At the River
All day long he had nothing to do. His legs didnít work so well anymore; neither did his eyes or his ears. He slept at night and got up in the morning and there was somebody always there, sometimes a stranger he had never seen before, to help him get himself into the bathroom and dressed and downstairs to breakfast, where he sat with thirty or forty others just like him, making a mess of his oatmeal and eggs and not saying anything. After breakfast somebody always sat him down in a comfortable spot in the solarium or the TV room and he just sat there, usually all day, until they came and got him for the next meal. After that it was time to get into bed and sleep again and wake up again and get dressed and go down for breakfast and do the same thing all over again; again and again as if that was what he was put on the earth for: a lot of nothing that seemed to have no end. Whoever said life was short?
He wondered what happened to the people he used to know. Didnít he have a wife and a couple of children? Didnít he have at one time some grandparents, uncles and aunts, a mother and father, a sister and a couple of brothers? What happened to all of them? Did he just dream them up? Oh, yes, thatís right: one after the other they all died. He came to see life as a kind of lottery: the winners went on ahead and the losers had no other choice but to stay behind. In the end there would be one loser left, and he was it. When they were children and they played tag or kick-the-can or hide-and-seek, somebody always had to be ďit.Ē He didnít like being ďitĒ then, and he didnít like it now.
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Allen Kopp lives in St. Louis, Missouri, USA. His fiction has appeared in Short Story America, A Twist of Noir, Midwest Literary Magazine, Abandoned Towers Magazine, Danse Macabre, Short-Story.Me, Foliate Oak Literary Journal, Berg Gasse 19, Santa Fe Writers' Project Journal, Copperfield Review, Superstition Review, Midwestern Gothic Literary Magazine, Skive Magazine, ISFN Anthology #1, Best Genre Short Stories Anthology #1, Wilde Oats, Writers' Stories, Yesteryear Fiction, Diverse Voices Quarterly, Deadman's Tome, Necrology Shorts, Bewildering Stories, State of Imagination, Death Head Grin, Corner Club Press, Pulse Literary Magazine, Poor Mojo's Almanac(k), The Legendary, The Fringe Magazine, and many others. Allen welcomes visitors to his website at: www.literaryfictions.com