The Retreat

A short story

Article Index

 His name is Ritch. I found this out last night. I cannot remember the exact circumstances but Ruth had a torch in her hands, and it belonged to Ritch.  Obviously he hadn't been named 'jogger pants boy' at birth (and I had suspected that he wouldn't appreciate me calling him that) so I was grateful for this knowledge. I rolled it around in my head for a while, tried it on for size, Ritch, it fitted him perfectly, of course he was Ritch, he could be nothing else!

Anyhow, I had assigned myself the role of returner of the torch. Like I said I cannot remember the circumstance, I must have been driven by my instincts and in hindsight wonder whether I wrestled the item out of Ruth's hands in some kind of desperate act to have good reason to connect with this fascinating individual. No matter, I had the torch.

Wandering outside I had gone to my car, rolled and smoked for a while, watching the sky, lost in thoughts, relaxed and calm.  I almost forgot I had the torch, then I saw him, moving around the red van, he went to the back and opened the doors, seemed to be looking for something, then I remembered I had the torch, he would need the torch for looking on this dark night, and I had it. "Is this yours?" He looked at me a little confused, looked at the torch, then back at me. He confirmed it was and took it. Damn, what to do now?

I went back to my car and sat, fiddled with some stuff, rolled and smoked. Sitting there I looked into the sky and saw a thick black line, involuntary bringing to mind stories of skies polluted by aliens blanketing the earth with controlling chemicals, I jumped up. "What do you think that is?" I asked him pointing. Ritch, this cool interesting bloke, I had asked him to confirm to me that aliens were infecting this beautiful sanctuary with their filth, wanting him to join me in this conspiratorial story. "A cloud" he replied. Duh! Of course it was just a cloud. Could this be the top of the list of things not to say to cool interesting guys when you want to appear cool and interesting? Oh well, at least he had his torch back and I knew his name. Progress, not perfection, I must remember that.

I digress, it’s easy to do that when Ritch walks into the room.