UKArchive ID: 36286harry
Originally published on March 4, 2016 in Fiction
Sometimes Limbo is the place to be ....
Waiting for Limbo
An old man in dirty clothes squats by the entrance to a garden. He is stuffing a wad of folded newspaper in the sole of his shoe. He looks up as a well dressed gentleman alights from a chauffeured limousine and says, "You're not going in there, are you?"
The well dressed gentleman replies, "Why yes, aren't you?"
"Not me, You won't catch me going in there."
"Why not? That's why you're here isn't it?"
"Yes, and I'm gonna stay right here. Gonna stay right here as long as I can."
"How long have you been here – you don't mind me asking, do you?"
"No, I don't mind. Ask me all you want. There's no answer to a question like that anyway. I mean night never comes near here and the weather don't change none, you don't get hungry and it's quiet. Gawd a'mighty is it ever quiet. Y’can hear the seconds tickin’ off."
"Sounds pretty boring to me."
"Helluva lot better than what'cha may find in there."
"You really can't be the judge of that, can you?" He cranes his neck and peers inside. "Looks perfectly safe in there to me, a lot nicer in there than it is out here. I’m going in."
"Don't forget, Y'ain't allowed to come back out again."
"Why would anyone want to come back to this place? Look for yourself – beautiful pathway going around the bend. Green pastures as far as the eye can see." He looks back at the first man. "What were you. I mean back there – where we came from?"
"I forget. Might'a been the Archbishop of Canterbury, or a song and dance man in a two-a-day show in Soho. Might'a been nuthin at all." He looks down at his hands. "Guess I was a workin' man though – there’s calluses on my hands. And look'a my shoes! Them's high button work shoes, not like them fancy polished wing-tips of yours." He looks down at the second man's shoes. "Is them tassels I see?"
"I think I know your problem."
"What problem? I ain't got a problem."
"You've had a hard life. Touch and go all the way. A lot of sweat and tears I imagine. You're satisfied just hanging around the entrance. It’s better than you expected. You’re thinking it may not this good as this inside, aren't you?"
"Well now, ain't you the smart one. You know all about me don't you? Never seen me before and y'know all about me. Look at you in yer pointy shoes and yer double breasted blue serge suit. Didn't surprise me none when ya showed up in yer Lincoln town car with a chauffeur and all." He gives an explosive laugh. "You had it about as good as it gets. If I was you, I’d stay out here as long as I could."
The impeccably dressed gentleman shows signs of doubt. "You have a point. I hadn't considered that. You don't mind if I stay here with you a bit, do you?" He removes a handkerchief from his breast pocket and spreads it carefully on the ground. As he sits, he signals to his chauffeur, "That'll be all – for now, James."
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