Ping Pong V

The man had lived in Despair for far to long now, walked it’s streets, knew it’s hills and valleys, dead ends, junctions and closed doors.

Now he sat in a dirty green glow from the square of corrugated Perspex in the patio roof, his head tilted from the sun, one hand rubbing the other. The features of the woman and dog we’re obscured by shade, enjoying no such aura. The woman shivered and the dog slept.

After an age the man turned to look at the dog, wrung his face and said ‘what would you do if you were in my position’?
The dog raised an ear to the question but gave no indication of a response.
A dirty green truck with the words “wash me”, fingered on the dusty rear window, turned into the property and noisily drove up the driveway. It stopped in front of the patio. A disheveled looking man alighted the vehicle and slammed its’ door, breaking the natural silence.

The dog jumped in fright and gave a soft whine.

“He’s here. I knew he’d come,” the woman said, her voice trembling in fear.

The visitor ambled, with a distinctive limp, up the wooden steps. His boots made a heavy thud on each step. He stood in front of the man and took a folded piece of paper out of his pocket. He began to read it’s contents.

Dear Mr Biggins, the Department of Psych-Admensuration acknowledge your contribution to Despair over these past years, but have judged your tenure here to be at an end. We thank you for your efforts’.

The truck driver refolded the page and held it out, then when neither of the seated couple moved, shifted self-consciously from foot to foot.

His tone of voice softened as he said ‘I’m sorry Barry, I…I’m here to pick up your baggage’.

Barry sighed. The deepest breath he had in his aging lungs. Emphysema was causing him to be listless today. He glanced over towards his wife. She was now quite pale and in danger of fainting. The dog rested protectively at her feet.

“Lynda, are you ready?” he whispered.

“No! I’m not!”

Her unexpected shriek took them all by surprise. The black dog jumped up and gazed at her.
The driver stared hard at his feet, uncertain how to respond to her sudden outburst.
Barry smiled.

“She’s right,” he said. “We’re not ready. You can’t do this to us. Our lease says we must have four weeks notice. Four weeks! Not one day. Not one minute!”

The green Perspex roof gave him an eery glow. Barry wrung his hands and glared at the driver. His face became pale and contorted, as he struggled for breath.

The driver knew this was oging to be hard but had a job to do, ‘Barry I’ve got a job to do…and I’m going to do it’. The confidence of his words we’re mocked by his obvious lack of it.

Barry turned to Linda, still smiling. She smiled back, both of them fortified by the other, ‘remember the Alamo?’

‘I do’, said Linda and rose to go indoors, the dog followed.

The driver watched with an increasing uneasiness, he knew the type of people who resided in Despair, knew that to live here required a certain…imbalance, and what was this about the Alamo.

Linda walked out the front door carrying a long black shot gun.

Ping Pong V

Michael Douglass

Alexandria, Australia

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