“I will tell you a story for a dollar,” the man said. His voice rang deep and penetrated the noise of the street. Turning to each side to see if people watched she saw nobody paid them any attention. She took another step and looked at the table in front of her. The man held a tablet computer and watched her. Removing a crumpled dollar from her pocket, she placed it on the table. The man put the tablet down and grasped the dollar, shoving it in his pocket in one motion.
“What story do you wish to hear?” he asked. Shifting her weight from one foot to the other, rolling the arch of her foot upon the sidewalk, she considered his question.
“Tell me how you came to be here.” she asked.
The man frowned and tapped the screen of his computer for a few moments. He sighed and continued tapping on his tablet, but glanced up at her, his brown eyes once again on hers.
“I do not wish to tell that story. I can tell you many others, stories of war, love, adventure, but not about myself; that story wouldn’t interest you. Perhaps I can tell you a story about dragons?”
“No!” she exclaimed. “I’ve had enough with dragons. I want to hear your story. I paid my dollar and I want to hear!”
The man stared at her, incredulous, a hand stroking his beard.
“Let me see,” he said, tapping again at the screen.
“The story is on your IPAD?” she asked.
“No, no,” he laughed, turning off the tablet. “Checking the market. Sorry to keep you waiting. I will give you a story.”
He pointed to a plastic folding chair at the end of the booth and indicated she take a seat. The plastic felt hot against her skin as she sat, keeping her eyes trained the man. After she crossed her legs, she nodded for him to begin.
“There was a dragon in love with a princess,” he began. She stamped her foot in indignation and glared at him in anger. “I’m just kidding.”
I spent my youth amid the splendor of wealth, but safe to say, I did not please my father with the choices I made from such an early time in my life that by my 18th birthday he made it fact that I couldn’t take possession of the money set out for me until such time that I was married and stayed married. Those are the basic facts. I told my father that I wanted to marry for love, not for his money. I vowed to spurn his money and his judgments of me and moved from the luxury of home to picturesque Warwick.
“Excuse me,” the girl cut in quickly. “You’re from Warwick?”
“Why, have you been there?”
She looked at him, as if trapped in thought, but otherwise didn’t respond to him. The man shrugged and continued.