Short Fiction From Flea Market Scripture: "The Scripture According To Lombard"-Full Story
Updated: Feb 19
He walks the same streets he grew up on. He walks them every day.
You wouldn’t think they would hold the interest they do in him, but yet they do, they still do.
Amazing, isn’t it?
He can’t say for sure if it’s the people, the dirty, littered ground, or even the buildings toppling over and crawling with rats, but something within the alleys looks out at him and promises him that he’ll never leave … something sinister but oh so pure at the same time.
He rounds the corner on Guile Street and turns onto Brahms. And it’s as he does, that Lombard comes bounding down from somewhere behind him on his old bike. He knows this because he can hear it squeaking from somewhere behind him, from somewhere where he himself has come from and he doesn’t turn. He simply waits to see Lombard pass him by, like he does every day.
And another thing … he doesn’t actually know his name. In fact he’s never spoken to the man. He just calls him “Lombard” because he reminds him of some character he once saw on TV, some character from some forgotten show when he was just a kid.
So here comes Lombard … squeaking away, and soon it’ll start. Soon, it’ll come.
And like clockwork, it begins almost as soon as Lombard enters his field of peripheral vision.
“REPENT … VILE SINNERS. REPENT UNTO THE LORD THY GOD … THE SAVIOR OF ALL THAT IS GOOD AND HOLY. REPENT YOUR SINS. REPENT! REPENT … VILE SINNERS.”
There it is. Lombard’s scripture.
The same every day.
A feeling comes over him as he watches the man pedal; the task seems as easy for him as taking in that first breath of air when emerging from water, as necessary as it too. He wears tattered jogging pants, the right leg rolled up to the knee, his short sleeve shirt unbuttoned and flapping in the wind like a crisp flag. The nation it represents: Lombard Nation. It surely doesn’t represent this town and its “Vile Sinners” as he so bluntly put it.
Now our good old boy walking the streets, watching Lombard do his thing, isn’t the most faithful of chaps … he doesn’t read the bible or go to church, but something washes over him every day this happens, every time Lombard walks onto the stage that is our main man’s life … and he looks forward to this every day.
Finally Lombard is out of his field of vision, but he can still hear him, but fainter … and fainter … and fainter still.
Still walking and quite tired and thirsty, our main man walks into the corner store and buys himself a can of diet orange soda—the same beverage he enjoys daily—and when he emerges from the store he looks up and down the sunny streets that bred him, that made him who he now is and he pops the can, the sound making his mouth water. He doesn’t drink right away and he lets the feeling of thirst wash over him for a spell, and finally after he’s looked at the liquid, his thirst almost uncontrollable he allows himself to take that drink.
After all, it’s all about control, isn’t it?
He begins walking again, the soda sitting in the palm of his sweaty hand, the wonderful taste of it still in his mouth from his first swallow and he allows himself to think of Lombard.
He doesn’t ask himself the question why Lombard does what he does. In fact he never has. Because deep down, he knows what leads Lombard to bellow like that in the streets, in the streets they share.
After all, those words, that scripture he bellows out into the humid air of the city … they are the contribution, his contribution to this wretched world … his way of making peace for his sins—his way of setting it right before the end.
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(image via www.therustbike.com )