This story was in response to Heather Wright’s Writing Prompt #31 at The Writer Magazine website. The prompt: Freewrite around one or more of these words: watch, car, bowl, sidewalk, apple.
Mr. Pocket Watch
As I pulled up to a red light the other day, I saw a man standing on the corner near me check the time on his pocket watch. That he had a pocket watch was not all that odd. In fact, the pocket watch was a perfect wardrobe accessory for he stood there in a dapper pinstriped suit and fedora, smoking a cigarette, as he looked around with feigned casualness. His beady eyes scanned the streets, one sidewalk then the other, before peering up the next. As out-of-place as his clothes were, no one gave him a second glance. He seemed as oblivious to the other passersby as they were of him, until he paused in his scanning of the streets, his eyes narrowing, squinting to focus on something. I followed his gaze and saw two men in similarly cut, dark suits heading toward him with determined strides. They walked straight up the street toward Mr. Pocket Watch unhindered as the other pedestrians all turned into doorways or stepped to the curb to hail a cab or chat with someone at just the right time to avoid contact, but seemingly unaware that these two gentlemen were about to walk into them. At the curb across from Mr. Pocket Watch, the two had to wait for traffic to go past. While unaware of other people, they somehow noticed the traffic. I looked back at Mr. Pocket Watch and noticed him holding a brown paper bag that I’d somehow missed earlier. Staring intently, at the two gentlemen who were now crossing the street to him, he reached into the bag. As if in response, the two gentlemen simultaneously reached into the inner pockets of their suit coats. Praying the light was green so I could speed away, I glanced up quickly and found it still red. Turning back to the scene, I saw the two gentlemen pass Mr. Pocket Watch, chatting on their mobile phones, while he stood there eating an apple.