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Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Comedy · #2314542
Andy found the old man fascinating.
Harold Groves was an old man who lived in apartment 1204. The kid lived one floor down in 1104. The kid’s name was Andy Sykes, and he found the old man fascinating. There were all sorts of stories about him. They said all he did at night was sit in his apartment smoking cigarettes and looking out the window.

Mrs. Gonzales from the fourth floor said he used to be a teacher. Freddy Mercer’s father said he was an old hippy and used to sell drugs. Some say he went to prison for robbing a liquor store and shooting the clerk in the face. Nicky Palomino's older brother said he came back from Viet Nam with no arms and half his face missing, that he had no nose and no ears and that he lived on Alpo dogfood.

Andy’s mother said to stay away from him, but the kid had to get a peek at him. He waited until his mother went to bed before he made his move. The first part was easy, ducking out the window. Getting on the fire escape was not much harder. What was hard was climbing up the rickety metal steps without making a bunch of noise in his cowboy boots. Luckly, he didn’t have so far to go. He needed to climb one floor and he was going to do it or die trying.

When he got halfway up, he saw the old guy’s open window just a few feet above his head. It was pitch-black inside the room until a yellow glow flared in the darkness. Then smoke came swirling out into the night air above his head.

“Who’s out there?”

The kid froze and said nothing.

“Sneaking up on a guy. I’ll blow your head off. You think it’s okay to spy on people?”

Andy wanted to run down the fire escape but couldn’t seem to make himself move.

”You still there, chief?”

Andy said nothing.

“I said are you still there?”


“You trying to spy on me? Is that what you’re doing?”


“What’s your name, kid?”

“Tom,” Andy lied. He’d be in big trouble if his mother found out what he was doing.”

“You the kid from downstairs, aren’t ya? The one wear's red cowboy boots?”

Andy said nothing.

“You know what you’re doing don’t you? You are interrupting an officer of the law in the performance of his duties! Now get on with you before trouble finds you. And when I say trouble, I mean bigtime trouble, buster, the kind with a capital tee.”

Andy stretched over the railing trying to get a glimpse of the old man but all he saw through the open window was darkness and the occasional yellow/red glow from a cigarette.

“You still there, boy?”

“Yes,” Andy said stepping two steps higher.

“Thought I told you to beat it.”

The kid said nothing.

“Look, ya little peeping-tom, I’m on a stake-out here!" He sounded fed-up. "Do you read me?”

“You’re on a stake-out?”


“Right now?”

“Decidedly so,” the old man said. “Now git!”

“My mom says you used to be a dancer.”

“A dancer! Your ma’s not a bad looking broad, but kid, you gotta know she’s a nutcase.”

“She said you danced in dirty movies.”

“I danced in dirty movies? That’s a swell one kid. Who the hell dances in dirty movies? I danced on Broadway!”

“You know it’s against the rules to smoke in your room.”

Not terribly worried about the rules, Slick. I’m a cop, remember? I make the rules.”

Andy said nothing.

“You don’t believe me, do you?”

“Well, not really, no,”

“If I’m not a cop, then tell me why I am on a stake-out,”

“Do you have a gun?”

“Course I got a gun.”

“Can I see it?”

“Tell me something, you know a guy goes be the name of Smalls?”

“Smalls?” Andy repeated. “Don’t think so.”

“Smalls,” the old man said. “AKA Smelly Balls Smalls?”

Andy found himself smiling. “That’s a funny name,” he said.

“Well, if you see him, it’s best you don’t go near him.”

“Is he a bad man?”

“Jesus, kid, could Smelly Balls Smalls ever be the name of a good guy?”

Andy laughed now. The old man was funny. He took another step higher.

“He used to run with the Crazy Legs Nelson Gang,” the old man said in his old man’s voice. “You ever see any of them walking around the neighborhood?”

“No,” Andy said though he was no longer sure what they were talking about.

“No! No, you don’t. You know why you don’t? Because I put them all away. You got me to thank them boys ain’t running wild though our streets anymore.”

“I never heard of them,” Andy said.

“No? How bout Al Capone? You heard a him, haven’t you?”


“I sent him to the Rock.”

“The rock?”

“Alcatraz! You’ve heard of Alcatraz, right?”


“How old are you?”

“Ten and a half,” Andy lied. He was nine and a half. “How old are you?”

“Too old.”

“How come you stare out the window all the time?”

“Kid, I told you. I’m on a stakeout. Now beat-it!”

“Do you really have a gun?” Andy asked. Now he was just outside the old man’s window. He slowly slid his head around to see him sitting in his chair. He had all his ears and his nose, and he had a shiny silver gun halfway inside his mouth.

“Jesus, Joseph, and Mary,” the old man said once he removed the gun. “You all in a rush to get shot?”

Andy shook his head no. He heard himself asking if the man played checkers.

It turned out the old guy did play checkers and the next thing Andy knew he was inside playing checkers. It turns out Mr. Groves once worked for the British Secret Service. He was known back then as double oh nine.

--1000 words--

Write a story or poem in which the main character is lying.
Include the following phrases, bolded, in any order:

all in a rush
decidedly so
not terribly worried
so far to go

Use Dark as one of your genres.

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