- Aspiring Writer’s January 2013 Short Story Contest 2nd Place Winner
Walking through the suburbs on this New Year’s Eve, there were no celebrations to be had for Joseph. Single, and without any close family, he spent the occasion alone.
As he walked, he felt the freedom unexpected for a man in his situation. He looked up into the sky and began to sing a song which had recently caught his attention.
“Merriments are over, for this is the end. The time on Earth is finished, once you find what is around the bend.”
With no knowledge of the band who sang it, it appealed to his optimistic morbidity.
As he walked through the neighborhood, completely untouched by his position of solitude, he took the long way home to savor his journey.
As he walked, he came across a homeless man; an event extremely out of place in his city of relative luxury. To compound the perplexity, he noticed the man brushing his long locks of blonde hair with what appeared to be a dog’s hairbrush.
The obscurity turned into irrelevance until the homeless man asked Joseph, “Top pins for the poor, for I need a new hairbrush.”
Joseph looked at the man, dug into his pocket, and pulled out pocket change and went on his way.
He continued his journey through the small suburban town until he made his way back to his apartment. As he walked he began to sing.
“Without remorse, it comes your time to go. Without a word, it reaches a bitter close.”
He got back to his apartment, unlocked the door, and went in. It was late, but there would be a few more hours before it was time to usher in the New Year. He planned to stay awake for the festivities; where all he could do was watch.
It was 9:00 p.m. and he would spend the last hours of the New Year as it had begun, alone.
A few minutes after he got back to his apartment, he heard rustling around the door. Without the thought of caution, he opened the door to see who it might be. No one was there. He didn’t see any reason to be preoccupied with the thought. He went out the door, looking around to see who it might be. Still, nobody was apparent. He looked deep into the night to see who he might see. A shadowy figure loomed far off into the darkness. He noticed, on the ground, what appeared to be a dog’s hairbrush accompanied by long locks of blond hair.
He closed the door and thought nothing of it. He left the hairbrush where it lay.
As he turned on the television he viewed the merriment the world was enjoying. He made himself a ham and cheese sandwich. As he enjoyed the sandwich complete with lettuce and tomato, the song that had been rolling around his mind earlier came on the television and he sat to enjoy it as he ate.
“The working, the playing will all be gone. Nothing left but slumber for all.”
Trivial as it was, the song had been prominent in his thoughts for weeks.
He finished his sandwich; excellent with the tomatoes. He even put avocado slices on it and garnished it with gourmet potato chips.
He heard rustling near the door again. He opened the door, but it was over. To no avail, the same homeless man that he had seen brushing his long, blonde hair with what appeared to be a dog’s brush hit him once with the hairbrush with such velocity that Joseph fell to the ground. He kept hitting him with that same brush until, it truly was, over.
The next morning, the police arrived. Bludgeoned to death, Joseph’s body lay on the floor next to what appeared to be a dog’s hairbrush.
The police searched his apartment to find only one anomaly. There appeared to be no hairbrush in Joseph’s bathroom.
Late the next night, the homeless man sat in a park and brushed his long, blonde hair.