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Green Light Gordon
Mama used to tell me to stop at the crosswalk when them little white people turn bright orange. Those funny lights at the busy roads. You know the ones I’m talkin about. So I did. Still do. And sure as shit—that’s somethin Pa used to say all the time—once those people turn white again, it’s kind of like a green light tellin me to walk across the street.
I’ve got a good life if you ask me. I keep the Stop & Shop down on Route 9 nice and clean. The lot, too. People always say hi, check in, see what I’m up to. Same shit, different day is what I tell ‘em ever once in a while. Not in a bad way, though. I just like soundin like Pa sometimes. I don’t say it to the kids, though.
Other times the guys will ask me how I’m doin and I’ll say like a green light. Makes ‘em smile. You know those green light days. Some people even got to callin me that. They’ll say, what’s new, Green Light? Or Green Light Gordon, what’s happenin? And I say oh, nothing new. Cause nothin ever is. But I’m not so sure that’s a bad thing.
One day walkin home from work I came to the crosswalk and those lights was out. No white people, no orange lights, no nothin. Cars screamin ever which way. Turnin. I kept tryin to wait for a good moment to go but the cars just kept flyin through. I kinda panicked. Got all nervous. Almost made a run for it when I heard someone shout hey, Green Light, you okay, buddy? Some guy pulled over on the side of the road and hopped out. You okay, pal? I recognized him. Tim. He's always wearin dirty pants and bright shirts. Must be a road worker or somethin. Likes to come in some mornins and buy a coffee. Anyway I kinda just stood there, no words, nothin comin out. Tears, almost.
Why those lights out, brother? Why they messin with you, huh? Tim asked, but I still didn’t say nothin. He wrapped an arm around me. Waited a minute and pulled me along. We reached the other side and he said, you okay? And I told him I was. He said I’ll probably see you in the mornin, alright, Gordy? Don’t worry, they’ll have the lights fixed. And then he went back across the street.
Walkin home I wished I’d told him thank you, but I think he knew. He’s a good guy, Tim. There’s lots of people like him, too.
Lots of good people in this world.
Tim was right, by the way. Come mornin—sure as shit—them little lights was on again.
Thank you for being here! I hope you had as much fun reading “Green Light Gordon” as I had writing it.
Photographer John Lightle and I communicate regularly about Fifties by the Fire, and sometimes he’ll respond to my emails or ideas by giving me a proverbial green light. After our latest correspondence, the name “Green Light Gordon” popped into my mind and I rolled with it. I may have to keep ole Gordy tucked away in my back pocket for a future story.
Speaking of Fifties by the Fire, here is this week’s prompt: Write a fifty-word story (fiction, poem, or work of CNF) that incorporates dialogue. If you’re looking for an extra challenge, try to strictly use dialogue by cutting all the fluff. Of course, any route you decide to choose is perfectly fine and equally encouraged!
The thread will go live on Friday, August 11, at 3:00 PM EST.
Can’t wait to see you there!
Have a great week, everyone.
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