The air was warm and damp. The clock was two minutes to striking midnight. All was quiet in the small town besides the rhythmic shuffle of James Brock. Once a bull master; he now tended to horses on the Rocking Galloper ranch that almost took his life a decade past.
Under the pale moonlight, the vast deserted flat terrain shrouded him in a fine calmness which was a bonus, when he emptied his mind from all the stress and synced with the good energy that emanated from the humongous Universe high above. He loved moments like this. He usually let the powers that be to guide him home. Although, tonight something didn’t seem right. There was a shadow perked up in the middle of the road. About eight hundred yards away ahead of him.
A soft roar that ended with a groan. James recognized the confused bellow of a brown bear. The beast didn’t seem hungry but James figured that it wouldn’t say no to harassing him just for the kicks.
Hope was not lost. The same good energy was pulling James through an alternative way. The old cemetery where his parents were buried. After all, if the beast gave chase, common sense would dictate that it would be unable to climb the iron gates.
As James is shuffling in a rush inside the holy cemetery gates, he hears a faint voice. “Hey man! Why do you shuffle for no reason?”
The poor guy feels very spooked to atrocity. “Be… beca… because I’m damned,” said James with a quivering voice.
“No you don’t!” The voice sounded like it emanated from the underground. In a graveyard, that would mean from the nearest plot.
“But I am…,” whimpered James.
“Go home. Check yourself in the mirror. Enjoy the rest of your life in peace”.
Suddenly after a short test, James realized that the shuffle was gone and to make things better, he was able to walk faster. He even broke through a power walk.
“Thank you, good man of the afterworld!!!” He couldn’t thank the man enough for that miracle.
All the way home James thought about many different ways on how to pass the good deed to someone else. He remembered that his fellow foreman Tim, at the Rocking Galloper ranch had a slight hunch. He decided to phone him immediately and tell him about the good deed that happened to him. James pushed his front door open and picked up the phone. Then he explained to Tim what happened and exactly where to stop once inside the cemetery.
It was just past midnight as Tim Collins was betting with himself as which side of his hunching body would give him sweet dreams tonight. As sweet and welcoming his bed seemed to be, he was looking for a thrill. Something menacing to trash his sleep for once.
Suddenly the phone shrilled its’ outdated bell. The device had been hanging on that wall for more decades than Tim had been roaming this earth. He lifted the handset reluctantly. After all, his wish for a thrill seemed to have received an answer. Without the faintest chance to throw an hello, Tim’s ear was getting occupied by a barrage of rapid firing from his fellow James.
“Say what?” Asked confused Tim.
“Go to the old graveyard and go now! There’s a good spirit there waiting to do miracles. Trust me man, you will lose your hunch!”
“Says who? Cause you don’t exactly sound like the James I know.”
“Says James that is walking shuffle free now”, the line clicked and the touch dial tone resumed.
Tim thought about it for a minute, and then he got dressed and made his way toward the old graveyard.
“You arrived!” Came the voice from the underground.
“I did, indeed. Will you help me?” Asked Tim with a massive excitement in his voice.
“You’re a shuffler!”
“I am afraid you got that wrong! I am a hunchback!”
“You’re a hunchback and a shuffler!”
“Who says that?”
“Me! Try and walk!”
Tim smirked and took a few steps. With each off step his right shoe screeched on the gravel….