Templeton Gabtree, whose mother was clearly a deeply devoted Charlotte’s Web fan, trusted no one like he trusted the pigeons in Paraffin Park. The park was actually named Van Buren Park, after the eighth President of the United States, but Templeton was not overly fond of the number eight; he found it to be annoyingly coy, so he instead referred to the park as Paraffin Park, due to the vast number of salons surrounding it, instead.
Templeton worked as a clerk in a law office downtown. He rather enjoyed the monotony of his day; the dull rhythm that came with research. He more often than not kept himself to the lower offices, away from his coworkers, as his constantly humming Dio tunes while he worked seemed to unnerve them.
Returning to the subject of pigeons, Templeton always fed them during his lunch break over the course of his workweek. Today was Saturday, however, and on the weekends Templeton stopped at Stony’s, an outdoor vendor located off Vlautin and 5th, and bought the pigeons a soft pretzel to enjoy.
Templeton’s typical spot in the park, the blue bench across from the small wishing fountain, was already occupied when he arrived. A woman dressed in running gear was nursing what appeared to be a sprained ankle. Templeton looked for a seat elsewhere as his feathered friends began to surround him, cooing in appreciation. Templeton began his hellos as he looked for adequate seating.
“Hello, John. Jacob. Nice to see you, Jingleheimer. You look well, Schmidt!”
Opting to just sit cross-legged in front of the fountain, Templeton pulled the soft pretzel from his pocket.
“Sorry, but Stony was out of the salt-free kind. I’ve been working off all of the salt I can, though, so you should be fine.” Templeton said, scraping off another section of pretzel before breaking it off. “Esteban, don’t be such a pig.”
“Yes, well, you snatched Bess’ lunch from her. Mind your manners.”
And so it went, Templeton calling each of his friends by name in greeting while he fed them the soft pretzel. He discussed the week’s events, how work was very busy lately and how Margaret, a woman in accounting, had been caught taking long lunches. Templeton then explained how the recent holidays had put him behind on his comic books.
“It’s not that I can’t appreciate why they can’t arrive on Wednesday, I’m merely stating that –”
“‘They’re only superheroes.’? What does that even mean?”
“Blakely, you’ve just been all but intolerant of comic books since Green Lantern came out. Personally, I didn’t think it was so bad. You just –“
“Now look here, I’ll not have you speaking down to me about the Hulk. Let’s just move on before we both say things we’ll regret later.”
Templeton continued bantering with his friends long after they had finished their soft pretzel, oblivious to the fact that the woman nursing her ankle had been a captivated audience as well. Judging her ankle steady, she made her way over to the odd group.
“Hello.” She said as the pigeons hurried away from her, circling Templeton, climbing on and around him onto the fountain.
Templeton stood up.
“Hello.” Templeton returned. He’d never been very good with people.
“I’m sure she does not have any treats for you, Esteban, you greedy boy.” Templeton admonished the pigeon close to approaching the woman.
“I’m sorry,” the jogger said to the bird, “I don’t. I’m Lisa.” She said to Templeton, extending her hand to him.
“Templeton.” He shared, shaking her hand.
“I didn’t mean to eavesdrop, but I couldn’t help overhear that there was a Green Lantern hater over here.” Lisa said, looking to Blakely.
Templeton just looked on in wonder as Lisa explained the film’s merits to Blakely, who bobbed his head argumentatively, and returned to his seat by the fountain.
This was sweet without being sentimental. Love the banter between Templeton and the pigeons.
Clearly, I have been feeding pigeons in the wrong park. 😉
“Hello, John. Jacob. Nice to see you, Jingleheimer. You look well, Schmidt!” That line made me snort. This is wacky fun, Aaron.
It’s always nice to see someone subvert a stereotype.
Great dialogue.. I have friends and relatives like those pigeons! Very imaginative piece.. I’m looking forward to my next trip to the park already.
No one talks down about the Hulk.”Hulk SMMMASHHH”