The Eccentric

The Eccentric

A Story by Kate
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A tradgedy strikes a man.

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His home was the kind that attracted eyes. The house itself was pretty standard; a cream colored Victorian with mud-pie shutters and a wrap around porch, dotted with holes where the wood had collapsed with age. It had sat on the corner of Notre Dame and Elmhurst for as long as anyone in Scott could remember, triggering childhood memories even in those now pickled with age. It had come into the hands of Scott McGoran, a man who eerily shared the name of the reserved little town, only recently, and already he had turned the once beautiful paradise into an eye-sore.

            From the day he moved in, everything began to change.  At first, it was only small things, and in the end, that’s what made the biggest difference. His neighbors would be tending their yards and turn their heads, only to find a lawn gnome staring back at them. They would avert their eyes quickly, but not before they had seen the antique lawnmower tipped over in the grass, or the ancient 1989 blast-a-ball nerf gun model laying on the porch. Some joked uncomfortably about the fluorescent Lego brick path leading up to his home, making excuses to ignore the yellow brick road. By the time McGoran had lived in Scott for a year, though, people had had enough of his eccentricity, and he was no longer a topic of conversation. They left them alone, both McGoran and his dog Sammy.

            McGoran didn’t find himself strange; he just enjoyed things that were out of the ordinary. Finishing his cereal, he pushed out of his chair and went to place his Mickey Mouse bowl and matching spoon in the sink. That was another odd thing about McGoran; he always had breakfast for lunch, as he detested most luncheon foods. His dog was the one who really enjoyed lunch meats, and he stored shredded ham in his refrigerator specifically to please Sammy. Suddenly, a knocking filled the house, and McGoran traipsed to the door. Peering through the peephole as if he wasn’t sure who had come, though he only ever had one visitor, he grinned.

            “Hey Guido!” McGoran swung open the door and hugged the old Italian around a large brown box. Guido teetered for a moment, adjusting his brown UPS hat, then held out a clipboard.

            “You know the routine, McGoran. I’m pretty sure you’ve gotten the hang of this by now.”

            “Well, I’m not so sure I remember,” laughed McGoran. “It’s been at least three days since I last saw you.”

            “Yeah, I was wondering about that. Has your computer been down or something?” Guido smiled, then coughed heavily. It was freezing outside, making his old bones ache and that persistent cold of his flare up.

            McGoran shot him a look of concern, then bent down to sign the clipboard. “E-bay’s been pretty slow recently. It seems like I’ve bought everything remotely interesting already and no one else is selling anything good.” All of the sudden, Sammy came darting through the door in a flash of gold, weaving between Guido and McGoran’s legs and sprinting down the steps. Guido yelped and struggled to regain his balance, dropping the brown box. The sound of shattered glass filled the air as Guido toppled down the steps. Just over the shrieking glass shards, you could hear an awful crack. Though the cacophony of noise coming from the McGoran household was undeniably audible, his neighbors doors remained shut tight, hoping to lock out whatever nonsense McGoran was up to now. However, he could see several faces pressed up against windows, hoping to find him committing a crime that would force him to leave the neighborhood for an extended visit at the state jail.

            McGoran hurried down the steps, carefully avoiding one piece of rotting wood, and crouched down at Guido’s side. The old man’s white hair blended into the snow coating the ground, his hat having fallen several feet away.  

            “Guido? Guido are you okay?” McGoran questioned shakily, peering down into the Italian’s face. He was afraid to touch Guido. What if he accidently hurt him? Guido groaned and sat up, cradling one arm delicately and wincing.

            “I think I broke my arm,” he gasped. “I better get it checked out.” He got up and started to limp over to the UPS truck, his body shaking with pain and his eyes averted from McGoran. McGoran rushed up to him and steered him in the direction of his own car, a ’69 Volkswagen Beetle.

            “Let me take you to the hospital,” he offered. “It’s not safe for you to drive yourself. We can come back and get your truck later.” Opening the passenger door for him, McGoran guided the old man into the car and buckled his seat belt. He drove quickly, eyes darting between Guido, the rearview mirror, and the road in front of him. Guido coughed, whimpering when it jolted his arm.

            Before long, McGoran found himself in the hospital waiting room, anticipating the results of Guido’s x-ray. Now that he had taken Guido to the hospital, McGoran could have left, but he didn’t want to go without making sure everything was all right. It was in part his fault that Guido was here, anyways. Sammy was his dog, after all, and he should have kept him inside, kept him under control. Maybe then none of this would have happened.

            An hour passed. McGoran silently read one of the obscure magazines from year one that were provided in the waiting room. A second hour crept by just as slowly. By the time dinner was nearing, McGoran could wait no longer. X-rays shouldn’t take this long! Anxiously, he approached the receptionist.

            “Excuse me, but do you happen to have a patient named Guido Pasquelini? He went in for x-rays about,” McGoran glanced at his watch quickly, “four hours ago, and he hasn’t come back yet.” The receptionist glanced at him impatiently from over her thick-framed glasses, then began typing rapidly. She looked up, her face composed into a blank stare.

            “He’s in room 238B,” She stated mechanically, pointing him towards the main hospital. “They sent him there after the X-rays.”

            McGoran thanked her, then took off down the sterile hallway at a brisk pace. Maybe after he found Guido, he could grab them some dinner from the cafeteria. His stomach grumbled at the thought, even though the hospital food was hardly appetizing. Rounding the corner, he found Guido’s room number pasted to an off-white door. Pausing only for a moment to consider whether knocking was the standard protocol in a hospital, he opened the door.

            Inside, Guido lay sleeping on a hospital bed with his casted arm relaxed across his chest. The clean white sheets surrounding his body dwarfed him, casting a gray shadow on his skin that seemed to accentuate his old age. In the few years McGoran had known Guido, never had he seemed so frail. Where was the healthy, robust man McGoran knew? It was several moments after his entry that he first noticed the doctor, frozen as if he had been caught red-handed, detaching an IV from Guido. He straightened up slowly, mouth twisted around unspoken words, searching for the combination that would have the softest impact.

            “Do you know this patient? Guido Pasquelini?” The doctor hesitated, waiting for McGoran’s answer. McGoran, statuesque in the middle of floor, nodded. His head felt too heavy for his neck, as if he might bend over at any time and find it had fallen off. “I’m sorry. We didn’t know he had any relatives, or we would have called.”

            McGoran struggled to find words, his thick tongue making speech impossible. “I’m not a relative. I brought him here.”

            “I’m sorry,” The doctor repeated. “We didn’t know anyone was here with him. He passed away.”

            “From a broken arm?” McGoran said in disbelief, grabbing at the chart at the foot of Guido’s bed. Name: Guido Pasquelini. Date: January 13, 2009 Cause of Death: Natural Causes. “You mean to tell me he died of old age? That’s impossible! Guido was so happy, so healthy.”

            The doctor placed a hand awkwardly on McGoran’s shoulder. “Some people just… die.” As he left the room, McGoran found himself following. He calmly walked out to his car, turned the ignition, and drove home. There was nothing he could do now. Nothing he could give back to what was, admittedly, one of his only two friends.

            As he stepped out of his car in a daze, he was thrust back up against the cold metal. His arms were wrenched backwards and handcuffs were placed around his shaking wrists. Words flew through his head like exotic birds, “animal cruelty” “dog left outside” “under arrest”. As his Miranda Rights were read, it was all McGoran could do not to collapse. This was all a misunderstanding; McGoran had never abused his dog. Sammy was only outside for so long because he was at the hospital with Guido! Resigned, McGoran found himself slumping in a police cruiser, traveling to the police station to save the dog that was now his only remaining friend.


© 2010 Kate



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Just goes to show how easily misunderstood someone can be when no one bothers to get to know him. Excellent story!

Posted 7 Years Ago



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Added on January 21, 2010
Last Updated on January 21, 2010
Tags: death, lonliness, strange, alone, friendship

Author

Kate
Kate

Norwalk, CT



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Just a 16 year old girl writing in my spare time. more..

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