Handsome Stranger

A charming old man

sits on the steps

enjoying the warm sun

with his handsome cat, Felix.

Asked if he knows

the places in town

where the tourists go

to take pictures

of famous statues?

The old man asks

“Why would you want to

go where everyone else goes?

Come with me

I have something to show you

back at my shop.”

Reluctance was absent,

between the strangers, after all

he was an old man

with his youthful days

long since passed him.

Felix let out a long meow

this was their moment to react.

Play it safe and head to the statues,

or follow an old man and his cat.

They kept pace for the most part

studying his gait, they asked,

“So we never caught your name?”

The old man answered,

as an old man would,

just under his breath.

All they really caught was

“…and Felix.”

At his shop,

in the center there stood

a 12 foot gondola

cut lengthwise in half

overflowing with books.

Their eyes were saucers,

the old man cautioned,

“Be careful of your head.”

There the three were

one had to stoop to stand

the other two just made it

bent forward, just to stand up.

His centuries old bookshop.

“This is wonderful”

both started scanning the books.

The old man with youthful eyes proclaimed,

“My father started all this

when I was a child,

back then, this is all we did.

I want to show show you something.”

He crawled underneath the gondola

through a narrow corridor

the books teetered on either side,

while showing them the way.

From behind a curtain

a heavy door locked with ancient chain.

They eyed the old man,

“We’re not going in there.”

He laughed a little,

said something, and undid the chain.

His little frame disappeared

inside the room,

the floorboards creaked

and he returned with a rolled up paper.

“My father gave me this

when I was your age

it’s a map to a hidden treasure.”

The skeptics in them

said, “yeah right.”

They nervously laughed

at the little man and his cat.

Until one of them noticed,

an old photograph

of a young man holding

what appeared to be a cat.

A cat with the same crooked tail

as Felix, half crooked and or bent.

They looked closer still,

“What the hell

That can’t be Felix?”

The old man asked,

“Or can it?”

They turned the photograph over

and in some old script it read

‘Sam & Felix.’

He handed them a photo album

Sam as a young boy,

teenager, man, father

grandfather all along

holding Felix.

Either they believe him

and accept the map

or doubt his evidence

and move on

to the statues.

To be continued…

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