The Show (Part 3)
A Short Story by Alice Clark
Written using the suggestion ""You will be no friend of mine" "calling" "shadow" "distance" "future" "deep""
Originally featured on 08-06-2009
As part of our series "Stories Written for Mel Favara’s “1,000 Words” Reading Series"

James said the most important part of the show was the face, letting people see what they needed. He said it was a special calling to be a showman. He said he’d been walking the piers, being an old man, for years and that he would continue to do so, keeping his distance from the passersby, into the unforeseeable future.

He asked me if I wanted to go back to the café, because he sometimes liked to sit while he watched the waiters and I said no, that I needed space. He looked at me with a wilted face and then said, “you will be no friend of mine”, which first struck me as melodramatic and then I remembered, and accepted it as part of his antiquated role play.

Deep into the evening I drank the coffee sold in simple paper cups by the pier, because that’s what I thought I should do, and I breathed the air and wondered what kind of waiter I would be. If I would wait well, and if the seaside town would hold me enough so I could stay here, without being a laborer or a salesman.

A boat appeared, something with high sails, and its seafaring themes were bringing new men to the pier, their shadows tall on the wooden boards beneath my feet. I wanted to meet those who were being returned to the dock, to see who could make the transition from men who move things to being those that wait.


Read More By Alice Clark

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Portland Fiction Project

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