Buster’s Broken Umbrella

person walking in rain, black umbrella
Brian Hogan

WRITING PROMPT: Write a scene where a character confronts one of your worst fears.

THE FEAR: I chose the fear of not amounting to anything.

The rain wouldn’t stop pouring down that day. Buster, a 37 year old bus driver just finished his route and was walking home. The umbrella caved under the weight of the rain and soaked Buster to the bones. He pulled his now drenched and useless jacket tighter around his shivering torso.  

The weather report didn’t say rain, so what the hail was this, Buster thought to himself. Just then the rain turned to snow and the steam rising from the road vanished as the soft coating of cold white fluff enveloped the landscape, quieting everything. Including, for the briefest of moments, Buster’s tormented mind.  

In that moment Buster realized he had lived his whole life in the same haphazard way that the weather was now living its life. Ever-changing, reasonless, and most certainly unpredictable. He had been trying to forecast his future since he could climb out of the crib and like every expert meteorologist he got it wrong almost every time.  No offense to the weather men, but you can’t contain the unpredictable and your entire job flies in the face of the natural order of things. Just sayin’.  That said, it is nice to know, generally speaking, if one should bring their decrepit umbrella that day. 

Back to Buster who took refuge under the awning of a local pawn shop. The place where unwanted trash goes to die, he thought, like all his dreams and machinations and goals and hopes. They had all been pawned off, just sitting on a shelf next to a bowling ball with a monogram that doesn’t match anyone anymore and a record player from the Pleistocene era.  

As Buster stood there the snow turned into a forceful wind and hail. Just as gusty as his tornado mind.  And the pawnshop suddenly closed. The owner emerged, with a melancholy about him, and when Buster asked what was wrong he said the shop was going out of business. Sure, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, but sometimes those treasures stay buried on pawnshop shelves that close up, permanently.

Buster peered into the dark and closed pawnshop for a long moment even as he was being softly pelted by tiny ice balls that nobody saw coming but most certainly are here. A glint caught his eye.

He noticed on the far wall a small object that was definitely treasure to him. It was obscured by a bendy desk lamp and a cigar box, but it was unmistakable. It was what he had been looking for his whole life.  

Suddenly the sun broke through the clouds, and the wind became a breeze, more like a breath. The hail melted as it fell into rain that became clear blue skies even as Buster realized something. 

He already amounted to something. 

The weather might be unpredictable and pawnshops might be junk magnets, but if you look hard enough, if you take shelter when you need to, you may realize that something shiny and only for you is nestled behind the hurricanes and bowling balls, and it will be there for you even when everything else goes so completely bankrupt.  

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About Brian

About Brian

Brian is a Writer, Clarity Coach, Filmmaker and Adjunct Professor who loves teaching and learning, and living in the uncertainty of it all.

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