The Tramp – By Daryl Baldwin

July 20, 2008

Bill looked like a circus clown; walking with a short stoop and slow shuffle in those oversize shoes made children laugh. Layers of clothes and the Columbo style coat hid his small frame from the world.

I remember the first time I ever saw him. I came out of school; running to the gate where my mum stood waiting. It was a ritual to go straight to the sweetshop for a quarter of pink coloured bonbons. As we came out of the shop and travelled home we passed a bench at the bottom of the road. There was Bill. I held my mum’s hand real close. He was so smelly and dirty I put my hand over my mouth and nose.

“Hello Bill,” mum said, as if he was a family friend.

I looked at her as she said it but just managed to catch the toothless smile from Bill’s face. Under the dirt and grime was a person. There was a story. I watched as he nodded and smiled at her.

“Mummy, who’s that?”
“That’s Bill,” she said
“Why is he dirty?”
“Because he hasn’t got a home and nowhere to wash.”
“Why hasn’t he got a home?”
“He can’t live inside houses.”
“Why.”
“Because.”

I put a sweet in my mouth. I kept wondering about him. He didn’t look like one mum’s friends.

“Why?”
“Because he was tortured during the war.”

I looked back at Bill and he smiled at me. The bonbons and the world lost their flavour.

 

About the Author

Daryl Baldwin

Daryl was born in Gloucester, England. He still lives there today. He is married and has three children and 1 dog.  He works in a local company making products for aircraft and other vehicles. In his spare time he likes to write screenplays and micro fiction. Reading has played a large part of his life. His love of films inspired him to start his first screenplay 2 years ago. This has progressed into trying his hand at prose and lately, micro fiction.

He is a parent governor at the school his children attend. He believes that his input can be invaluable to his children as well as others.

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