Old Man In The Park – A Short Story


There’s a guy sitting on a park bench reading a newspaper…

I’ve lost track of how many days and weeks I’ve followed him. At first glance he looks like an ordinary gentleman – bowler hat with a feather sticking out, glasses pushed to the tip of his nose, and a wrinkled face like an antique leather sofa. I watch his eyes scan the paper; he occasionally raises his eyebrows before flipping to the next page. He seems so innocent and elderly, but things usually aren’t as they seem.
My photography background for The Daily News has taught me the best positions in which to stay hidden from a person. My lens is trained, taking in his every move. He can’t even rub his eyes without my notice. I refuse to let him out of my sight. I’ve spent time in his garbage can, peering through his curtains, following him to his job on the subway, and even joining him for prayer at his neighborhood synagogue. Wherever he goes, my camera and I follow. 
 Now, you probably think I’m mad or something, but let me explain. I’ve seen some… things this guy can do. The first time I laid eyes on him, he was crossing the street when a car ran a red light and missed him by a few inches. The driver never stopped and kept speeding, but something strange happened. The old man gave him the middle finger and BOOM the car burst into flames. 
Since that moment, I’ve followed. I’ve seen him heat a pot and cook a warm meal with his bare hands while his electricity didn’t work. He walked into a bank one rainy April morning, strolled to the back and emptied drawers of money without using a key and no one noticed as if he wasn’t there! I swear, one time he vanished out of thin air, only to appear on a rooftop above me. I’ve observed him in a restaurant, ordering a glass of water, and then whispering to it and it turned into wine. 
Every time I capture one of those moments with my camera, something mysterious occurs. Exactly one hour after the picture is taken, it disappears like it was never there. 
I do not know his name, or if he’s even human. All I know is that one day, one of these photos has to stick. One day, this stranger will make me rich. I won’t take my eyes off him until he does.