Old crazy bastards

For eighty years gravity had been trying to pull Jake towards the centre of the earth, and in a few days time some complete strangers would be digging 6 foot hole to help gravity in its quest, but for now Jake had more pressing issues than his dodgy ticker.

He hadn’t slept well last night and ended up lying in later than usual; the sun had been up a good eleven or so minutes already. Usually he would head straight downstairs with the question of which flavour jam to spread on his toast but today he stopped by his closet and stretched his old frame upwards to retrieve a dusty box.

The Luger was at the very bottom wrapped in a Swastika flag, his souvenirs. He had actually shot the German officer who owned the Luger. He tucked it into his dressing gown belt and headed downstairs, tempted to forget breakfast all together, but the sight of the strawberry jam jar got the better of him and he placed his mission on hold for the moment.

Outside the sun had certainly got the jump on him, 6.35am already. No doubt Harold was already up and tending to his bushes, a look over the fence to his neighbours yard confirmed this, a neat pile of trimmings had already appeared on the drive way.

Harold was Jakes next door neighbour, he lived alone. The pair would have called themselves mates under other circumstances, but two contrasting sets of rose bushes got in the way of that.

Jake frowned as he inspected his neighbours set; they were perfect. Jake had never been able to work out how they could be so perfect while his fell short of the mark constantly. He had tried everything, manure from a battery of different animals, organic and non-organic fertilizers, urine, beer, spit, plastic housings for each bush, but nothing he tried brought his roses to a similar standard as Harold’s.

This was a constant thorn between them, a constant competition. Jake’s only recompense was the fact that he had some family, even though the little bastard only made the effort at Christmas’s.

When Jake entered Harold’s back yard he was still in his dressing gown, Harold was sitting in a deck chair, his rose clippers on his lap and his head tilted towards the sun. When he opened his eyes they grew to saucer size as they focused on the Luger pointing at his face.

As he took in the scene he regained his composure, understanding what this was all about.

‘So you old bastard, you’ve finally worked it out eh?’ Harold had a note of mocking in his voice which irked Jake.

‘Seems that way doesn’t it you old bastard’. Jake was determined to play it cool even though his hand shook a little.

‘So what now, you shoot me?

Jake was grasping for a response, something Dirty Harry’ish but luckily Harold continued.

‘So you gonna shoot me with a Luger even? Well isn’t that ironic, shot by my country mans gun. This some kinda joke, shooting me with the Luger?’

At this Jake started to get a little confused.

‘What you talking about your countryman’s gun you crazy bastard’.

Now it was Harold’s turn to look confused.

‘Isn…isn’t that why you shoot me? You found out I was a Nazi in the war right? It’s made you a little crazy right?’

Now Jake smiled, ‘no you crazy bastard, I had no idea you were a Nazi.’

Jake enjoyed immensely the confusion on Harold’s face.

‘So you didn’t know I was a Nazi? I thought you guessed and it sent you a little crazy with the memories yes?’

‘No Harold you crazy Nazi bastard, I didn’t know.’ Jake was a little disappointed to just find this out, he could have gotten used to calling Harold a crazy Nazi bastard.

‘Last night I couldn’t sleep so sat at the window for a while, then there’s a shadow on my lawn.’

Now Harold went pale.

‘The shadow visited every one of my rose bushes, spraying them with something. Then the shadow went to your garage.’

Harold started to shake.

‘You dirty Nazi bastard have been poisoning my rose bushes’.

Harold had now way of knowing that his demise came only days before that of Jake’s, but it would have given him great satisfaction to know Jake did not have enough time to fix his roses.

I hope this doesn’t come across as insensitive so close to ANZAC Day. I was to moved by the Sydney parade to want that to happen.

I guess it just got me thinking of a story, didn’t know it would end up like this when I started it. AM happen to take it down if anyone is offended.



Old crazy bastards

Michael Douglass

Alexandria, Australia

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