The statue of General Ulysses Grant continued to hold its tongue

“I never seem to have anything that if I lost it I’d care too much about.” ~J.D. Salinger, The Catcher In The Rye

“Yep, mind’s been gone for quite the while” the codger offered.

“The remembering is an issue, but I lived an uneventful life.” his rant continued.

The listener was very good. He said not a word, giving the old man the opportunity to ramble.
He was tall and stone faced. His expression never changed.

“Was a time I was like one of them computer boxes what used to corrode in the landfill. Like I was programmed to store information. But tarnations if I ain’t got nothin’ left!”

The elder swiped a hand across his brow. A residue of saline sweat and dirt left a muddy paste on his palm. He wipes in his tunic.

“You don’t say much” he observed “ jist as well. Wouldn’t get a word in edgewise!” the geriatric hissed through rotten teeth. He spits.

“Stanton Billings” he proudly said, extending his hand in friendship. Nothing.

“An anti-social cuss, aren’t ya?” Stanton laughed. “Again, jist as well. No need for friends anyway. I’ll only lose ‘em like everything else.”

Bleary eyed, he squinted, trying to gain some sense of focus. His companion was ashen. Barely moved at all. Stanton wondered if life had gone on hiatus for his mute mate.

“Well, gotta git!” Billings bid farewell. “Glad to have made your acquai…” his voice trailed off. He dismissed the silence with a wave of his grungy hand.

Stanton Billings shuffled down the road. He never glanced back. Hell, he never looked forward. For the moment, Stanton Billings just was. He disappeared somewhere near the horizon. The battered statue of General Ulysses Grant continued to hold its tongue as Billings faded.


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