The old chap, he stood in the laneway on the other side of the gate
listening to the young girl say ' I'm on an adventure' and his eyes, bright and alight
said Can I, can I? But he couldn't say it. She knew, she reached up
and took his hand, and they slowly walked down the laneway,
the old chap and the young girl. 'Adventure,' said the old chap.
It was an Autumn mid morning, crisp and bright with a clear blue sky, and trees festooned
with magical colours hung over the laneway and dropped a carpet of leaves in yellow, orange, gold and various shades of red.
The smell of bacon and eggs came from behind a fence.
'Yum' said the young girl, 'but we're on an adventure...'
'An adventure', repeated the old chap with a chuckle, 'yes, an adventure.'
Loud voices came from a house.
' And if you think you will ever make an idiot of yourself and a fool of me again...'
'I swear on my mother's grave that I'm off it for good from now on, you'll see... I'm reformed...'
'You are a prime fool, there are times I regret marrying you.'
'Bad boy' said the old chap.
They rounded a corner and a dog barked and tried to leap
the fence. It jumped a number of times scrabbling for a footing, and finally
managed to haul itself over, fall on its back and grogily came to an upright
stance. It made as though to bark.
'Oh my!' said the young girl 'Good boy. And such a good guard dog!'
The old chap had frozen. The dog barked once, half heartedly, then again.
'Such a good boy.'said the young girl. The dog wagged its tail.
'Wife' said the old chap. 'Annie.'
A voice yelled 'Rufus! Rufus! Where's that bloody dog?'
A gate opened.'There you are. Come here you useless mutt.'
Rufus put his tail between his legs and cowered.
'Get your arse back in here. Now!'
'We're on an adventure,' said the young girl.
'Not with my bloody dog. Come here, I won't tell you again.' And he went to
grab the dog collar but the dog bit him.
'Bloody bastard, it's bleeding! It's all your fault!' he yelled at the girl.
And suddenly he dropped to the ground.
The young girl and the old chap peered over him. The dog whimpered and backed away.
'You shouldn't yell at people,' she said.
'Bad boy!' said the old chap.
'Can't move...' replied the man.
'You'll be fine in a while,'she said.
'Adventure' the old chap chuckled. And the three walked on, warmed by the sun before them in the crisp Autumn air, the young girl and the old chap hand in hand again.
'Rufus' said the old chap. And the dog nudged his hand, looked up and smiled, as dogs do.
And the old chap smiled back.
An elderly woman scurried along the laneway and came to the prostrate man.
'Oh dear, oh dear are you well?'
'Oh dear what to do? Have you seen an old man, I've lost my husband?'
'I can't stay here, I must find my husband. I told him not to open the gate...
Not the river, not now, not the river.'
The young girl, the old chap and the dog walked slowly down to the willows
on the banks of the wide river. The still water sparkled its warm welcome
and the dog barked twice in excitement.
'Ah, here we are,' said the young girl, walking towards a boat on the bank under a willow tree.
Between the two of them they managed to ease the boat into the water, leaving the grass flattened at that spot. Once aboard, the current pulled them out and the dancing light lit their eyes and reflected on their faces. The young girl slipped a coin into the water.
'Adventure, Annie.' said the old chap 'Adventure Rufus.' And the dog barked again.