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A path not traveled in a while...
When the flashlight was shone into Damian’s face, he held up his hand and blocked it.
“Sir, I need you to come down from there. I’d like a few words from you. This is Officer Haroldson from the police department.”
“Sure. Sure thing, officer” Damian said, grunting as he rose and followed the light of the flashlight shone on the trail to the bottom less than 100 feet away.
“I’d like to see some ID please. The owner of this motorcycle business over there saw you go up this trail about four this afternoon and called us when they left at seven. Thought you were suspicious.”
“Hmm. Interesting,” Damian said. “Here’s my driver’s license. Out of state, Texas. I do have a story about me being here. Wanna hear?”
“All ears, sir.”
“Well, I lived in what used to be the trailer park up there. 52 Hilltop was the address. Oh, I don’t know, 40, 45 years ago. Mom used to work at that place over there. Still is a car dealership but I suppose it’s changed hands quite a few time since then. Single mom raising two boys. She worked there but we lived up there. When I needed to ask her something, I’d come down this little path, cross that road and go to her office. Bookkeeper she was.”
“Wait, how old were you?”
“Couldn’t have been more than five.”
“And you crossed that four-lane road by yourself?”
“Most of the time, yes. Sometimes my older brother would be with me, a year and a half older.”
“Ooo, she chewed me out every single time I arrived. Met Sammy the mechanic, funny man, I remember that. There was Edwin the sales guy. And Mr. Mason, the boss - the owner of the place. Always wore a suit. Sammy would buy me a pop in those old-fashioned glass bottles. Still remember the smell of grease from that shop. Funny things you remember when you let your mind go.”
“Good reason for being here, I suppose. Sorry for bothering you. Next time…”
“Do you have time for one more thing I remember?”
“One time I got to Mom’s work and of course after she yelled at me, I pulled out some flowers I picked along this very path. Probably were weeds now that I think about it, but I thought they were pretty. I gave them to her and she started crying and told me to go back home. Before I left, though, she gave me this really tight bear hug. First time I’ve ever told that story.”
Damian paused. He had been telling the story in the dark so he couldn’t see Officer Haroldson.
“Well, Mr. Williams, you can be on your way now. Thanks for that blast into the past. I don’t get a lot of good stories like this in my line. Makes it all worthwhile. Next time, though, just let a business like this know what you’re up to so they won’t get so nervous.”
“Will do, sir, will do.”
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