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JUST THE TICKET (standard:drama, 1057 words)
Author: BENTLINKAdded: Oct 13 2009Views/Reads: 2047/1247Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
Good advice can come from some odd places...

Just the Ticket 

As city parks go, it was nothing special, less than half a block on each
of its four sides.  It was however adjacent to the interstate bus and 
railroad stations so in temperate weather it attracted people on 
layover that wanted to escape the dirt and noise of the waiting areas 
within the terminals. 

The young man walked slowly towards the odd looking fountain at the
park's center.  He was in no particular hurry; his bus was going to be 
late.  The normal one-hour layover was being stretched to three hours 
because of “equipment failure”. 

He was a young eighteen years but had already learned to adjust himself
to things that were beyond his control.  He reminded himself again “no 
need to hurry now the bus company is in charge of your life until you 
arrive in Nashville”.  He sat for a time on the rim of the deep 
fountain and the white sound of its gushing water smoothed out the 
tightness in his neck and shoulders the delay had caused.  When he 
began growing damp from the fountain's spray he stood and moved to one 
of the benches located under the majestic oak trees that rimmed the 
park.  His movement away from the fountain sent a couple of gray 
squirrels bounding from ground to tree and forced a handful of assorted 
birds that had been picking at spilled popcorn bits near the bench into 

He leaned back on the bench eyes closed replaying visions of how he
imagined things would go for him in Nashville.  He would play some of 
his best licks on his guitar for a few people and they would be 
impressed.  They would introduce him around and he would be asked to 
join a big star's band for a road tour.  After he got to know everyone 
in the show, he would break out the songs he had written and the star 
would record several of them. 

After a few minutes of imaginary songwriter star status he was brought
back to the here and now by, a whistling old man who walked spryly up 
and dropped with some force onto the bench's other end.  The elder 
seemed shorter and older than his jaunty walk had indicated.  The old 
guy was much over dressed for the warm weather, wearing both a sweater 
and wool hat.  He looked frail, perhaps even ill yet both his gray hair 
and small mustache were neatly trimmed.  The woolen clothing though 
wrong for the season was clean and well fitted. 

When he inquired “Bus or train”?  His voice had a strong resonance
sounding like someone that was used to public speaking 

“Bus” the young musician, replied. 

“I would have first guessed train from your heels” came the quick
response pointing at the young mans almost new boots.  “Heels can say a 
lot if you know the language.  Not just the easy things like worn down 
means bus and working your way through a hard patch.  If you look more 
closely, you can see things like a rough area above the right outside 
heel that says the wearer probably drives a good deal.  Little bits of 
dirt and grass clippings on the soles and heels points to the person 
coming from the suburbs while more dirt further up, a little smeared 
mud, or some grass seeds speaks of country.  What are you up to in 
Nashville?” the old boy ask. 

Now how in the heck did the old guy know about his plan for Nashville he

“No I don't read minds,” the older man said in response to the surprised
look on the youngsters face.  “It's that ticket in your shirt pocket.  
Oh how rude of me, my names Johnson.  Bob to most folks.  Yes very rude 
of me indeed” he said extending his hand. 

The old fellow half stood and took the young mans hand in a firm grip
then almost at once began an unsuppressed chuckle and in fact, he 
seemed close to laughing out loud.  “What do you play?  My bet would be 
guitar.  Oh my goodness, you're on your way to Nashville to make it big 
playing a guitar”. 

The young man's face instantly reddened.  His feelings clearly hurt he
quickly withdrew his hand from the old man's grasp all the while 

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