April 1, 2012 Fiction





John The Trotter


Lily Po


The man’s name is John.  He is forty four years of age, 6’1″ in height. He’s a rough looking guy with a moustache that curls up on the ends. Every Sunday morning we meet John on LeMarchant Road on our way to the Kirk.

“Dee” I said, “Have you noticed this guy walking west every Sunday morning”

“Yes I have” Dee said. “I’ve seen him other times too.”

It was obvious to anyone that John lives too high on the hog. He’s overweight and his face is flushed; not very flushed, just flushed. He lives somewhere in the Long’s Hill area and for twenty three years Gladys managed to keep their marriage intact, which was an impressive feat by anyone’s standards, what with his drinking and total neglect of his wife and six children.

John’s job on the road crews at City Council has been steady if not inspiring. The only time he does a good day’s work is in the winter when it snows day after day. Granted, driving the city snow plows just about did him in last year what with being so out of shape but the double overtime pay was compensation enough.

Since his first heart attack John has had to cut down on his drinking and smoking, making a noble effort to change his ways. Gladys has mixed feelings; the sudden change in her husband is a bit hard to take. He’s been a boozer ever since she’s known him and now that he’s reformed, he’s a completely different man. John has even taken to going to mass before trotting off to Bowring Park on Sundays.

You see, he was out with the boys on Friday when it hit him, the pain in his chest excruciating. The boys who were sober enough managed to get him to the hospital. He was there for a week before he was allowed to go home. The experience was enough to frighten him to death and hence the change in John.

All winter he walked to the park and back via LeMarchant Road. By Spring there was a dramatic change in him. He lost about fifty pounds, looked younger, healthier and taller and here is where the real trouble started!

He didn’t drink or smoke anymore but he still met the boys on Friday nights. Being proud of his achievements, he began to dress better and being sober, he had time to look around. His buddies began to look like a sorry lot after a few drinks but the girls who hung around the bar were a different story.

Well now, everyone knows that there is a surplus of women around here, so much so that it doesn’t seem to matter if the man who catches a woman’s fancy is married or not. So before anyone could blink, John was misbehaving, so to speak, and that led to all sorts of with Gladys.

We haven’t seen John of late but the story we did hear about him was this: His wife finally booted him out  and he moved in with a girlfriend. He took to drinking and smoking again, got fat, had another heart attack and died within a year.


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  1. Chris April 07, at 00:01

    Thanks, Berit and Marcus, for commenting. Beware the common mushroom.

  2. Marcus Speh April 03, at 06:08

    Wonderful story—especially loved the detail: <blockquote>"The leftover mushrooms have grown out of their trays. They wave and gyrate with life, growing still larger even as he watches. Their questing, thread-like mycelia have colonized the bowlful of something forgotten and mouldy at the back of the shelf."</blockquote> A horror dish really, but served chilled. I don't know my way around a kitchen very well but now I will tread even more carefully. I never trusted the common mushroom.

  3. Berit Ellingsen April 01, at 20:16

    A good chianti and giant mushroom! Eeek! :) And this shows the danger of leaving old food in the fridge!


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