New friends aren't always what they seem.Flash fiction, 300 word limit.
| We sailed up the boulevard in my white Cadillac on a Monday , just before sunset. I drove, while my newfound "friend" James rode shotgun.
We met a couple hours ago as I was leaving the office, early for a change. He approached with the indifference of a seasoned panhandler, polite and unfazed by the potential for rejection.
" Sir, can you spare a dollar for the bus?"
I initially reached into my pocket before reconsidering. It was a beautiful day and my evening itinerary was empty. I gave him a quick once over. He was an older gentleman, a bit scruffy but appeared harmless.
" Where ya headed? I can give you a ride." I offered.
" Hollygrove. It's about 15 minutes north of here."
" Not a problem. Hop in." I replied.
On our way, we stopped and I bought us dinner. We engaged in unexpectedly stimulating conversation over foot-long subs and cold sodas. James was an interesting, intelligent guy. I wondered, but did not ask, how he came to be down on his luck. He mentioned the death of his wife several years back and I assumed that was a factor.
Now, as we neared our destination, I took pride in the compassion I'd shown a stranger. Suddenly, James abruptly interrupted a fascinating war story and pointed.
" Right here. That grey house on the left, that's mine."
I looked over at the large, stately edifice and immediately stopped the car, surprised.
" You live in THAT house? I thought you were homeless."
" Why would you think that?"
" You were panhandling. You even let me buy you dinner!"
He chuckled before responding, " I wasn't panhandling. I didn't have any bills less than a 50 and the bus only takes ones. As for dinner, you offered, and what can I say, I like sandwiches."
Word count - 300