One Flight Up

The man always sat on the rickety old bench at midday on a Sunday. He usually wore a suit of some variety, but it was usually very worn. His features told the tale of rough experience in life, his eyes were hidden by a pair of sunglasses. He would lean back and listen to music on his surprisingly up to date phone.

Jim decided one day to talk to the man, the kids on the estate made up wild tales about him being a kidnapper, an assassin for higher and an ex-con. He knew these were about as true as the woman in 84 being a witch who ate her children, but people always gave the man a wide birth. Some of the older women said he was a solider suffering from PTSD, while others said he was a divorcee who had taken to hiding away.

He approached the man and sat next to him.

“Good afternoon,” he said.

The man paused, seemingly a little unsure if it was casual rhetorical greeting or if it was directed at him intentionally.

“Afternoon,” he replied in a raspy voice.

“Had a busy day?”

The man pressed pause on his phone, “I don’t tend to have busy days anymore.”

“Retired then?”

“Something like that,” he offered a smile. “Just wallowing in memories. Once upon a time I was quite a name on the streets of New York and London.”

“Ok…” Said Jim a little unsure. “What are you listening to?”

“It is a recording of me playing in Birdland back in ’64.”


“Yes, I was a first rate musician. A long time ago.” His demeanor became wistful…

“So, tell me about it.”

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