Flash Fiction-297 Words
|Barbara watched her neighbor Ed sneak into her yard and head for the maple tree. Fallen leaves covered the ground, wet from morning dew. Ed cradled his left arm, scooped the leaves, stacking them like firewood. Satisfied with his stash, he pressed his chin into the rusty pile. Hunching his back, he trotted to his yard, opened the shed door and disappeared.
For the past week, Barbara watched Ed scoop leaves. Neighbors for twenty-five years she knew Ed - laid back, easygoing. Six months ago his wife died, Barbara spoke to him after the funeral but hadn't seen him until he came into her yard.
Ed opened the shed door and found Barbara waiting for him.
"What are you doing with the leaves, Ed?"
"Drying them, I need them to be dry."
"Not sure yet, I'm making a list, maybe a leaf artist?"
"Leaf artist,? Ed, are you ok are you hiding something from me?"
"Yea, your leaves - Ha!"
The next morning Ed rolled Barbara's birdbath to the shed.
She called Ed's son, Robert. She'd met him a few times and almost didn't call, seemed to be a loser - unemployed, drug-user, and always begging money. He told her not worry, be over later, needed to see dad anyway.
After Ed scavenged the yard ornaments, Barbara called the Division of Aging. Within a month, declared incompetent with a state- appointed guardian, Ed entered an assisted living home. A couple of his friends lived there, and he roomed with a high school friend.
"B 16 -B-16!" Ed, sat by Hazel watching her play bingo. She has B-16! She's too dumb to know it. But Ed was smart enough to know that the hardest thing about being crazy is to remember it. He played dumb - hiding only his sanity.