ShannonSparkles: New short story

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by kholmes, Jul 3, 2006.

  1. kholmes

    kholmes New Member

    This beginning is based on a true story.


    A VISIT FROM THE TRAMP

    In 1919, I was way too young to have gone across the Atlantic for the Great War, though my older brother, Frank, had just returned from the fighting in France. When the war ended, people mobbed the streets of New York in Times Square and on Broadway.

    We lived in a small brownstone on a congested neighborhood in the Bronx. Our house was sparsely furnished, but my mother kept it very clean.

    My father drove a taxi. He was rather rough looking and could be stern with us. Besides my father and my older brother, there was my mother and my eight-year-old sister, Christina.

    I'll never forget one morning in August. It had been the hottest day of the summer the day before, but I slept soundly, except for awaking once during the night, when I heard the door and the creak of the other bed in my room.
    We didn't have a guest bedroom, and it wasn't uncommon for guests to stay in my room.

    In the morning, I awoke, rubbed my eyes, and looked across the room at the spare bed. Frank was in Pittsburgh, applying for a job.

    But this morning was different. When I looked across the room, there was someone I recognized. It couldn't be, could it?

    I quickly ran to get Christina. We slipped back into the room. We pretended to be asleep, and peered at the visitor, growing excited. Christina put her hand to her mouth and started to giggle. The man rolled over and looked at us groggily. He didn't have his mustache or bowler hat, but even Christina knew right away who it was.

    It was none other than Charlie Chaplin.



    Your turn!

    Ken





    [This Message was Edited on 07/07/2006]
  2. Shannonsparkles

    Shannonsparkles New Member

    It was unbearable, just sudden like that. Like being electrified! I stood there still as a stump, just staring at the guy in my sheets. He practically smelled like fame. His hair was on MY pillow!

    "Come here!" Christina hissed, dragging me by my nightshirt sleeve into the hall. She was shaking with excitement. "Holy Hannah!" she squealed. "The Tramp! I gotta go tell Hatty!" I nodded, still too stunned to speak.

    Papa stealed up behind us. He could sneak up on you like a battleship in smooth water when you were up to no good. He rumbled, "Don't you kids be bothering that guy, hear? He's company."

    "Pop, that's NOT company, that's Charlie Chaplin!" I said, my voice rising dramatically as my throat tightened, cutting off my air for a second. Behind me in the room, the brass bed creaked.

    "Never you mind it, Spud. Get a move on. Go play outside or something." He was already looking away, as though his mind were on something else. "Sweet Holy Jesus," he muttered, as though no one could hear him. Mama wouldn't have put up with that! Christina and I glanced at eachother to see if we had both heard. "Now scoot, you two. Don't come back till dinnertime."

    We didn't have to be told twice. We forgot all about breakfast. While Charlie - Charlie Chaplin! - was down the hall washing up, we pulled our clothes on at Superman speed. We clasped hands and thundered like a wildebeast in Tarzan down the tenement stairs, whooping like Indians, our rubber-soled shoes squeaking on the metal grate. It was just after breakfast time, streaking hot again, and all the kids were out on the street playing jacks and hopscotch and babysitting their younger brothers and sisters while their parents were working.

    Christina and I parted company at the big front doors, not even glancing back at eachother. Excitement had filled us up like the wind, and we didn't care where it took us. I ran till I found found Ed lounging on the steps of his appartment three doors down. He was flicking his ivory handled jack knife open and shut and whistling shrilly through his teeth. Something about me was different, I know, because Ed stopped what he was doing and looked vacantly at me as I slowed down.

    "You got something the matter, Spud?" he asked me.

    "No," I panted.

    "Where ya bin?" he asked me.

    "Home."

    "'Kaaaaaay," he drawled, rolling his eyes at me. "Doin' what? You're winded, wuss!" he laughed.

    "Am not!" I gasped between breaths. I glanced stealthily from side to side. I whispered, "We've got company."

    "Aunt Mable?"

    "No, COMPANY." I flung my arms dramaticaly in circles, like I was showing off a big fishing catch, and I leaned in on him with a frantic edge in my voice. "Charlie Chaplin," I squeaked. "The Tramp. From the pictures. You know, A Dog's Life? Shoulder Arms?" He grunted. "You're such a blockhead, Ed Smith!"

    "So what, coward?" I couldn't read his expression.

    "SO? He slept in my BED!" I finally screamed at him. He looked like he's been hit with a rubber mallet.

    "What, you mean it?" he gaped.

    I took off my cap and whacked him round the ears with it, laughing in fiendish glee.

    "Hold off! I'll sock you good, traitor!" He raised his arms in mock war. I could take Ed. But there was bigger stuff going on.

    "You jackass, Ed! Come look at him!" He slowly stood up, like his jacknife unfolding. He was taller than you'd think if you saw him sitting down. He had two years on me, and it was starting to show. He was a slow punch though. I could still take him.

    Down the street, something was starting up. It looked like all the girls on the block were there.
    [This Message was Edited on 07/07/2006]
  3. kholmes

    kholmes New Member

    The crowd of girls was gathering down the block. We lived on a cul-de-sac, and I was starting to wonder how Charlie was going to get away if a crowd formed. My parents didn't have a lot of money, but they had taken me and Christina to the Cooper Theater, to see some of Chaplin's films. They made me howl with laughter.

    Ed and I quickly jumped down the steps to his apartment. We headed toward my house.

    "It was Christina." I said. "Christina spilled the beans to Hattie! Half of Brooklyn and all of the Bronx will know in about a half hour."

    "I still don't get it. What would Mr. Chaplin be doing sleeping at YOUR house, anyway?" Ed asked. He closed his ivory handled jacknife one last time, and put it in his pocket.

    "Maybe he couldn't afford to sleep in a hotel room. Maybe my Dad saw him laying on the sidewalk and picked him up in his taxicab."

    "Don't be stupid, Ed. If Charlie wanted a room, the Ritz would probably give him the entire fifth floor!"

    "The RITZ? Charlie couldn't afford that. He can't even afford a new hat, or a new pair of pants and shoes. He's always looking like a beggar."

    "That's just the character he plays in the motion pictures! Mr. Chaplin is one of the richest men in America, and people know him all around the world. C'mon. THE PAWN SHOP? EASY STREET? You don't know nothing. He's probably better known than Woodrow Wilson."

    "I know this," I said. "We better run." More kids gathered in the street now, not just the ones playing jacks, hopscotch, or babysitting.

    We scampered down the sidewalk, up the tenement stairs and through the door into my house. I shut the door and locked it, knowing Christina was out there, telling more of her friends. What fun was it to have Charlie stay at your house if you couldn't show him off to people? And if you could keep your sister from doing the same thing, all the better.

    We quickly walked through the living room, and turned the corner, stopping abruptly.

    There was the Tramp, sitting at our dinner table, holding a cup of coffee in one hand and a piece of toast in the other. He looked up at us.



    [This Message was Edited on 07/08/2006]
  4. Shannonsparkles

    Shannonsparkles New Member

    He really didn't look like a beggar just then. He was dressed like any well-to-do man. Maybe Ed was right, and the Tramp was just a character he played.