Picture Window

A child cries. Se doesn’t want to go to church.

A dog barks. He wants to chase the motorcycle.

A car horn sounds. The driver is tooting “hello!”

The picture window is the perfect place from which to see it all, and it’s been this way for the last hundred years. The glass is so old that it’s starting to ripple like a primordial, frozen flow of honey. The view is sweet like honey too!

A finely dressed lady walks past. She wants to be seen.

A pigeon performs for his prospective mate. He dances wondrously.

A bald man drives by in a convertible. He hopes to attract a finely dressed lady.

The beauty on show through the honey-window is perennial. It’s a pretty little town, and it’s on display for the owner of the old hotel. He sits behind his picture window and absorbs it all, sucking on a pipe or simply twiddling his thumbs. He must be as old as the hotel itself.

Few have ever seen the man. Some say he’s a sour-faced hermit. Some say he’s Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. Does anybody really believe that there’s a famous 120-year-old author and pilot living in an old hotel writing short stories?

Of course they do, because in a tiny town everyone knows everything.

Every week there’s a magazine stand that sits out the front of the hotel. By the end of the first day all the copies are gone. “The Little Hotel Press” puts out a little pamphlet of stories and the townspeople gobble it up. “The Girl Who Cried” and “The Dog That Barked” were hot topics this week.

The old man can hear the bustle on the street below when his assistant puts the pamphlets out. He’s decided that as long as his stories bring happiness, he’ll keep writing them, even if it means he lives for two centuries

T.

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