his shirt and pulled out a magazine that he used to insulate himself from the cold nights. It was a special magazine because there was a picture in it that warmed his imagination and filled his sleep with many pleasant dreams. It was a copy of Harrowsmith Country Life and in it was a picture of an old mill with a water wheel that generated power to the attached cottage and irrigated the apple orchard behind it. This was Richards dream, to live off the grid and be completely self sufficient with perhaps a vegetable garden, some chickens and a few goats. He opened his dog- eared tattered copy to the page of his desire and said; " I would like to live in a house just like this one."

"No Problemo" She chuckled with glee. Now your getting the hang of it and in the next instant Richard found himself standing on the banks of a pristine creek outside an old stone mill exactly like the one in the picture. Standing beside him was the benefactor of this marvelous cottage. "It's now time for your final wish, so think carefully my sweet. Make the right choice."

Richard had once been married in his previous life to a woman who loved what he could provide for her more then what he had to offer as a person. A woman who enjoyed the creature comforts that came with being married to a successful Lawyer with a prestigious Law Firm. A woman who would do everything in her power, including sleep with the senior partner to expedite his rise within the firm. He had walked away from that one day never to return. He didn't walk away because she had cheated on him. He walked away when he seen himself accepting what she had done as a means of furthering his career. He knew then that he Had better get out before he lost everything in which he believed. If there was one thing in his life that he regretted, it was that he had never experienced the loving relationship that his parents so obviously had. They worshiped each other openly. "I would like to find a partner that loves me for who I am," he said. That is my final wish. That is my desire."

"Are you sure That is what you desire?" asked the Lady.

"Yes I am sure." he replied and closed his eyes and waited for the woman of his dreams to appear before him. He felt the soft wet kisses upon his cheek and face. He opened his eyes to find himself once more sitting against the concrete planter being licked by someone who really did love him for who he was. He laughed out loud and thought that he truly was blessed.

7 comments:

~willow~ September 7, 2007 at 11:35 AM  

Hi! This is a lengthy but excellent pice for Fiction Friday. I love the set-up of having been a corporate drone in a previous life, and not wanting to look into passers-by's eyes because of the pain he recognized - that is just a great perspective :-) I expected the ending, but that doesn't detract from it - a great tale, thank you for sharing!

T L Reynolds September 7, 2007 at 12:06 PM  

I'm with Willow; lengthy but well worth the effort...The bond between a man and his dog is quite strong and unconditional.

gautami tripathy September 7, 2007 at 1:07 PM  

That ending is very good. A man and his dig are at peace with each other. A very good write.

Jo September 7, 2007 at 3:16 PM  

I enjoyed the whole, loved the ending!

danae sinclair September 7, 2007 at 3:49 PM  

yes its a wonderful piece - it flows really easily..and your character is very likeable and grounded.

Ingrid September 7, 2007 at 4:32 PM  

Good story. You have a way of keeping a reader interested.

pjd September 8, 2007 at 1:32 AM  

And your point is... that no woman can ever love a man for what he is? No, I know that's not your point, I'm just joking. I enjoyed this a lot, and with a little polish and some healthy whacks with the edit sword, it could be a great flash fiction piece I bet you could get published.