The words over at Three Word Wednesday are cadence, humble and resolve. The idea is to take the words, craft something and let the world critique it. I invite everyone to play along.
Just Passing Time
If you could measure time by how long it takes to fill a 10-pound, rusty coffee can with pebbles tossed while sitting on a plank sidewalk, then Toby Weller was a three-quarters of the way into the grave.
He swung dusty brown boots in the space between the wooden walkway and the ground; the cadence of pea-sized gravel hitting the tin, slowly ticking time off his time, sounded as if someone kept making pops with an index finger snapped against the corner of their mouth.
People passed, the ebb and flow of commerce, city business unaware the resolve it took to fill that rusty can, to mark time in such a way. No one asked, pressed. The wounds too fresh. He’d come around, come out of it, they’d suppose.
Plink. Miss. Plink, plink, miss.
Ever since his parents had died, Toby Weller brought the can to Main Street at noon, settled it with a twist into the dirt, jumped up on the sidewalk, plopped down, swung his legs at the knees, pulled stones from pockets, got down to business.
Locks of filthy black hair usually blocked one eye, throwing off his accuracy some; he’s toss the hair back as a mare shoos flies with her mane. This usually was followed by a pause, where Toby Weller would roll a stone with the fingers of his right hand and sigh in wounded gulps.
Boys in mended knickers, their untucked shirts flapping like flags in the wind, would sometimes run back and forth across the rough-hewn boards, trying to throw Toby Weller from his cadence, the countdown to his demise. They’d laugh as they passed, cuss at him, if there wasn’t a grown-up within earshot.
Toby Weller gave them nary a mind.
Plink. Plink. Plink.
“Say mister, what happens when you fill that stupid can of yours with them there rocks?” a boy finally asked.
Toby Weller cleared his throat, dipped his hand into his pocket to pluck another stone and in a humble murmur, spoke just a word…
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