HELLO!!! Welcome to a side story that I had to work on for one of my
classes in school. I enjoyed writing it so much that I thought I'd add it
to my story list here on FictionPress! If it seems at all depressing it
shouldn't be because I wrote it while I was actually quite jovial. But
then again I've written teenage angst suicide poems while high on sugar
cubes and Mt. Dew... hehe. Anyway, I hope you enjoy!
Playing the Good Samaritan
A falling out, that's what she had called it. We had had a falling
out and according to her it was me who should go out. I hadn't started
anything. I hadn't had any opinion at all, really. Not that I ever have
anything to say. I nod and I smile, but it gets me nowhere. So once again
here I stand, trying to hide from the rain in a phone booth on Creepy
Avenue that I fought a drunken bum for, at two o'clock in the morning and I
have to work tomorrow. So whom should I call for help? There's no family
to contact, no friends to give shelter and certainly no comforting
shoulders to beg assistance from. I can only wait for her phone call. She
knew where I was. I always arrive at the same phone booth on the same
street around the same time every time she kicks me out. I sit down and
huddle closer into my coat for a long night.
The glass box is completely fogged over by the time the phone starts
ringing. I debate not picking it up at all and leaving her to worry that I
have been mugged and killed, making it all her fault. But it is really
cold out and I'm really afraid of whoever is out there, just waiting for
the right chance to abduct me and do vile things to my person.
So I decide it isn't worth it and pick up the phone. I don't know
what to say, all I can do is twirl the phone cord in my fingers and wait
for her to say something.
Finally, she graces me with her voice, "So you coming back this
time? Should I make soup or something?"
I shrug my shoulders and notice that the rain made my wooly jacket
smell funny. "I don't know. Maybe."
"Well, what do you want? Are you just going to sit in that
disgusting phone booth all night?"
"I don't know. What do you want me to do?" I try to make my voice
sound completely submissive, but I'm pretty sure that I sound just a little
bit pissed off.
Her voice takes a defensive note. "Well, I could, you know, like
talk over it with you or something."
Yeah, it's pretty much guaranteed I'm going to go back and things
will go back to normal, but letting her know that will ruin the whole
system. So I say, "Sure, if you want."
There's really nothing more to say, "Well. I'll see you in a bit
then." She hangs up and I wait until I can hear the dial tone before I
hang up, too.
The booth has become warm from my breathing and I almost don't want
to leave, but it's damp and has begun to smell odd. I jerk open the door
and take a step into the downpour. Cool drops of water run down my back as
I dig my hands deeper into my pockets and begin to walk through the dark
streets of San Francisco. I step off the sidewalk, dodging some human
filth and garbage scraps. The only light shows from the street light on
the corner where a homeless woman sits slumped over in a semi-glazed stupor
covered in her garbage bag parkas. I step around her, careful to avoid
looking fully into her face incase she's awake. She scares the bejeezus
out of me when she starts to cough violently. I stop mid-step and turn
back around slowly, worried something evil is going to come flying at me.
It is, after all an abandoned street in San Francisco at half past two in
the morning. And as for the evil part, hey things are possible. But all I
see is the old woman, her face lined and harsh doubled over on the
sidewalk, breathing heavily.
I have two options. A) play the good Samaritan act and get the woman
some help or B) leave quickly before she notices I was even aware of her.
Now, I have many reasons to leave. For instance, I'm broke and have no
money to help her, I wouldn't know what to do with her once I decide to
help out, she could give me whatever disease it was she has received, it's
two o'clock in the morning on an abandoned street in San Francisco and she
is way creepy. But there are also reasons to stay and help the old lady,
like avoiding whatever's waiting for me at home, getting that sense of
pride and a job well-done that people always talk about, and it will get me
that place in Heaven I hadn't been so sure about lately. Not to mention,
I'd feel really bad if someone died and I was too creeped out to, like,
feed them or something.
I shuffle back to the streetlight and crouch down to where she's
huffing into her knees. I put a hand on her arm and ask, "Hey, lady. You
She looks at me from the corner of her eye and tells me to go do
something with myself that is physically impossible. This effort, however,
sets her into another fit of coughing. I roll my eyes and start gathering
up her most important looking stuff, mostly whatever doesn't look like it's
been dragged through some interesting material.
Her surprisingly firm grip stops me from grabbing the last small bag
I was planning on carrying. A hoarse voice says, "What the hell do you
think you're doing?"
I smile my village idiot smile, "I'm not killing you."
The hag looks at me, non-plussed, "What?"
"Look, lady. You're not going to die because of me, so get up
already. We're going to find someplace where you can sleep for tonight."
"Oh, yeah? And then what? Right back out here, where I started.
That doesn't help very much does it, big guy?" Okay, that was uncalled
for. I know I'm not the biggest guy around, but being sarcastic about my
vertically challenged stature is no laughing matter. Who cares if I still
look like a scrawny five foot tall boy at the age of twenty-two?
I make my eyes all squinty into my pissed off face ready to put the
fear of God into her, when the hag grabs the light post for support and
stands up. She looks up at me and says, "So, where to?"
Okay, so I have no idea whatsoever, but this old hag isn't about to
know that. So I head off in the direction I was going before she started
trying to die. I'm hoping a billboard will pop up advertising a home for
the homeless. But chances are slim.
We scuffle along in silence with only the drizzling rain and our own
dull thoughts to company us. Finally I stop, figuring the hag is going to
keel over before I figure out what to do with her. I stand on another
street corner, not much different than the first and gaze in both
directions trying to remember if I had seen a shelter around town. She
stops at my side.
"Well, hot shot, this has really helped. I feel better already.
Thank goodness God sent you to walk me around abandoned streets during a
storm in the middle of the night when He did otherwise, I might have died
alone. But now I can die walking aimlessly with a complete stranger.
Thank You, God. You are too kind."
At this statement, some of my self-righteous anger surfaces, "Look,
you old hag, I'm just trying to be a nice guy, here. Now, maybe you
haven't noticed, but it's freezing out here and I'd like to get home
sometime in the next century, so let's pick up the pace, OK?" She glares
at me and when I hesitate she waves her arm for me to lead on. Crap. Back
to square one, again.
I walk through the grungy city streets, back and forth, up and down,
until I can't feel my fingers or toes. The rain has soaked through my
jacket and makes the polyester lining stick to my skin. I choose a
relatively dry and surprisingly empty bus stop bench to take a break.
"All right, you got me. I have no idea where I'm taking you or what
I'm doing here. Why did I even bother, anyway?"
She scoffs at my confession and sits down beside me. "I'll give you
this kid, you did more than most."
"What? Most people wouldn't drag a sick old woman around town in the
middle of the night? Geez, what is the world coming to now days?" I stop
as an epiphany hits me.
"I'll tell you what," I say, "Come home with me and tomorrow we'll
look for someplace for you to go," I'm not sure why this idea hadn't come
to me before, since it's painfully obvious now, but it's the only thing
that will let me get away with keeping all ten toes and fingers.
The hag, on the other hand, disagrees. "No, kid, this is where I
draw the line. I'm staying right here tonight. This spot is dry, and I'm
tired enough to sleep through anything. Now, get off my bench, I need
sleep." She swings her feet onto the bench and kicks at me until I stand.
She rolls onto her side and huddles into the multiple layers of her
clothes, but I can't just leave her unprotected like this. I have a
feeling that no matter what I say she's not going to budge and I have no
intention of carrying anyone anywhere.
I scuff the ground with my shoe wondering what I should do now.
Finally, I sigh and sit down with my back against the bench figuring I'll
just watch over the hag until morning.
She turns her head and glares daggers at the back of my head. "What
do you think you're doing? This is my bench, go away."
"Look, old woman, I'm not going to steal you're pathetic bench. Just
go to sleep. We'll look for a place in the morning."
She grumbles, but I hear the bench creak as she rolls back over.
This is going to be a long night.
I wake up by getting kicked in the leg by an old guy. He yells
something about sleeping on the bus stop benches being a crime or
something. I nod groggily, shielding my eyes from the early morning glare
of the sun. I roll onto my knees and shake the old hag's shoulder. I
mumble something about leaving.
I work my way into a standing position and crack my spine back into
place. Turning around, I see the old lady still sleeping on the bench. I
grab her shoulder more firmly, shaking just a bit more. When she doesn't
acknowledge me at all, I roll her over to get a look at her face. I nearly
scream when I see her eyes staring sightlessly. I quickly let go of her
and take a step back. The old man has left us by now and all I can do is
stare back into her eyes. She had died sometime during the night and had
apparently been in some pain when it happened. Her tongue stuck
grotesquely out of her mouth like he had been coughing violently. And I
had slept through it. My stomach turns and I heave up some acidic stomach
fluids. My eyes water and I start to shake. My knees are weak, but I
stumble to the nearest pay phone and dial 911. I tell the operator that
someone has died. She says an ambulance has just been sent.
I'm still standing at the pay phone, staring into space when the
ambulance arrives. Three men jump out and before long they have her
bundled up and toted off before I have the strength to say a word.
When I come to my senses, I feel completely drained and I wonder if I
met a scary old hag last night or had I just dreamed it? But I do realize
there's no reason to stay on the street for the rest of the day. I trudge
home dodging the occasional morning person.
At last, I come to an apartment building where the siding is falling
off to reveal cracked brickwork and most of the windows boarded up. Home,
sweet home. I'm pretty sure whoever would be willing to let me in is still
asleep so my only option is to go up the back way. I walk along the back
alley and scale the chain link fence. I heavy myself onto the dumpster and
catch the last rung of the fire escape ladder. The thing is so rusted it
doesn't budge and I use the brick wall to walk my way to the first landing.
When I come to the fourth landing, I see that she's left the window
open a crack, something I wouldn't have let her do. Thank God she ignores
me. I'm able to inch the window open enough to get inside as I trip over
random boxes of junk that seem to inhabit the place.
The sun has already made everything musty. I slip out of my jacket
and kick off my shoes, everything still damp from last night. I walk into
the kitchen, which isn't much better than the living room. Dishes are
piled high and a pot of something sits on the stove. I lift the lid and
grimace at the hardened soup stuck to the pot. My dinner from last night,
cream of... something green. I walk back into the living room, drained of
energy and take a seat on the couch.
Now I kind of feel bad about calling her an old hag. I watch the sun
rise up over dozens of city blocks. I sigh and think, So much for that
spot in Heaven.
Ya like it? Huh? Huh? Ya like it? I hope so! I do, which is a very
rare occurrence relating to my own work. I just hope I can keep going on
this track! And I know that my story "Pretty Kitty" has seemed to come to
a standstill, but I'm worried that after such a long time that if I try to
write again it'll sound forced and that would be horrible in the major
extremeness... Please R&R!