Pickle Man

FLASH FICTION #07:

The thick-bearded, smelly orphan this story is about had survived beside the same large dustbin for all his 52 years. Both belonged to a dark alley of a city that doesn’t need mention here as it is a fact that more or less all cities have poverty prospering in their dark wombs. The alley’s only visitor was a Constable from the local police station who made the regular midnight patrol.

Our man had a wagging tongue for a particular brand’s lemon pickle. He used a fingertip of the pickle from its glass bottle as a relish for his daily dinner. Since he didn’t like the idea of stealing the pickle bottle from the supermarket round the corner, he stole the required amount every month from his choice of unconscious people – one type bent over their smartphones in bus stops and the other type were engaged in finding deep meaning in the back seat of cars that came most nights and stopped at the end of the alleyway for an hour.

At the start of his dinner one night, he discovered that his pickle bottle was missing. To say the least, a volcanic madness gripped the simple mind. This was only just, as anyone sane would agree that the pickle shouldn’t have been stolen from an animal that breathed only to taste it night after night with no other wish or thought in the world.

After a violent bout spent kicking the dustbin and searching the nearby gutter from end to end, he noticed a veiled and wrinkled figure squatting somewhere in the same alley. He searched her belongings with high hopes, and upon their ruin, lifted a nearby block of stone and dropped it on the fragile head.

The next morning, the police carried him away to their quarters. The man, with his sticky face from hours of sobbing and mourning, was taken by walk and not as usual by the police jeep lest he contaminate it. Within the building of righteous officers, after he was booked for murder and locked in a cell, he saw the patrol Constable having breakfast with his pickle bottle for relish.