Stan’s Park

This is a work of fiction. A short story of 1500 words.

Stan switched off the TV after the weather forecast. Set fair for tomorrow, which was good news to him. That meant a day at the park, the one thing he liked best. Living in a tiny flat with no outdoor space might have seemed awful to many people, but the park was just across the road, and offered so much more than any garden ever could have.

He had played in that same park as a youngster.
He had watched out for the grumpy park-keeper, always telling them off for something.
Walked hand in hand there with Valerie, when they were courting.
Sailed toy boats with Tim on the lake.
Pushed Emma in the swings, and spun her on the roundabout.
Family picnics on hot days, buying ice-creams from the van in the car park.
Years later, he had walked Bonnie there, always careful to keep her on a lead.

But it had changed since his schooldays.
No more park keepers, just an occasional van patrol.
And Valerie had been gone almost eleven years now.
Tim had been lost in the Falklands. His photo and medal displayed on the wall.
Emma was in Australia, with the two grandchildren he had never seen, except in photos.
Nobody had real picnics anymore; just fast food, wrappers discarded on the grass.
Bonnie was no more either, and Stan hadn’t the heart for another dog.
The house had gone next. Too big for one now, and it gave him some savings.

Winters were long and dull. Park benches too wet to sit on, and nobody to watch as he sat in his usual spot. Summer was Stan’s time. He could move around the large space; watch the football games, the kids splashing in the lake, and the older ones on the tennis courts, inspired by Wimbledon on the telly. Teenagers cuddling on blankets, loners sitting reading, joggers and serious runners pounding past, toddlers trying to learn to ride bikes with stabilisers. The whole world was there for the watching.

If he had some old bread, he would wander over to feed the ducks. On a good day, a brave squirrel might take nuts from his hand. The pigeons always fluttered around when he ate his sandwich. They had got used to him at the same spot, and seemed to sense his arrival, as he reached into the old duffel bag for his lunch. The park closed at dusk, so that varied throughout the year. Not long ago, Stan would have been there until closing, spotting the van arrive, with the man getting ready to padlock the gates. But he couldn’t stay so long now, not since they closed the toilets. Local gossip was that men used them to fiddle with each other. But Stan used them all the time for calls of nature, and he had never seen anyone fiddling with anyone else in them. So now when he needed to go, he had to go home.

He was up early, pleased that the sun was out, and the sky blue. Some time was spent on polishing his shoes. His old Dad always told him that clean shoes were the mark of a man, and Stan had never forgotten that. It took a while to adjust his hearing-aid. No point going out if he couldn’t hear anything. After making his sandwich, and pouring some tea in his flask, he put the things in his bag, and checked himself in the hallway mirror. Tie done up, trousers pressed, and hair combed. He was ready to face the world.

Walking through the distinctive iron gates, he felt right at home, ready to spend another day in his park. He always thought of it as his park, and the others that used it were just passing through, as far as he was concerned. Making his way through the rose garden, he stopped to admire some blooms. The soil looked dry, and Stan thought they could do with a good watering. His first stop was a good bench on the main path. This gave him views over at least a third of the park, and was close enough to some trees to get the shade too. Despite the weather, there were not many people around. But he would bide his time. It was the school holidays after all, so Mums would soon be out with their kids, and the ice cream van would be as busy as ever.

He sat for a long time, thinking about Valerie, and those grandchildren he might never see. But when nobody appeared nearby, he moved over to the fenced-off sports area. He would have his lunch on the bench nearby, see if anyone was playing football or basketball in there. Halfway through his sandwich, some older kids arrived, and went through the gate to play basketball. Stan had never played basketball. In his day, it had been football and cricket. But he had seen it on telly, The Harlem Globetrotters. These boys and girls were good, especially one tall girl. She seemed to float across the tarmac, and never missed the basket. He put his sandwich down to clap her fourth success, but they didn’t look round. Didn’t even seem to notice he was there.

Lunch over, and tea finished, Stan moved again. A long wander down to the play area, where there were sure to be people around the sandpit. It was different to when he had played in the sand there. Now there were things to climb on placed on the sand, and nobody seemed to bring buckets or shovels anymore. He wondered why they bothered to even have sand in it, other than to break the falls of the kids. The Mums didn’t bother to show them how to build sand castles, or half-bury them in the sand, like his Mum used to. They sat on the concrete wall surrounding it instead, mostly looking at their phones, or gossiping as they smoked cigarettes. They weren’t supposed to smoke there, but there was no park keeper to tell them off anymore.

After an hour or so near the sandpit, Stan needed to pee. He thought he had better get started for home, knowing exactly how long it would take him to walk from there to his flat. He had never had an accident yet, and he wasn’t about to start now. It was the water tablets of course. The tea went through him a lot faster these days. He retraced his steps past the ball court, and turned right onto the main path. He could see the gate in the distance, so was sure it would be fine. Before he got to the gate, Stan was surprised to be stopped by some men in uniform. He respected uniforms and authority, so stood still, when asked to do so.

One of them identified himself as a police officer. “I am constable Warren, Sir, and I need to ask you some questions. This is the park warden, and he is concerned about your behaviour”. Stan was confused. Why was he being stopped? And why was a policeman here? The policeman continued, “Can I take your name and address please, Sir?” Stanley was a law-abiding citizen, and replied immediately.
“Stanley McFarland, 116, Park View.” The officer wrote the details on his notebook, then asked with a stern look. “Do you know why I am stopping you, Stanley” Stan was still confused.”No I don’t officer, and I have to tell you, I need to pee. My flat’s just there, opposite the pedestrian crossing. I really need to go”. The officer ignored his reply, and continued. “Stanley, you have been seen watching teenagers at the basketball court. Then you went to watch small children playing at the sandpit. Does that sound about right?” His tone was unmistakable, slightly aggressive, and no-nonsense.

Stanley shrugged. “I am here every day, officer. I just sit in the park, and watch what goes on. It gives me something to do.” The park warden smiled, and turned to the officer. “See, I told you, most days, without fail. Watching the little ones, and staring.” Officer Warren turned back to Stan. “Look, if I were you, Stanley, I would find something else to occupy my time, OK?” We don’t need any old men walking around watching small kids and teenagers, do we?” The park warden leered at Stan. “Leave them alone, old man. We don’t need people like you in this park, do we?” Officer Warren was kinder. “Look, on your way now. Find somewhere else to hang around, and don’t let me get called back to you in future, alright?”

As Stan nodded, he felt the flow of the warm urine enter his underwear, soaking into his trousers. The park warden chuckled, “If I was you, I would change my trousers when I got in, old man”. As Stan pressed the button of the pedestrian crossing, he could no longer control the tears that flowed freely down his cheeks.

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An A-Z of Actors: B

Just a reminder to add your own choices in the comments. Don’t forget, surnames beginning with ‘B’, not first names. I have tried to feature some lesser-known names, and leave lots of scope for your own favourites.

I am starting with one of my favourite actresses. She is from the Silent Film era, so may not be that well known. However, few actresses have ever held me so spellbound to watch on screen, or ever had such a wonderful hairstyle. Louise Brooks was an American, but best known for a short career in European cinema, specifically in Germany between the wars. She also retired from acting in 1938, though she was only 32 years old at the time. Famous for three starring roles, she captivated as Lulu, in ‘Pandora’s Box’ (1929), going on to roles in ‘Diary Of A Lost Girl’ (1929), and ‘Miss Europe’ (1930). Though she later returned to America and made more films, she was never well-received at home, and ended up dancing for a living, after going bankrupt. For the time, she was considered to be outrageous. Openly bisexual, and not afraid to pose for photos that were considered to border on pornography. She died in 1985, but remains an icon of style, loved by many.

British actress Kathy Burke has managed to prove that you don’t have to be a ‘glamour girl’ to have a successful career. With a long list of TV credits to her name, as well as stage and film appearances, she has also branched out into direction, and has most recently directed a revival of ‘Lady Windermere’s Fan’ on the London stage. If you don’t recognise her name, you may have seen her in ‘Elizabeth’ (1998) playing the dying Queen Mary with great conviction. She was also cast as Connie the former spy, in ‘Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy’ (2011). But without doubt, her greatest work was as the abused wife in ‘Nil By Mouth’ (1997). Directed by Gary Oldman, she stars alongside Ray Winstone in a powerful and critically-acclaimed film that won numerous awards, including Best Actress for her, at the Cannes Film Festival. Still only 53, we can expect much more from this talented lady.

Australian actor Bryan Brown is one of those faces that tended to pop up in any Australian film for a while. But he managed to expand his career outside of that country, and is still very active today, at the age of 70. Very much the ‘leading man’ figure, he actually began his acting in London, performing at The Old Vic in the 1960s, before returning to his home country. I first noticed him in the Australian Vietnam War film ‘The Odd Angry Shot’ (1979), and a year later, he achieved some fame with his role in ‘Breaker Morant’ (1980), a true story set during the Boer War. He then transferred to television with the mini-series ‘The Thorn Birds’, and ‘A Town Like Alice’. Now noticed in America, he starred in ‘FX Murder By illusion’ in 1986, then in ‘Gorillas In The Mist’ two years later. One of his best known roles is alongside Tom Cruise, as a bartender in ‘Cocktail’ (1998). He has been in numerous films since, and recently supplied the voice for Mr Rabbit in ‘Peter Rabbit’ (2018).

Another Australian, Eric Bana seemed to appear out of nowhere in 2000, with the crime thriller ‘Chopper’ gaining him instant recognition. But he had worked hard in his native country before that, with over ten years of constant parts on television, and in films. In 2001, he was cast in ‘Black Hawk Down’. Star status followed, and he was soon on the screens in ‘Hulk’ (2003), followed by ‘Troy’ (2004) where he played one of the leads, Prince Hector. His role in ‘Munich’ (2005) showed more nuance, and he also delivered a convincing Henry VIII, in ‘The Other Boleyn Girl’ (2008). Since then, he has made fourteen more films, and he is not yet fifty years old. I have always thought he was one role away from gaining real acknowledgement, and has a lot more to give.

My last choice today is someone I mentioned recently, in a review of the film ‘Taras Bulba’. Yul Brynner was a true Hollywood star, and someone I grew up watching at the cinema. His distinctive look meant that he would always be noticed, and he worked in many film genres too. Perhaps best known for having a shaved head at a time when it was unusual, it is perhaps too easy to forget what a consummate actor he was. Born in the far east of Russia, in 1920, he was taken to Paris by his mother, in 1932. During his time there, he played guitar, sang songs, and worked as an acrobat in the circus. The family emigrated to America in 1940, and the following year, Yul was on the Broadway stage, in small roles. His breakout part was as the King of Siam, in ‘The King And I’, which he famously also played on film in the 1956 Hollywood version. Other film credits are well known, but I will list some, to highlight his career. ‘The Ten Commandments’ (1956), ‘The Magnificent Seven’ (1960), ‘Cast A Giant Shadow’ (1965), ‘Villa Rides’ (1968), and ‘Westworld’ (1970).
He died in 1985, leaving behind an unusual legacy in addition to his acting. As a heavy smoker, he suffered from lung cancer. Shortly before his death, he made a powerful commercial for the anti-smoking lobby which was shown just after he died. It is credited with helping to change the laws on the availability of cigarettes, and public smoking.

The three-day summer

After a long winter, it turned warm here yesterday. Very warm in fact. The shorts were on, and walking Ollie over at Beetley Common, he was soon feeling the heat. Searching out a muddy pool of rainwater that had yet to dry out, he plunged in for a drink, and a cool down.

I could feel it too of course. The change in temperatures was dramatic, to say the least. We had gone from 13 C one day, to 24 C the next. Flies were active, bees were buzzing everywhere, and flowers had appeared overnight, all encouraged by the warmth. It seemed that the grass on our back lawn had grown by at least three inches in one day too. It was like living in a time-lapse sequence, where I could imagine watching everything bursting into life before my eyes.

Today is even warmer. Following a balmy night, I woke up to bright sunshine, and a warm day that is set to rise as high as 27 C. Watching the weather reports, they cheerily predict that Friday will be even hotter. Reporters on TV have shed their jackets, and everyone is talking about the arrival of one of the warmest spring periods in decades. But if you listen carefully to the weather report, and don’t get too excited, you will hear that it is predicted to cool down again on Saturday. Gradually creeping back down to a seasonal norm, with a very good chance of heavy rain and storms.

But I’m not complaining.

The three-day summer of 2018 was good while it lasted.

An A-Z of Actors: A

For this new alphabet series, I am looking at actors; male and female, British and foreign, stage or screen. I will be listing some that I like very much, and reasons why I think they are worth including. Please add your own choices in the comments, and feel free to disagree with any of mine.
Remember though, it is the surname beginning with the letter, not the first name. As usual, I will mainly try to avoid the obvious choices, and leave lots for you to consider.

I am starting with an American actor who doesn’t usually get mentioned that often, and shares the same surname as his less-talented older brother. I first noticed Casey Affleck in his Oscar-nominated role as Robert Ford, in the lengthily-titled ‘The Assassination of Jesse James by The Coward Robert Ford’, in 2007. I thought he brought some real talent to the screen in a villainous role, and acted Brad Pitt right off it in the process. Before that film, he had already been in no less than twenty others, few of which I have seen. After ‘Jesse James’, he starred in ‘Gone baby Gone’ (2007), a film directed by his brother, Ben. Then he delivered a chilling performance as a serial killer, in ‘The Killer Inside Me’ (2010), before going on to win the Golden Globe and Best Actor Oscar for ‘Manchester By The Sea’ in 2016. (A film I have yet to watch.)

British actress Dame Eileen Atkins is unfortunate to have often been overshadowed by Judi Dench, and Helen Mirren. But her acting talent is at the very least on a par with both of those, and often superior, in my opinion. As well as an illustrious stage career, she has appeared in many films, with memorable appearances in ‘Gosford Park’ (2001), ‘Cold Mountain’ (2003), and ‘Cold Comfort Farm'( 1995), among many others. She is now 83 years old, and has been acting since 1957, winning numerous awards along the way. Still very active, her recent performances include playing Queen Mary, in the mini-series ‘The Crown’ (2016).

French actress Isabelle Adjani has had a stellar career since the early 1970s. She has won many acting awards and accolades, as well enjoying great critical acclaim. I first saw her in 1975, when she played the daughter of Victor Hugo, in Truffaut’s ‘The Story of Adele H’. She has worked with some of the great modern directors, including Polanski in ‘The Tenant’ (1976), Walter Hill in his American crime drama ‘The Driver’ (1978), and Werner Herzog’s ‘Nosferatu The Vampyre’ (1979). Perhaps her crowning glory was as Queen Margot, in the historical drama ‘La Reine Margot’ (1994). Since then, she has appeared in at least seventeen more films, usually in a starring role. She continues to work regularly, at the age of 62.

American actor Alan Arkin (Double-A!) has had a career almost as long as my life. He was in his first film in 1957, and is still working today at the age of 84, with films due to be released in 2019. As well as films, he has also had success in television, and few actors alive today can boast such a list of credits to their name. I have to go back to 1964, when I first noticed him in ‘The Russians Are Coming’, then saw his outstanding performance in ‘The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter’ (1968). In 1970, he was highly acclaimed for his starring role as Yosserian, in ‘Catch 22’, and went on to appear in over fifty more films, including the wonderful ‘Glengarry Glen Ross’ in 1992.

My last choice today is actually very well known, and British. Sir Richard Attenborough died in 2014, at the age of 90. He left behind an amazing legacy of a career as an actor and director that lasted for almost seventy years. His list of credits is far too long to go into here, but it is worth remembering him as the villainous ‘Pinky’, in ‘Brighton Rock’ (1947), as well as the owner of one of the ‘small ships’ in ‘Dunkirk’. (1958) Other memorable films in which he starred include ‘The Great Escape’ (1963) and ‘The Sand Pebbles’. (1966). He delivered a chilling performance as the real-life serial killer John Christie, in ’10 Rillington Place’ (1971), and went on to be discovered by a new audience in the ‘Jurassic Park’ films. As a director, he made epics like ‘A Bridge Too Far’ (1977), ‘Young Winston’ (1972), and won an Oscar for ‘Gandhi’, in 1982. A true legend of British cinema.

Blogger’s Books: Ed Westen

I am very pleased to announce that one of my blogging friends, Ed Westen, has published a book on Amazon. It is currently available at the bargain price of 99 p for the Kindle edition, too good to miss. A detective procedural novel, enlivened by the addition of memorable characters, all of whom are regulars in what will be a long-running series.

Ed is a retired teaching professor, and an accomplished blogger and writer. He lives in America’s Pacific North-West, close to Mount St Helen’s. For some years now, we have been great pen-pals, and I had the honour to proof read his latest work, ‘Buried In The Park’. If you enjoy a short character-driven murder mystery, with some delicious twists and turns, you can do no better than to buy this book.

Ed blogs daily at this site, https://deartedandjody.wordpress.com/blog/ and also occasionally about finance and fiscal theories here. https://democratizemoney.wordpress.com/

His book is available worldwide from Amazon, and here are some buying links. (America)

(UK)

Please check out his great blogs, and also his entertaining new book. If the links don’t work for you, please search under T. Edward Westen on Amazon.

Blogging: Likes and comments

I am a lucky blogger indeed. Most posts I publish get lots of Likes, and quite a few comments too. Over the years, I have managed to become part of a supportive and loyal blogging community. One where people always make sure to actually read the posts of those that they follow, and generally leave relevant and welcome comments too.

But one thing has continued to interest me, and that is the amount of people who never leave a comment, not once. I can understand that some followers and readers feel a post may not require a comment. Others might think they have nothing to add to comments already displayed, or be reluctant to add their own blogging name or details to a public post. In some cases, foreign readers may be limited by language, or some just by embarrassment.

This post is by way of an appeal to the many people who have always added a ‘Like’ to my posts over the years, but have never left a comment. Please leave one. Let me know what you think. Get involved in the discussion, and be part of the ever-growing community. It isn’t compulsory of course, but I just feel that you are missing out on the interaction and communication that makes blogging so rewarding. If you are at all concerned about language or grammar, I will happily edit the comment for you, just let me know. My email address is on my ‘About’ page.

If you decide that it is still not for you, then my thanks and appreciation for reading the posts and leaving a Like is undiminished. But why not give it a try?

Best wishes to everyone. Pete.

Guest Post: Third Floor Bingo

I am delighted to post this fictional story from David Miller. David is a published author, song lyricist, compiler of limericks, and an accomplished blogger. He lives in Nevada USA, close to Las Vegas, and is currently working on some new novels. You can see more of his work on this blog,  https://millerswindmill.wordpress.com/ and his books are available on Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/Pope-Dole-Mr-David-Miller/dp/1490324593

THIRD FLOOR BINGO

Narrative:
Some years ago–I don’t remember exactly when–I got bored one afternoon, and so I called for a cab, and told the driver to please take me down to the local casino. You know, I thought I’d play me some bingo. I hadn’t played for a while. Maybe a good long while…
Anyway, once I got inside the casino, I looked around, and all I could see was playing tables, slot machines, a cashier’s cage, a buffet, and a bar. Everyone was busy, so I figured I’d ask a cocktail waitress for directions. I can’t picture her anymore, but I’ll bet you my bottom dollar that she was young and pretty.
“Young lady,” I said. “I’m looking for the bingo.”
She smiled–at least I think she did–and said, “Oh, it’s up on the third floor. Just take the elevator over there.”

Choir:
Third floor bingo, wah-o-o!
Third floor bingo, wah-o-o!
Third floor bingo, wah-o-o!
The bingo is on the third floor
The bingo is on the third floor
Third floor…

Narrative:
So, I thanked the waitress with a tip of the hat, and made a beeline for the elevator. Because there’s only one, you see. And it kept me waiting there for quite a while. When it finally did arrive, I stepped in, and took a look at the buttons. My stars, there must have been a dozen of them! And darn if I couldn’t remember which one to press! So I just pressed them all. When I got to the second floor, the door opened, and a couple of out-of-towners with a funny kind of accent jumped right in.
“I’m sorry to bother you, folks. But I’m looking for the bingo parlor. I don’t suppose you’d happen to know which floor it’s on…?”
“See that little sign up there? Bingo. Third Floor.”

Choir:
Third floor bingo, wah-o-o!
Third floor bingo, wah-o-o!
Third floor bingo, wah-o-o!
The bingo is on the third floor
The bingo is on the third floor
Third floor…

Narrative:
You know, those funny-talking folks were really nice because they made sure I got off on the third floor. And there it was, right across the hall–the bingo parlor! I walked through the big glass door, picked up a bingo card–they didn’t have all those fancy electronics back then–and I sat myself down at a table. There weren’t but a few people playing. But one of them grabbed me by the gut: a genuine pearl of a woman in a blue chiffon dress. She looked to be a little younger than me. And she was playing all by herself. So I upped and went over to introduce myself. That’s when I found out her name was Mabel.
“Mabel, would you like to have some company?”
“Oh, that’s so very sweet of you. But I’m expecting Mr. Sanchez at four o’clock.”
Or maybe she said five o’clock. I’m not sure. What’s important is that she was expecting him pretty soon. So I asked her who this Mr. Sanchez was, and she said they’d met a few years back, that they’d been keeping a correspondence through the post. After all that time, Mr. Sanchez had finally decided to come visit her, and maybe take her out on a date.
“And what if he don’t show up?”
She smiled–I do remember that smile! And she said, “Well, if he doesn’t present himself by four thirty, I’d be most happy to have you come join me.” She gave him half an hour past the appointed time to make good on his promise. So I prayed in my heart that he wouldn’t show up at four thirty–or five thirty, whichever it was.
“Mabel,” I said, “this suitor of yours might not be as punctual as you’d like. After all, it’s a big casino!”
But Mabel shook her head. “Don’t be silly! I told him I’d be right here on the third floor, playing bingo….”

Choir:
Third floor bingo, wah-o-o!
Third floor bingo, wah-o-o!
Third floor bingo, wah-o-o!
The bingo is on the third floor
The bingo is on the third floor
Third floor…

Narrative:
Well, that did it! I had to make a move, you see. So I asked her straight out, “If he don’t make it on time, would you be agreeable to go out with me on a date?”
She laughed–I do remember that laugh. And she said, “I suppose there would be no harm in that. Do you have a car?”
“You know how it is, Mabel,” I said. “We’ve got two cabs for every resident in town. Who needs a car anymore?”
And here, I’ve got to give Mabel some credit. Instead of calling me out for fibbing, which I’d done out of shame, she hatched a little grin, and–for just a moment, mind you!–she rested her hand on mine. Well, that hand was like a warm iron on my soul. It smoothed out the wrinkles, and I didn’t feel ashamed anymore.
You see, in my younger days, I used to tear up the county roads. Why, I even played chicken once, and kept a steady hand on the wheel while the other car ran off in the ditch! …But the time came when I had to give up the wheel. I don’t recall when I stopped driving–not exactly. But that ain’t important to the story.
Oh, and just so you know. Mabel didn’t have a car either.
Anyway, I went back to my table. And I played my cards, but I couldn’t get a winning pattern–or maybe they were playing blackout? Whatever it was, a few minutes before Mr. Sanchez was supposed to arrive, I got up and went over to Mabel, and told her I was going down to the bar for a drink, and that I’d be back soon, so don’t you worry about me. The truth is that I had to pay a visit to the men’s room. But I was coming back alright. I was curious to see what kind of fellow this Mr. Sanchez was.
So I got back on the elevator. And, to be on the safe side, I took note of what floor I was on before taking the elevator down.

Choir:
Third floor bingo, wah-o-o!
Third floor bingo, wah-o-o!
Third floor bingo, wah-o-o!
The bingo is on the third floor
The bingo is on the third floor
Third floor…

Narrative:
It seemed to me that the noise in the casino had gone up a notch or two. Maybe it had, or maybe I could just hear better because it was my spirit that was up. To be honest, I didn’t give it much thought because I had some urgent business to take care of.
On my way to the restroom, I played chicken with the change cart that was making its rounds. I nearly wet my pants, but I felt good afterwards because the change attendant avoided me by making a quick turn off the main aisle. Me, I just smiled and kept on going!
Now, I should probably mention that I didn’t need any help finding the men’s room. It’s pretty well marked, so you can’t hardly miss it. Anyway, I milked myself as dry as I could, and when I came out of there, I ran smack into that cocktail waitress again. And I realized that I’d somehow forgotten which floor the bingo was on.
“Young lady, just where is that bingo parlor, anyway?”
She must have thought I’d been looking for it all that time! Because she went to giggling, and nearly tipped over the drinks on her tray! Leastways, that’s how I remember it.…
“You see that elevator over there? You can take it to the third floor. The bingo is on the third floor.”

Choir:
Third floor bingo, wah-o-o!
Third floor bingo, wah-o-o!
Third floor bingo, wah-o-o!
The bingo is on the third floor
The bingo is on the third floor
Third floor…

Narrative:
Naturally, I directed my attention at the elevator. And what did I see? There was a curious gentleman standing there. He was wearing a white suit with a black western tie. And I knew right away that it must be Mr. Sanchez. My memory ain’t so good anymore, and, if truth be told, it wasn’t all that sharp back then either, but I’ve always had a keen sense of people.
So I excused myself from the waitress, and beat a path to the elevator.
I was so sure of myself that I walked right up to the gentleman in white, and I said to him, “Good day, señor! What brings you to these parts?”
Well, he was a friendly kind of fellow, and we began to talk. And, by golly, I was right. He was Mr. Sanchez, come to take Mabel out on a date. The elevator was busy as usual, but, of course, what goes up must come down. When it did, the arrow lit up with a ding, and Mr. Sanchez noticed, but I kept him talking, and we didn’t get on.
“I reckon you’re on your way up to Mabel’s room?” I asked him finally.
“No, sir…. She asked me to meet her in the bingo room on the third floor.”
“Now isn’t that odd? The bingo closed at three.” Or maybe I said four.

Choir:
No more bingo, wah-o-o!
No more bingo, wah-o-o!
No more bingo, wah-o-o!
The bingo has just closed the door
The bingo has just closed the door
No more…

Narrative:
Well, by this time, Mr. Sanchez had come to trust me. And so he just nodded, shook my hand, and walked away–at least that’s how I remember it. I stood around a bit, waiting for the next ride up. The elevator was in no particular hurry, of course. By the time I got on, and looked at all those buttons again, I have to admit that my mind drew a blank. But then I noticed the sign: Bingo. Third Floor. So then I knew which button to press.
As you might have guessed, I found Mabel right where I’d left her. I waved at her as I passed through the big glass door. And so as not to give a hint as to what I’d done, I sat down at my old table, and I waited….
And when the clock ticked past the thirty, I went over to Mabel, and took a seat beside her. We played a few games, and shared a laugh or two. And she didn’t seem to mind that Mr. Sanchez had failed to turn up. So I reminded her that she’d agreed to go out with me on a date. And she gave me a gentle pat on the cheek.
Some things you never forget!

Narrative:
So that’s the story. We never got married. But we ended up living together here at the home. Mabel got to feeling feeble after a while, so they put her in a wheelchair. And after my fall, I was given a walker. Believe me, it ain’t much fun getting old! But the nurses here take good care of people, and they set up the bingo tables every Friday night. Mabel and I never missed a game! That is, until she passed away.… She passed away on a…Tuesday? It don’t matter. She’s gone now. And on Friday, when the nurse comes by to ask me if I’m up for a game of bingo, I always say no. My heart just ain’t in it anymore.

Choir:
No more bingo, wah-o-o!
No more bingo, wah-o-o!
No more bingo, wah-o-o!
I won’t play that game anymore
I won’t play that game anymore
No more.

© David E. Miller (4/15/18)