One paragraph story... July 28 edition

Rufus Throm had been rushing around town all morning; the flowers, the remainder of the money for the banquet hall, the tux, handing off the ring to his best man Natty, that he didn't notice the frumpy man sit across from him at Tim Hortons. Rufus was startled out of his reading of an old copy of Archaeology magazine when the man coughed. He was of average build, and size, and from a distance one might have thought they were brothers save for the man’s thick glasses, and unfortunately shaped nose that must have been broken in the past. He had on a mustard coloured suit that was a size too big, and his hair seemed to have been combed earlier that morning, but the cow lick was now pointing straight up. He apologized for stating Rufus and introduced himself as Reggie, and said, “You might not believe this, but I am here to beg you to not marry your wife.” Rufus shook his head just a titch in disbelief as if he had been smacked in the face with a frying pan, but he did not get up. “How do you know who I am, and who my wife is?” Reggie said, “You know your life? You perfect life? You great grades. Your house with that picket fence. Your beautiful wife. They are all because everything bad that could happen to you, happens to me, instead.” Rufus let his hand fall from his cup. “How do you mean? Happens because of you?” “The world is run on pairs, I have found out. For every good thing that happens, a bad thing happens. God. Satan. Evil. Good. Years ago, after I lost my left eye to biking accident. Remember that? In 1992, you went on a trip to Vancouver Island and fell off your bike and missed that branch on the tree? Well, on that very same day, I was back in Rupert. I fell off my bike riding down the mountain and was not so lucky. After losing one eye I started to read everything, and anything. And came across all these similarities… and well, then I found you. Born the same day in 1974, but you were healthy, and I had to have my legs broken to set them correctly.” Rufus did remember that trip. He was born in the 74. And this was all sounding a little too scary to him. Reggie leaned in, the smell of fried food caught in his clothes. “Please. Please don’t marry River. If you do I fear something horrible will happen my Maude. And I can’t take to losing her just yet. I just can’t. She’s the only thing good in my life.” He looked down, as if to hide tears of shame. “She’s the only good to ever happen to me.” He slid across the table a manilla envelope. “In here is all the Good points in your life that intersected with the Bad points in mine. Read it. You can check the facts, there are numbers.” Reggie stood and bumped a woman who spilled her coffee on him. He winced from the burn. “Please.” In the noise of the restaurant Rufus slid the many page tome out of from the envelope and began to read… The wedding was booked for the next day, but before he made it past the single digits of his life he was wondering if it would happen at all.

James C.