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Fiction Friendship

Absolution—George Davis

  It seems to me, Charlie Bascomb could take a few lessons on listening to someone else for a change. He always has to get his opinion into every conversation. It is my considered opinion. Charlie is in love with Charlie. 

  I’m forever forced to listen to Charlie spout off. He is a staunch Democrat. In his own words, he is a free-thinker. I’m not opposed to listening to him run off at the mouth about everything. However, I am opposed to the fact he doesn’t let me, or anyone else, have a conclusion that doesn’t line with his doctrinal beliefs. 

  Last week, Charlie met me at the Wayfarer Diner on Main Street in Bickford, Maine for breakfast. We talked, or should I say, he talked for the entire hour we were there. I got very few words before it was time for me to leave for work. 

  “I’m telling you, Damien,” he said, I believe in the new modern Bible. The old King James is for old folks, with its archaic language. I truly believe God can’t speak to anyone through the original King James Bible. He speaks through the modern scriptures…” 

  I tried to tell him, the King James Version is an old, tried and true bible. And wanted to ask him how he thought so many came to Jesus through the KJV, but Charlie doesn’t like interruptions when he is expounded on his views. “Sorry Damien, but you are wrong. God doesn’t sanction the KJV any longer. God sees it as very old fashioned." 

  “I disagree,” I told him. 

  “You are old school, Damien. Take, for example, you never have anything good to say about anyone. You call some of these modern preachers, anti-Christs.” 

  “They are, Charlie. When you put yourself in the place of Christ, you are a prideful  person. Jesus is the only way to God the Father.” 

  “Now, now, Damien. There are other deities out there that are just as capable of leading us to Heaven. You are too narrow-minded, Damien.” 

  I stopped, got up, and paid my bill, leaving the waitress a good tip. 

Charlie said, “you going to leave three-dollars for a tip, Damien. That’s more than she earned. Do you think we got good service?”

  “Yes I do, Charlie,” I said. “She ran her legs off for us.” “That’s what she gets paid to do. Why should we leave any tips? They get a salary, don’t they?” 

  “Yes, Charlie. Nevertheless, they only get minimum wage.” 

  “Is that our fault? I can’t see making millionaires out of these people. I come by my money working my butt off, Damien.” 

  I’ve had enough. I left Charlie at the cash register, probably complaining about something. 

  Charlie drove to his place of business, Main Street Hardware where he owns the company with his father-in-law.

  “Look, Cecil, I think you ought to retire; let me run things for you.”

  “Charlie, forgive me for being blunt. You couldn’t run a foot race. You are the most incompetent person I know. If you weren’t married to my daughter. I would have fired you five years ago.

  “Face it, Cecil. You are jealous. I could make this business thrive. However, you’d rather stay in the 20th century. I’ve new ideas for this company.”

  “I am a far way from retirement, Charlie. I’ve got another good ten years.”

  “You’re seventy-four now. You are slipping, Cecil. The world is passing you by. Your old ways in the hardware business are archaic, to say the least.”

  “Why don’t you put on your frock and get to work. Has anyone ever told you, you talk to much?”

  “Only people who are jealous of my style.”

  “I’m fully aware of your style, Charlie. It’s come to work late every day, take an early lunch, and go home, take a nap, and then come back in time to close the store.” 

  “I need my rest, Cecil. Power naps restore my energy.” 

  “Never mind, get to work. We just got a truckload of merchandise out back.” Charlie turned, stuck out his tongue, and went out back to the storage room. 

  It was Sunday Charlie, and I meet at the Country Club for nine holes of golf. I’d rather take a beating than to meet with Charlie. If I hadn’t known him since first grade, I’d have told him off a long time ago. 

  “Hey, Damien. Ready to take a beating?”

  “Sure, Charlie. Whatever you say.”

  “You do know I have won the last four games.” Yeah, and you’ll never let me forget it.

  Charlie went home; stood before the mirror and said, ‘Charlie, you’re the greatest. You won again today, and that makes you the best at everything you do’.

  Mowing the lawn, Charlie sat smugly atop his Toro ride-a-mower. All is well. Before he had finished half his one-acre field. Charlie had a heart attack and fell off his tractor.

  “Hey, Damien,” Winnie the waitress said. “Did you hear about Charlie Bascomb, your friend?”

  “No, what about Charlie?”

  “He had a heart attack this morning. They rushed him to the medical center. That’s all I know, Damien. I hope he’s gonna be okay. I know how close you and Charlie are.”

  “Just coffee, Winnie. I’ve got to drive into the medical center and see how he’s doing.”

  “I’ll pray for him, Damien.”

  “I know you will, Winnie. Thanks.”

  As much as I hate hospitals, my buddy is in need of a friend now more than ever. I’ll have to look past his egotistical rants and see my friend in need.

  “Doctor, I’m a friend of Charlie Bascomb. Can you tell me how he’s doing? I just got the news this morning.”

  “Your friend is lucky. He got to the hospital in time. When he first came in, I was skeptical he’d leave here alive. However, your friend has a strong will to live.” 

  “Can I see him?” 

  “Five minutes. That’s all. He needs his rest.” 

  “Well buddy, what happened to you? I know; you wanted to come here and flirt with the nurses.” 

  “Buddy,” he began. “I’m a fool, Damien. I brag too much. I offend people whom I should try to make my friends.” 

  “Are you, Charlie Bascomb admitting you aren’t what you seem to project to people?” 

  “Yes, today I learned a lesson. There is a power higher than Chimearlie Bascomb could even imagine. When you come face to face with death, it changes your outlook on life. You realize you are just a small, as our history teacher, Mr. Harmon used to say: ‘We are but infinitesimal pebbles on the beach of time.’ 

  “Well Charlie, today I have found a new friend, the new Charlie Bascomb, and I’m pleased to make your acquaintance.” 

  “I’m glad to have a friend like you, Damien. A true buddy. I’m sorry if I have come on too strong at times. No, let me rephrase that. Forgive me for always wanting to be right about everything, interrupting you every time you wanted to make a statement.” 

  “You’re forgiven, old friend.” 

  “Thank you, Damien. Thank you.” From that day forward, Damien and Charlie spent much time together, enjoying the good things in life.

  I’ll end this story with a quote from William James. “If you can change your mind, you can change your life,” and that is just what Charlie Bascomb did today.

January 12, 2021 13:58

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4 comments

Bruna Cavalcante
12:57 Jan 21, 2021

Hey George, I really liked your story, don't know if it was your intention or not but even though Charlie is terrible, he is still very likable... I liked him from the start lol Great story!

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George Davis
15:28 Jan 26, 2021

Thanks, Bruna. I appreciate your post. There is nothing like good, valid critiques. Thanks again.

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George Davis
15:28 Jan 26, 2021

Thanks, Bruna. I appreciate your post. There is nothing like good, valid critiques. Thanks again.

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George Davis
15:28 Jan 26, 2021

Thanks, Bruna. I appreciate your post. There is nothing like good, valid critiques. Thanks again.

Reply

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