A short story by Theo Michael to accompany his painting The Tradition Continues

‘Look into my eyes’ he says as he gestures and points to his eyes. ‘THIS is my contract...’

The Tradition Continues, a painting by Theo Michael

They say there is nothing more beautiful than a beautiful woman. Can anyone deny this?
Who can resist following her every move as she glides by along the promenade.

Customers pack this cafe every day to discuss business over the fresh smell of coffee. The highlight and delight happens when young Lisa floats by. This is her daily stroll, beautiful sad Lisa. She’s only loved once and she passes time, waiting for her lover to return.

Hobo’s Cafe is the hub of the city centre. Anyone who is anybody spends time here. All walks of life, including me, but I am an exception, I am a different kind of breed.

I look around me, the guy on my right, always with his newspaper. He is a lawyer, the only lawyer in the world who doesn’t issue contracts.

‘Look into my eyes’ he says as he gestures and points to his eyes. ‘This is my contract’

The exchange is all sealed with a handshake. He’s proud to point out his method works in any language, and surprisingly it has worked for him all his life.

The guy sitting next to him is known as The Barber.

‘Sit down. What can I do for you?’

Any issues you may have, The Barber will sort it out. And yes, you’re probably wondering, he does cut hair too.
He’s not the most likable person, and sure he has his preferences and his biases. Deep down he is a patriot and leans towards helping his own kind more favourably. For a pound he’ll sign your passport photo and for a little bit more, he’ll ensure you’ll get a new passport. For 500 pounds he can get your import duty on the Jaguar you’ve imported from abroad wavered. Any immigration issue, just pay his fee, it is his speciality. Sure, he’s a useful guy to have around.

The man at the end, with the short haircut looks like the most amicable person you could meet. You couldn’t get any further from the truth; Rick is a debt collector and a confirmed bachelor. You can hear him sputtering around on his moped, and be able to spot him from a mile off with a different young girl on his bike every day.

In the evening Rick switches to his Harley Davidson. That way he believes he would pull a more sophisticated girl. But during the day you’d see him in and out of the shops working, collecting rent money.

‘George’ he calls out as he enters the jewellers. ‘It’s rent time’ handing out his invoice.

Everything was hunky dory until the time George couldn’t pay. A broken arm was insurance that George wouldn’t be late again.
One day Rick came to the cafe with a broken arm himself, we thought perhaps he fell off his bike. It was only when the news spread that the Jewellers had burnt down, we knew Rick had resolved his problem.

Restaurateurs, bankers, business men and politicians are all here at some time or other. Even the local MP does his canvassing here. He’s also done time, but that was just for taking a bribe, in this town considered to be a normal activity.

Yes, you could say this place is the hub of activity. I don’t really care for crowds. I have a lot of anxiety issues, but here I feel relaxed, I am amongst friends. But as I said earlier, I am a different kind of breed.
I see Michael is infatuated with the young girl walking by with her parasol. Michael is the guy sitting next to me. I’m so grateful, he picked me up off the streets some years ago and I have not left his side ever since.
Today he’s forgotten my bowl of water. You see, I am lying down by his feet, soaking up the warmth of the summer heat on the pavement. It’s true, it’s a dog’s life.  I wish the girl would pass by quickly.

 This is thirsty work.

Story by Theo Michael

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