An old man sat down on the same bench as me today. I was sitting at the park, reading a book, and a short, stout man, with a gray beard and a beer belly, sat down. Right there. He wasn’t wearing any shoes, but he carried a walking cane. His jeans were old and frayed, his shirt was the tacky button-up you always see cartoon characters wearing on vacations.
He turned to me and said, ”I’m gonna tell you a story.”
I paused, examined his face, and after determining that he wasn’t about to pull out a knife and stab me, nodded slightly, and put down my book.
”Go ahead,” I replied.
”Well,” he said, ”It starts like this…
”When I was growing up, I wasn’t exactly what you’d call average. I know it can be hard to tell, but just take my word for it…
…And that was how I discovered the magical city of Atlantis, mere seconds before Apollo somethin’ or other came and blew it to smithereens. So now I’s here, without a penny to my name. Couldja spare a dollar?”
Well, no, I told him, I couldn’t.
He just smiled, and started to get up, but I was quicker. I jumped up, and grabbed his hand.
”I can’t spare a dollar,” I said, ”But I’d love to take you to lunch in exchange for another story.”
Very nice! I got a bit confused in the middle though, I think it needs a sentence to let the reader know that there’s a whole story there. Something like:
.. just take my word for it.”
I didn’t expect to be gripped by his story but I was, and like with a good book, I was sad when I realised he was getting to the last page.
”And that was how etc.”