Traffic Cone Guy

Part of a wider selection of micro fiction, this is a short story, chronicling a nugget of my life. Some elements may be fiction, others may be real, but I’ll leave that to your imagination. Enjoy.

Returning home in Adelaide after a night at the pub, I was taking the route via Glover Avenue. Back then I lived in Torrensville. I’d only been in Australia for a few weeks, and was renting a room in the suburbs.

It was late, and I had a long walk back, but I didn’t mind. At that point I was still looking for work, so there was no necessity to get an early night.

As I trudged home, I became aware of a man walking alongside me, just on the periphery of my vision. I turned to look at him, to find a traffic cone being offered towards me.

‘Sorry mate,’ he said. ‘Could you hold this for me?’

I think I said something like ‘No thanks mate, I’m fine.’

Downcast, he withdrew the traffic cone but continued to carry it.

‘I shouldn’t be out, because I’m under curfew,’ he said.

I nodded as politely as I could to acknowledge him. Something of his statement had the feel of ‘I’ve been a bad man.’

Honestly, I wondered where this conversation was heading.

‘I’ve got to be back home before ten,’ he said, ‘Otherwise my head will turn into a pumpkin.’

Ruminating on this comment later, I am sure he was trying to say something about probation, but I’ll never really be sure.

My pace increasing, I had decided the bounds of polite acknowledgement had been reached. Time to move on.

As I hurried on, he spoke up one more time.

‘You’re walking too fast,’ he said.

Guess what brainiac, I thought, there might be a reason for that.

Once I thought it was safe to do so I looked back. About one hundred metres away, he left the cone on the pavement, before walking off into the darkness of some nearby undergrowth.

My journey home continued in peace.

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