The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning ZILCH
Going through some of my files, I came across a flash–fiction tale I wrote about Harv & Bert. I decided to do a second story with these two old-timers. I’ll call this one…
Harv and Shamus
When Bert heard the double-rap on the door of his cottage soon after breakfast, he knew it’d be his friend Harv. That was their signal.
“Morning, Harv,” he said as he opened the door. “I expected you’d be along soon. You’ll be wantin’ a cuppa tea after your long walk.”
Harv entered Bert’s kitchen, followed by his dog, Shamus. “Thanks much, Bert. Shamus doesn’t let me sleep in when he wants his morning stroll. And I guess it’s good for me to get moving.”
Bert patted the spaniel. “You’re a good dog, gettin’ the old guy outta bed bright and early. He needs it.” He turned to his friend. “Sometimes I think I should get a dog, too. But I’m a slow starter in the morning — don’t know if I really wanna get rousted out at 7:00 in the morning to walk a dog.”
Harv chuckled. “No, you still need your beauty sleep. There’s no hope for me anymore, so I might as well be up.” He suspected Bert was too easily irritated to be a very good dog owner, but he kept these thoughts to himself. Bert was his friend, even if he was rather crotchety.
“Got anything special planned for today, Bert? Doctor’s appointment…or maybe lunch with some rich widow?”
“No hope there. No, I have zilch planned for today. ‘Course I’ll have a quick look through the paper, but with the news these days it doesn’t do a person’s blood pressure any good to read the whole story. Back when I was young there was none of this protesting and tearing things down. Everybody minded his own business and behaved himself.” He handed Harv a cup of tea. “Crooks are getting off too…”
“Well, I’ve heard some good news! I got a letter from my daughter yesterday; she and her family made it to Australia safe and sound and are enjoying their time in Sydney.”
“Glad to hear it. That’ll set your mind at ease. Though why in the world they’d want to go there for is beyond me. I’d rather go to England myself. See the old country; look up some relatives. If there are any still alive.”
“And will you look at this.” Harv pulled a post card from his jacket pocket. “She sent a picture of the Sydney Opera House. Ain’t it a marvel?”
Bert studied the card for a moment. “The power bill for that place would probably give you heart failure.”
Harv frowned. “Maybe, but I’m not payin’ it, so they can do what they like. She says this place draws thousands of tourists every day, and it looks so pretty all lit up at night.”
“Wonder whose idea it was to build it with all them loops? Must be hard to heat in winter.”
“They don’t have the winters we do, so heating costs maybe aren’t so high. And you know, young designers are always wanting to try something different. See if it’ll work.” Harv slipped a dog biscuit out of his pocket and gave it to Shamus.
“All these fancy twisted new buildings. Give me a solid four-square building any day.” Bert handed the card back to Harv. “When we were young, plain and simple was…”
“That’s a great idea. How be I come back this afternoon and we head downtown, look at some of the old places, then stop for pie and coffee at the diner. I got nothin’ else up today myself.” Harv stood up and whistled to Shamus.
“Sounds good. I’ll be waiting.”
A few minutes later, Harv was taking in all the sights and sounds of the morning as he and Shamus walked home. He thought about Bert, then leaned over to pat his dog. “Just think what sort of a rut I might be stuck in if I didn’t have you to get me up and going every day, old pal. Good ol’ Shamus.”