Billy May sits on the park bench in Market Square, like he does every day, watching the scenery bustling around him, on the afternoon of Christmas Eve. A car honks it's horn as a pedestrian walks across the street, an impatient woman at the wheel.
He sees her mouth the words, "Hurry the fuck up" as the man walks across carrying a large shopping bag. "Everybody in a hurry", Billy says under his breath. That's one of the phrases that Billy says often, especially in regard to motorists, who always seem to be impatient. "Everybody in a hurry". Billy isn't in a hurry. He hasn't been in a hurry for anything in quite a few years.
A mother walks by towing a little girl behind her, little green boogers coming from the childs nose, breath streaming from both of their mouths like the steamy exaust from the passing cars. The child looks at him and smiles, and the mother gives her a tug, as if to get as far from him as quickly as possible.
Billy knows that people often have that reaction to him. He notices that a lot of the time, women will edge further away from him as they walk toward him when he walks down the sidewalk. He doesn't like to see their fear, so he tries to preempt them by edging further away from them as they near. It's not just the fear in their eyes, it's the implication that this fear is caused by him, that causes him pain.
Sitting here on this bench, I could change the world, he thinks. He blows a kiss to the little girls back, and she turns, and blows one back. The mother gives another tug, and the little girl turns, and quickens her step to match her mother's pace.
Billy's the only one sitting on this group of benches. That's something that he doesn't understand. Here in the middle of the bustling city, are four benches set up in a square shape, and Billy for the life of him can't recall the last time he ever saw anyone sitting on these benches.
A young couple pass by. A beautiful red headed girl with bright red sneakers and black yoga pants, and a man with all black sweatsuit with a black baseball cap. They are talking ernestly, her looking up at him adoringly as they hurry along. Both are smiling. Billy shoots a beam of light from his fingertips that envelopes the couple in an aura of warm yellow light. "Stay in love', he says, under his breath. He watches their backs as they walk away, the man reaching over and giving her a one armed hug, as she walks beside him.
He hears the bells in the First Congregational Church behind him chime once. "Amazing it's only 1 oclock", Billy thinks. The sky is dark and cloudy, and the lights on the street are already beginning to glow. No snow this year. Nothing that has stayed anyway. He reaches into his pocket and pulls out his pouch of Bugler tobacco, and begins to roll himself a cigarette. He rolls the cigarette almost effortlessly without thinking, and stuffs the baby blue pouch back into his pocket.
A Fed Ex truck drives by as he lights his smoke. Hell of a job that must be, he thinks. Especially on a day like today. Thick traffic and a van loaded full of packages. He probably won't finish his route 'til way past five o'clock. He wonders if the driver has family, waiting for him at home so that they can start their Christmas together. "Damn, that's gotta be stressful", Billy says aloud to nobody as he watches the delivery van move down the street. Suddenly it screeches to a hault, red angry brakelights shine, as a woman hurries across the street in front of it. "Damn, I gotta watch my thoughts", he says again aloud to nobody in particular. Go in peace he thinks, and shoots a pink ball of light at the van, enveloping it in peace as it again slowly paces down the street with the traffic.
He looks across the street at the purple Awning covered windows of the pastry shop. He'd gone in there once, tempted by the beautiful cinnamon swirl buns on display in the window. He'd almost not bought one when he'd seen the price. For the same amount, he could walk down to the Pic&Pay grocery down the street and get a dozen of them powdered donuts that come already pre-boxed. It was bad manners to walk out of the shop without buying anything though, so he'd scrounged down into his pocket and managed to find enough to pay for one. The pretty, smart looking young girl behind the counter had smiled at him, and offered him a free cup of joe with it. He'd accepted it, and stood there for a while sipping the hot coffee and picking at the sweet bun as she told him how this was just her side job while she finished her degree in teaching.
He sat there and wondered why there wasn't anybody inside at the tables today. "Don't think I've seen anyone go in there yet today", he said again to nobody. "Damn shame, such a beautiful young girl and such delicious sweet treats'. A large group of co-eds walking down the sidewalk stopped as one of them pointed to the window. They all filed inside.
One of them buses all dressed up to look like a trolly burbled by, that dark green with gold trimmed windows, made up to look pretty for the tourists, no doubt. They was all yellow when I was a kid. Damn , a bus is a bus gus, whats the fuss? Well, I guess people need the beauty. They all rushin around so fast. "Everybody in a hurry", Billy's mouth steamed out to no one. "Hey Mister? Can you spare a cigarette"? He turns and sees a young lad shabbily dressed, lookin at is own shoes. "Sure, but I gotta roll it for ya, if that's ok", says Billy. "That's cool. Beggars can't be choosers". Billy rolls him the cigarette, hands it to the kid and lights it for him. "Thanks man! God bless"! No problem says Billy with a smile, as the youngster walks away.
"Well, that's it for today", Billy says to no one in particular as he stands up slowly, giving his aching back a stretch. "Not really a bad day. Not bad at all. Kinda nice really".
A ray of hope flickers in the sky as Billy slowly shambles his way up the street, clouds parting, bathing the square in sunshine, as simultaneously, big flakes of snow begin to fall from the sky.
Written for Carry On Tuesday.