Idle Hands

In Fiction on January 14, 2013 at 10:26 pm

Playing cards on the pavement (Pinar del Rio, ...

Idle Hands

“Goddam kids are back, Harry.”

“I noticed…”

“Goddam kids are back and making trouble again, idle little turds. Where are the parents, eh? Don’t these kids have jobs no more?”

Harry sighed and glanced at his cards. The game just wasn’t the same without partners. He discarded a king.

Albert eyed him suspiciously.

“You leading me? I know you’ve got five more of those.”

Harry shrugged and Albert drew two.

“Anyway, they smoke and they drink and they wait around like something’s gonna happen. Nothing’s ever gonna happen for them…”


“Nothing’s ever gonna happen because they’re worthless goddam kids WITH BAD PARENTS AND NO FUTURE!”

He lifted his head and barked it across the street, where the teens had suddenly noticed the old men. Harry frowned.

“Shouldn’t a done that, Al,” he said.

The teens made a spectacle of crossing the street, dragging their feet and laughing as they came: five kids with jeans belted at the knee and T-shirts down to their asses.

“You got a problem old timer?” a tall boy growled. He was skinny and sharp, with a crooked overbite that made him look mean.

“My friend thinks your summer could be spent more wisely,” Harry explained.

The boy cocked his head to the side.

“Who are you to talk, grampa? Playing your cards? Me, I’ve got summers to spare—but I wouldn’t be wasting ‘em if I was as old as you.”

Albert discarded a king and Harry moved to pick it up. He pinched it with his index and middle fingers— the only ones left on his right hand—and started laying down his run.

“That’s the game, Al,” he said with a grin.

“Every goddam time…” Albert lamented.

Then Harry waved his mangled fingers at the kids like a priest making the cross and he smiled grimly.

“I’ve done plenty with my summers,” he said, and the boy with the mean face stared.


“Yeah,” Harry said. “Sit down and I’ll tell you all about it.”

(Photo credit: Andy Siitonen)

This is my response to this week’s Trifecta Writing Challenge: Idle. Let the record show that, unlike some of my previous posts, this one is in no way twisted or sadistic or indicative of a disturbed mind. Yes, I’m really something.

Check out the rest of the stories as they pour in throughout the week — there are some really talented writers in the mix and you shouldn’t miss them.

As always, comments and (especially) criticism are welcome, recommended, encouraged and embraced below!

  1. I like this. I’d like to sit down and hear the old man’s story too.

  2. ugh! What a cliffhanger!

  3. cool story could hear the old codger loud and clear in my head

  4. Could just imagine this – really lifelike. I particularly liked the ‘jeans belted at the knee’. Such a fetching fashion…

  5. I like the ending of this one. A wise old man imparting his experience to the youth. How things are supposed to be.

  6. Ah, the idle days of youth. “Sit down and I’ll tell you all about it.” Everyone has a story to tell and the idle have the time to sit and listen.

  7. I would love to hear the stories! Great post.

  8. Love this post. I love the picture. I love the dialogue. I could practically hear those old men talking. And I really love how it shows that we can understand each other better if we just take the time to listen to each other and tell our stories.

  9. Old is gold:-)Loved this!

  10. Fantastic dialog. The scene was so well laid out I felt like I was there. In fact I would love to plunk down with them and listen to the stories. Great piece! As always…

  11. You can’t fool us with your happy-go-luck sunshine and rainbows and joined generations piece. We know you have a gnarled, dark heart 😉 lol Love this entry!

  12. oooh, I do like these grumpy old men. good story

  13. Your descriptions are great – I could ‘see’ all of the characters.. I’d love to hear the old man’s stories. Hope the young ‘uns decide to listen to them.

  14. What a great piece. It drew me right in. It was like watching a movie, well actually, the coming attractions, now I want to see the movie. 🙂 It made me a little homesick though. Your old men could be my Grandfather and Uncles. If I didn’t know any better, I’d think you spent time at my Grandma’s too. 🙂 Love this!

  15. […] to write 33 words or less on it (the photo being the prompt this week). I’ve done a number of Trifecta Writing Challenges, but this is my first time attempting the shorter cousin (man, that sounds wrong, but I’m […]

    • I just found you, book marked you and will begin scliolrng through to find all sorts of goodies.I love these little grad hats. We made them a bit ago, but used choc dipped graham crackers for the boards on top…more calories, right? We used a bit of frosting to attached the unwrapped peanut butter cup to the graham cracker and then also added a mini m&m to the top as a button. oy.

  16. […] Related: The Waiting Water // A Fitful Sleep // Idle Hands […]

  17. […] Related (but not creepy): Words For Things // Al In Wonderland // Idle Hands […]

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