It was late in the evening when I heard the knock at the front door. Who could be visiting at this time of night? It had been a few days since I had even spoken to another person and that was fine with me. People just meant problems and I was perfectly content to not share theirs.
I reluctantly headed over and opened the door. In front of me stood a defeated man. He looked tired and a bit aggravated. His hands were covered in grease and his shirt was soaked in sweat. He looked up and started to speak when I stopped him.
“I’m not buying whatever you are selling and I’m not interested in hearing the good word!” I told him quickly.
“Sir, I’m not here for any of that. I just need to know where the nearest gas station is?” He replied
“What’s the matter, thought all you youngsters had those gp thingies. Like maps and stuff on everything.”
“I don’t have one and I’ve been walking for a mile looking. I just need some directions and I’ll leave you alone.”
“It’s funny you ask, which way did you come from.” I asked, then continued. “Down here about a block to the left there used to be a store, but it closed about three years ago. Now the only place around is up by Bill’s old place, but their gas is outrageous. I remember buying gas for less than fifty cents a gallon. In my day a dollar would get you anywhere you wanted and a meal on the way.”
“Sir, I just need to know where it is? Please I need to get going.”
“I told you there’s one over by Bill’s old place, there at the crossroads coming from Jordan’s farm. You just don’t listen”
“Sir, I don’t know Bill or Jordan’s farm. I’m just passing through. Can you please just tell me which direction to go?”
“If you would stop interrupting I could tell you. I swear the younger generation just has no respect nowadays. You try to help and all they want is to get going, be on the move, do drugs and go drunk driving. Is that your problem boy. Did you drive drunk into a tree?”
“No sir. I’m sorry. Please go on, I am listening now.”
“Okay then. you know my son was just like you. All hot tempered and easily irritated. It cost him when he got into a bar fight a few years back. He’s in jail now. You ever been to prison?”
“Well you keep up with that attitude and you’ll be there soon. He never thought he would be there either. I told him but he would just ignore me. Guess my years and experience don’t count for anything. I’ve been through more in my days than you could ever even imagine, but still you just think I’m an old man. Give me the information and then go back to dying. I know that’s what you are thinking.”
“That’s not even, I mean, I would never…”
“I know how you think. You’re probably headed over to that whore house in town. Get your thingy polished off and forget about the old guy who helped get you there. Hell, you ever think maybe I might need a good polishing. No, hell I’m probably too old and can’t get going, right? Boy I could tell you some stories that would make your ears bleed. I was stationed overseas, hell there are probably a half dozen kids out there I never even met.”
I looked up and realized the man was gone. No thank you, nothing. Ungrateful little piss-ant. Get the information and take off. Just another rude youngster. I guess it’s back to the quiet of my empty house.
Story written for today’s Daily Prompt: Circuitous Paths
A stranger knocks on your door, asking for directions from your home to the closest gas station (or café, or library. Your pick!). Instead of the fastest and shortest route, give him/her the one involving the most fun detours.