A Story by Wharton

At Richmond’s crowded Riverfront Park, the sun emitted shards of fractured light that cut out an image of a bespectacled man, dressed from head to waist in red and white stripes. Waldo hid within a shadow and tugged on his tightly knit stocking cap. Assured of his relative anonymity, he tucked his hands in his baggy jeans pockets and waited. "The less exposed the better" was Waldo's motto. It was all part of the game.

A stream of stale air wafted loosely under his nose. The salty brine-like odor reminded him of his Mother's second-rate cooking.

"I swear I can smell mom's stale sourdough bread."

It was a little more than he could stand.

Waldo’s face began to turn pea green. Whether it was the smell itself or an unpleasant memory elicited by the foul odor, we as observers are not able to discern. But whatever the cause, Waldo was alarmed,

"This won't do at all!" he reasoned while holding his breath.

This temporary solution produced its desired effect and he now felt safe to breath through his mouth.

The shadow in which he stood, hid Waldo from casual viewers. It was the 'eager beavers' that worried him. Nonchalant onlookers would scan the area for a few minutes and would then give up and leave him unmolested, but it was those live wires who would never give in; who would search until they'd discovered Waldo...no matter where he tried to hide!

A man with a black top hat and cane wandered past Waldo's hiding spot. The two exchanged knowing glances that were undetectable to the unpracticed eye. A few moments later, an elderly woman, walking a poodle, approached and stood in front of Waldo. He moved slightly to one side where just his red and white stocking cap and pallid face would be visible.

"Good work, Minerva, and you too, Bootsie," He spoke to the lady and her dog. She then turned and gave a nearly imperceptible nod in Waldo’s direction and went on her way.

Not far from where he stood, a couple lay on a red and white striped blanket, having a picnic. The blanket aroused a lot of suspicion from on-lookers and Waldo was pleased with the diversion.

In the distance he noticed a red and white striped cow. Waldo resisted the temptation to shake his head but thought,

"How preposterous, no one will fall for that. Sometimes I just don't understand what’s going on in people's heads!”

There were children and pets, in many sizes and shapes, and several wore red and white striped clothing, it was all a part of the plan.

Suddenly out of nowhere, like a bolt of lightening, a giant index finger landed only a centimeter from the surprised Waldo. A moment later the sky thundered loudly,


The jig was up. Shaken but relieved, he waited for what he knew would happen next:

The Director, a tall, thin man who appeared to be a younger version of Waldo shouted,

"That’s a wrap guys, take a short break and then go to Costume. I'll see you in the next scene."

Just three more pages and he'd be done. Waldo took pride in this ruse but he was getting too old for the job. He’d recently begun seeing a Shrink, and who knew---if everything turned out right---soon, he might be able to quit.

© 2009 Wharton

Author's Note

Sorry, I have an odd sense of humor, lol

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Added on August 4, 2009




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