Some months ago The Great Gray Bridge posted a humor sketch by Ewan Munro, called “My Father the Returner.” Here’s a new guest post by Ewan, an illustrated story called “A Game of Catch Among Friends.” Credit and acknowledgment for the evocative photos below goes to Barry Feinstein.
A Game of Catch Among Friends
The wild-haired man stood, his feet close together like he was standing in a line of infantry, gazing at the three children who played with a ball. Their English voices echoed across the cobblestones of the back street as the stick-like creature approached them. He wore black sunglasses over his eyes like he was trying to conceal a darker purpose and was clad in entirely ebony attire. The boys were filled with a curious sense of wonderment towards the creature who stood like a watchful sentinel. Though short of stature he was gangly and thin, his dark suit crinkling around his shoulders. With a shuddering movement the creature moved toward the boys and a nasal cry escaped his lips.
“Can I toss your ball?” he asked, extending a bony hand, his long fingernails flecked with bits of tobacco. The boys were wary at first; they dreaded the possibility of losing their red sphere.
“Okay,” the eldest boy said and handed the ball to the creature. He felt it in his palm, admired the smooth surface and tossed it into the sky. The boys gasped and ran to meet it as it returned to earth. It bounced across the stones into the doorway of a brick building. The frizzy haired man chased it down with lightning quick vigor and reached it before the children.
“How about again, man!” he shouted, his glasses bouncing on his nose, flinging the ball into the outstretched arms of the smallest boy.
“I’ll run for it!” The boy tossed it towards the creature as he bounded down the row of houses. He caught it in his spider-like hands.
“You’ve got a nice arm, kid.”
“Can we play hide-and-go-seek?” the boys asked as they pointed towards the industrial outcroppings of the back street.
“The world is a land of hide-and-go-seek, everyone is disappearing all around us,” he responded to the boys who stared quizzically back at him. As they were locked in strange awe of each other a loud noise clamored behind them. Six men approached carrying musical instruments in black cases. The tallest man, who was heavy-set and wore wire-framed glasses, shouted toward the creature.
“Hey, Bobby! We have to get to the theater in an hour. Let’s get in the car!”
“Okay, Albert, me and my comrades are just finishing up a game,” he parried and laughed gleefully as he wrenched the red sphere from the hands of the middle boy. He bounced it down the street at a galloping speed as if he was trying to flee from dangerous captors. The boys followed suit as they scurried in among the dilapidated buildings.
As the men at the far end of the street grew restless the children sensed their play was nearing a close.
“What’s your name?” the little blonde boy asked.
“Just call me, Mr. Jones,” he chuckled as he adjusted his sunglasses. He paused for a moment, became serious and for the first time removed the inky spectacles. His eyes were rimmed with tiredness, red and weary looking, but there was an obvious sparkle that exuded rebellion and wisdom.
“My name is Bob Dylan,” he extended his gaunt hand and gave a shake to each boy. In succession the children introduced themselves:
The bulky man in the wire-rimmed glasses hustled over. “It’s time to leave.”
“Farewell, comrades, maybe I’ll see you again on Desolation Row,” he chuckled loudly into the air and waved as he went to join the men carrying the instrument cases. The boys stared towards the fleeting, frizzy haired man, longing for the play that had passed. They did not know it then but their friends and spouses would later doubt the fantastical story of the time a wild-haired visitor came to their cobbled street.