The Storyteller

By Jarrod Tallman

As is most of the fiction posted here, this is incomplete, a beginning, an exercise to find the right words, the right tone, the right metaphor that will reveal what it is I want to say…

Sir… Sir. Excuse me, sir. Would you permit me to walk with you? Oh, that’s fine. I am in no hurry either, as you can see. My free and easy days are behind me. Please sir. Don’t misrepresent ignorance as kindness, I have lived with this limp and gruesome disfiguration long enough to be sure of its existence.

I’m sorry. I admit, I was perhaps too frank with you about my disfigurement. I understand you only meant the best. I will not bother you again. No sir, that is not a promise, just a sentence. Who can promise to affect the way someone else feels, after all? A storyteller you say. Ah, touché, sir, a likely hypothesis indeed.

Where are you going this fine afternoon? To the sea you say? Ah, the sea. I lived on the sea for many years. A tremendous teacher, the sea––one I will never forget. Say, would a story about the sea bother you, sir? No, I can’t promise that this one will not disappoint, but I can promise that it will at least pass the time.

It is true, I only ever loved three things. The sea, myself, and the third I will tell you about in time. At fourteen years old I left my mother for a chance to see the sea from the deck of a merchant ship and experience the world from her ports of call. Ah, there is much to experience in a port town, sir, but we will get to that in time, too. Everything seems to happen in time, does it not? Now, I admit to my self love if for no other reason than to put you at ease with the type of person I am, which is the type of person who is self aware and honest. And I am aware that the pursuit of my love for nature and adventure was indeed selfish. I left my mother with an emptiness from which she would never recover. It was relayed to me that she used her last taste of this life to whisper my name to her only friend, a state appointed hospice worker. Enough about my mother, though, the ship was called Zuider Zee, a Dutch vessel.

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