Gaunt Thibideaux was a man of habits. And you know what they say. “Old Habits” die hard.
“Gaunt Thibideaux was a man of habits. Some people in the town of Burkesville said he was set in his ways. That’s the way folks talked in Burkesville. In the summer Gaunt would mow his yard three times a week, Monday, Wednesday and Saturday, whether it needed it or not. If it rained, as it frequently did in summer in Burkesville, Gaunt would wait for a break and mow between showers. In the fall he raked his leaves on the same schedule. In the winter if it snowed, which it rarely did in Burkesville, he would shovel on the same schedule.
Every morning in fall, winter, and spring Gaunt would drive to work along the same route. Down Hickory, the street on which his eighty seven year old semi Victorian sat, left onto Pine and past the school bus stop, then onto Old Woodmill Road until he came to Route 117. However in summer he would change slightly and take Hickory to High School Road where the town’s only high school sat, along with the community pool and park where families would gather in the summer to splash and play and generally relax in the hot Burkesville sun.
Gaunt Thibideaux was a creature of habit, because Gaunt had a secret. Gaunt enjoyed watching the children. He mostly liked the younger ones. Something about their innocence touched his heart. He would watch them on the first day of school every fall, gathered at the school bus stop looking slightly anxious in their shiny new shoes. The boys would group together sometimes punching one another lightly on the arms in an effort to overcome the uneasiness they felt at the prospect of facing new teachers and new lessons. The girls would stand in small clusters, whispering among themselves, casting glances at the boys and making unkind comments about the other girls and their new school clothes. He would slow his truck as he passed, always careful in case some impatient youngster ran across the road, eager to greet a friend. This also allowed him the opportunity to scan the groups of children and observe them in the scientific manner of a researcher noting the habits of strange yet somehow familiar creatures. Fall was his favorite time of year. It was the time when the children were most vulnerable, when their uncertainty throbbed with a visceral energy. In winter they would be bundled against the cold; thick coats, wool hats pulled low over eyes, scarves wrapped securely around throats, protected from chill winds and observing eyes. In spring they were filled with energy, ready for the school year to end and the freedom of summer to begin. No longer unsure of the rules of their teachers and bonded now with their school mates, they were fearless.”
The entire short story and more terrific short stories can be found in TWISTED TALES: 15 Literary Lies & Epic Yarns. The anthology is available as a FREE e-book download for a limited time at http://readersavenuepark.weebly.com/