Just finished a new story titled “The Man in the Park” in which our main character Tom is taking his daily walk through the city park and meets a stranger…
He was a husky fellow, a perfect model for the grandfather role in a Norman Rockwell painting. He wore a short sleeved white shirt, with his eyeglass case and a sharpened pencil pointing up in the pocket, presumably for the crossword puzzle.
They sit on the same bench, Tom needing a rest and the stranger reading his newspaper, and chat a bit, as people sometimes do. Things turn a little strange soon enough, however…
“You seem to read people pretty well.”
“Something you learn to do over time, Tom.”
“I thought you looked familiar when I first saw you. I apologize though, I can’t recall where I know you from.”
“We’ve never met, no need to apologize.”
“How did you know my name then?”
“It’s my business to know people.”
I glanced at his newspaper then, and instead of the usual columns of stories and advertisements, it seemed to be comprised entirely of lists, some in foreign texts that I couldn’t read, unlike any paper I’d ever seen before.
“Who are you?” I asked, more intrigued than uneasy.
“I’ve gone by many names over the years. Call me Joe, if a name eases your mind.”
Tom is about to experience something that only occurs once in a lifetime, he just doesn’t know it yet…
This is another of my stories that would be a good fit for the old Twilight Zone…is that time machine ready for a test yet? Just drop me off in front of Rod Serling’s office, if you don’t mind.