Prompt: One week after attending the funeral of a close friend, you receive a postcard in the mail with the words, "I'm not dead. Meet me tonight at Guido's Pizzeria. Tell no one."
Bill wasn’t my best friend but we’ve been pals since the third grade. We reconnected when we both returned home after his hitch in the army and my four years at State College. I got married and didn’t hang with the guys all that much after that except for a get together at Guido’s once or twice a year.
We’d tell the same old stories over and over, Bill’s catch on the thirty yard line and his touchdown that won the game over rival Central High, Bill’s sexual escapades with that bombshell Martha and we’d all drool over the love of our young lives, Betty. She was the hottest babe in school with these huge tits, Marilyn Monroe figure and a boyfriend the size of a truck. Those were the days.
Martha got pregnant and married Bill the summer after high school. Everyone knew that their marriage wouldn’t last very long and it didn’t. Bill joined the army and left Martha with their new daughter.
Bill died last week. It was not clear to us from what, but he died from a medical condition that nobody knew he had. We all went to Guido’s after the funeral for a couple of beers and a tearful retelling of Bill’s famous catch. Damn, I’ll miss him.
The following Saturday I found a goofy tourist post card in my box. It was addressed to me and had the following note scrawled in sloppy handwriting: "I'm not dead. Meet me tonight at Guido's Pizzeria. Tell no one."
The postcard didn’t say when, just tonight, so I went early and sat alone at our usual table spilling wine with my shaky hands and wiping the tears from my eyes. After about an hour and a half this cute teenage babe strolls in, comes directly to my table and sits down on my left. I didn’t know what to say, I just stared at her wondering what’s going on. She lights a cigarette and says through a cloud of smoke, “Thanks for coming. I knew my postcard would work.”
I stammered without putting together a whole sentence when she spoke again. “I wanted to meet you here and talk, now that Bill is gone. You see, my mom, Martha was pregnant with me when you left for college. She knew you wouldn’t come back so she told Bill that I was his and he married her. Now that he’s gone I want to get to know my real dad.”
©2010 by Bob Rockwell