The usual disclaimer - Gary Hobson doesn't belong to me (alas!) and no infringement on copyright is intended. This response to the newbie challenge is just for fun.
Comments welcome at email@example.com
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It's a Beautiful Morning
by Elaine Batterby
Gary Hobson hunched a little deeper into the upturned collar of his jacket as he walked.
"Young man," an old woman scolded, safely in the doorway of a small shop, "where is your umbrella? Do you want to catch your death of cold?"
The tall, dark-haired man hurried by without answering. What would he say to her? "Yeah, lady, I'd love to use an umbrella, but they kinda get in the way when you're rescuing people." He shoved dripping hair out of his face. Maybe he should get a hat.
That morning when tomorrow's newspaper arrived outside his door with its usual thump and meow from the cat, all he had wanted to do was pull the covers over his head and pretend the world didn't exist. He had been out late the night before, stopping a drunken teenager from wrapping his car around a telephone pole, so he deserved a little sleep, didn't he?
Besides, it didn't even look like morning; the sky dumping sheets of rain down on the Windy City was nearly as dark as night.
But the radio beside his bed was chattering cheerfully about what a great day it was going to be ("What does that jerk know about it," Gary groused as he slapped at the offending radio), and the cat was yowling again, so he dragged himself out of bed and opened the door.
Yawning, he had bent to pick up the paper without looking at it. The cat, instead of darting directly into the room as usual, had wound in and out between his legs.
"Yeah, yeah, yeah, can't I at least wake up first?"
The cat had meowed and continued its weaving around his ankles, almost tripping him until he sighed and opened the newspaper to see what might be so urgent.
What he read had sent him flying into his clothes and out of McGinty?s, grabbing a handful of jelly beans on the way in an effort to stop the grumbling of his empty belly. He didn't have much time.
So now he was scurrying through the downpour, grumpy and miserable, wondering why it had to be the early edition of the blasted paper.
Suddenly he snorted at himself in grim amusement. "Cut the pity party, Gar," he told himself. "Next thing you know, they'll be bringing out the teeny-tiny violins to weep for you."
He checked his watch. He should make it in time. He stepped into a doorway, and pulled the paper out of his jacket.
Hobson looked at the article again. This was the right corner; now where was the old guy he was looking for?
Shoving the paper back inside his black leather jacket to keep it dry, he peered down the street. Nobody.
"What are you looking at?" he said to the pink flamingo in the window of the lawn care shop in whose doorway he stood. Water continued to drip off him, and his shoes squelched as he changed position.
At that moment, he heard an odd sound, half cough, half gag. He looked back the way he had come.
There was the old man - he was on.
Maybe after he did the Heimlich maneuver, he would ask the elderly fellow why he was out strolling in the rain at this hour of the morning.
He didn't think he really wanted to know why the old man was eating jellied eel for breakfast....
Email the author: Elaine