Work about old man (4)
The old man straightened up, leaned on his hoe handle and inspected his work. Further up the mountainside monkeys chattered. A monastery bell sounded in the valley far below. Satisfied that he’d heaped the earth sufficiently around the two rows of sweet potatoes, he gathered up the wilted weeds and flung them on the smouldering bonfire. He hung the hoe in the tool shed. Then he turned on the hose and ducked his head under the cold water briefly. He washed his hands. The sun was far behind the mountain now and the evening chill was starting to come on. He walked slowly between his carefully-tended plots to the house and stepped into the darkness. It took a while for his eyes to adjust. The intruder was standing in front of the main door. A small man wearing dirty shorts, dusty sandals and a stained shirt. His hand trembled as he pointed the gun.
‘The guard?’ said the old man.
‘Taking a piss,’ said the intruder.
The old man inclined his head.
‘Good,’ he said. He walked towards the simple kitchen range.
‘Careful!’ warned the intruder.
‘I promise you I won’t do anything,’ said the old man.
‘The panic button?’
‘It’s here,’ said the old man, pointing to the underside of the kitchen work surface, ‘but I promise you I won’t touch it.’