Storytelling by Howard

I pulled into the parking lot at 10 a.m. Sunday morning. Before even getting out of the car, I noticed the bike with the fendered 26-inch wheels, old-fashioned handlebars, overstuffed seat and more improvised saddlebags than I thought a bike could hold. It occupied a good portion of the sidewalk leading to the front door of the restaurant. It was a slightly odd sight in this neighborhood, one comprising almost entirely middle to upper class residents. And within three seconds of entering the establishment, I could identify the bike’s owner.

There in the northwest corner of the place, sat a wiry, 40-something caucasian male with close-cropped salt-and-pepper hair and matching stubble. He wore stained khaki workpants, a greasy t-shirt, worn cross-trainers and a weak smile he flashed intermittently at the service staff as they moved between the kitchen and the dining area, shooting not so subtle glances at him. Upon seeing his smile, the thing that struck me was how straight and clean his teeth appeared to be.

It made me wonder where he’d come from – more demographically than geographically. Against the backdrop of a fairly upscale Sunday morning crowd mostly attired in church clothes, he struck me as someone who could rather easily be transformed into one of them, at least on the surface."

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Selected Amazon Links:
Short Stories Old and New
The World's Greatest Short Stories (Dover Thrift Editions)
Great Short Short Stories: Quick Reads by Great Writers (Thrift Edition)