Turning a Corner
The moment I stepped off the streetcar I began doubting why I'd come—the heavy air that had to force its way into the lungs; the stench of piss and struggle; the forgotten, wandering in groups of one. My dad had always called these people the scum of our collective generations—the worthless who refused to contribute, the weak who couldn't pick themselves up even when their lives were depending on it.
Just a few weeks ago—probably two, maybe three, blocks away—my parents and I were walking back to our car after taking in a show at the Orpheum. Turning the corner, one of them bumped into my mom. He was drunk or high, mumbling, "my fault, my bad, my fault." He reached out his hands, cupped, holding a red raisin box that carried his night's profits. In a moment of haze and confusion, my dad pounced. He grabbed this kid—couldn't have been older than me—and slammed him into the gutter, his hair and face drenched in the city's guts. I remember the kid's face as my dad spit on him; I remember how he went into a fetal position, screaming and crying like an animal that had been shot in the kneecaps. My dad grabbed me and mom, forcing us to flea.
The moment was haunting then and is haunting me now. I had to come back here, alone. Why? I'm not really sure. Maybe it was to find that kid and see if he was okay. Maybe it was to spite my circumstance. Maybe it was to see for myself how life reaches this point for people, instead of judging blindly like a coward.
The Plot Thickens: (1) a first encounter, and (2) a box of raisins
(The only rule: somehow incorporate the above two plot elements into the flash)
© Blake Cooper 2010