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Short story: <i>Invitation</i>



Wearing a mask and reeking of gin, the old sailor rolls crocodile tears down his face over the real tattooed ones.

His shirt is all bunched and dirty at the back under braces whose metal teeth are snapping at his greasy grey trousers like dogs. Where his pants are frayed at the cuffs his toes grow out, hairy callused grubs, old friends meeting at the knuckles, nails doing battle at the ends. His hair grizzles down over his face and he sees blearily through a haze of alcohol fumes and greasy tangles as he sways back and forth over his cane, his escort for the evening in a parody of warm good times.

He throws his bleary eyes around, inviting strangers and friends to recognize him through the mask he wears: age, wear and tear, drunkenness, disuse, black cardboard. He growls to them to legitimise his right to be here, to stumble, to dance, to summon the devil through his hair and redden his toes from stomping on the hard wooden boards, to carelessly disregard the splinters through his calloused feet.

The moon is full, the stars are bright, the sailor dances alone tonight on the pier, waiting for his step to fall false and true from the edge.

This is the result of a thirty minute writing exercise. The only constrictions were the time limit and five randomly selected words from the dictionary. Today the words were: inviting, reeking, warrant, legitimise, and escort.

Image courtesy of catsper.

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