The Stranger-short story

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  No Houses
This is a story I wrote for a contest for another site; It had to be exactly 500 words, not including the title

Submitted: July 02, 2013

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Submitted: July 02, 2013

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Fred Truehart sat like every other day, eating 1.25 bowls of Power Crunch cereal; listening to KDSY radio, as he prepared for yet-another day at work, which in his case was at Frederick's Hubcaps, where he oversaw the hubcap-making machine.  Most people didn't even know there was such a place.  He was a forgettable man doing a job nobody knew existed.  "Par for the course," he liked to say.  He'd long ago given up on thinking he was going to change the world.  He was just putting in his time, until there was no more time.  He thought he'd better get walking to the bus stop to catch the 6.30 into the city.  Nothing ever changed in his little world; a world of repetition, a world of numbness; numbness to the fact his life blew!  He grabbed his winter coat off of the coat rack in the hall; dreary winter.  Somehow he always felt a little worse in the winter.  Go to work in the cold and dark; come home in the cold and dark, or at least the cold and dark wasn't that far off.  Yes, dreary summed his life up perfectly.  He shivered, not so much with the thought of the weather, but with the thought of his bleak station in life.  He, at one time, years ago, before reality stole his dreams, had harbored dreams of standing out from the crowd; of being so good at something, people would see him passing on the other side of the street and say in awe to their companion,

"Look over there, it's Fred Trueheart; wow, we were walking on the other side of the street from Fred Trueheart!"

But, as the years flew past, and he got another year older, he came to realize this was it; this would be the sum total of his existence.  "Fred Trueheart, he made a mean hubcap!"  What a joke! 

As he passed the hall mirror, he caught a glimpse of a stranger staring back at him.  He did a double take.  Who was that old man staring back at him?  It sure looked like his face, but the vacant, hollow eyes?  The disappointment etched into deep lines on his face?  Surely it couldn't be him.Somebody was trying to fool him; playing a cruel trick.  The face he saw in the glass was the face of someone with no hope for the future. Suddenly, Fred didn't want to be that downtrodden face.  He just realized, as he caught a glimpse of himself, that he needed something, something to make him look forward to tomorrow again.  His whole outlook had suddenly changed from catching a glimpse of himself in the hall mirror.  When did he become a zombie?  He vowed to do something about it.  After all, he had nobody to blame but himself for the rut he'd fallen into.  If he wanted something to change, he would have to do the changing.  

As he waited for the bus, his mind was whirring.

 

 

 

 


© Copyright 2018 Mike Stevens. All rights reserved.

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