A Burst of Equivalent Profanity







Artic and East Main Street were extremely busy that morning. There were many people pushing and moving through the stores that offered early morning sales. Teenagers waiting for the school buses were surrounded by a burst of equivalent profanity. The school buses arrived and the doors parted for them as they streamed in. Loud rap music was drowning out the latest Latin Salsa, but still managed to share the buses.

After waiting for the school buses to leave, an old woman heads for the bus stop. Turning around slowly, she forced herself toward the bus-stop maintaining her eyes on the metal bench.

A fourteen year old boy watches the old woman rub her eyes, and slump against that metal bench. He knew that she labored to get to her destination, and that took a lot out of her. He watched intently as she took out some small change from her purse and put it into her front breast pocket. She was waiting patiently for the number eight bus, her breath wheezing at regular intervals. She was the perfect target, and the young boy knew it.

She had to get home and prepare a meal for her granddaughter who was visiting from college. The last thing she wanted was for someone to appear and cause problems. She looked at her wrist watch and was momentarily hypnotized by the fact that the bus was running late.

Fifteen minutes later, the boy was pulling on her hand bag, dragging her three feet away from the bus stop before she let the bag go.

East Main Street’s unleveled sidewalks tore into her face, cutting through her thin skin. Drivers in vehicles passing by nervously flashed their eyes away, but when they were far enough did offer to look back, but no one stopped. It was as if onlookers were barred from the bus stop as they avoided the scene and ignored the crime. Except for O-Joe, he shouted stop, in a booming voice.

The boy peeked around the corner wondering who was actually getting involved. O-Joe scowled at him, his face deep red, but the chase was on.

O-Joe was a sixty two year old fire-fighter from Engine Number Eight, and in a footrace against a fourteen year old, he was hopelessly outclassed. He heard the boy’s footfalls for a few seconds and then silence.

Then it struck him, he had to give it all in order to catch up with the little thief. So he bowed to the inevitable and started the chase. He saw the thief dart around the corner and then another corner, but knew that was going to be the boy’s demise. Kossuth Street ran right into a dead end. The thief ran behind the old Artic Sports Shop and had no where to run.

The thief cringed at O-Joe’s stern expression, but gave the old kook credit for engaging in a foot chase. The boy tried to speak, but O-Joe cut him off by grabbing the youngster’s arm firmly.

“You’re handing that purse back to that woman and you’re apologizing,” said O-Joe. “And then I’m going to take you to the police.”

The thief nodded his agreement as they headed back to the crime scene. When they got there the old woman’s eyelids were only half open and the pupils blank. Backing up toward the bus stop the boy collided with the metal bench and grabbed it to keep from falling over.

Though it pained him to do so, he ignored the outcome of what he did and took off running toward Barnum Avenue.

Damn, O-Joe thought. He was out of breath and out of options to chase down the boy. If he took off after him, no one would stay with the old woman. Suddenly there were flashing lights, sirens and emergency vehicles filling the streets.

“The sales got to her, huh?” said a man in the driver’s seat of the ambulance. O-Joe said nothing, and for just a second the driver wished he could have taken back that question.

“Heart attack,” said the examiner. “Too much excitement for her today.”

“The woman was robbed and dragged!” shouted O-Joe.

A young detective walked toward O-Joe, his right hand made a furtive move toward a shoulder holster burdened by the long barrel .38. “He’s right, show some respect for the dead!”

O-Joe ignored the young detective’s face and the comment and concentrated on helping the woman onto the gurney.

“Looks like you’re our only witness,” said the detective.

“I’ll do whatever it takes,” O-Joe replied.

“I’m wondering what’s going on in that kid’s head?’ said the detective. “Could this scare him straight?”

That question should have comforted O-Joe a bit, but instead it left him cold somehow. Then a car filled with school age teenagers drove by and all he heard was a burst of equivalent profanity spewing out of the windows…







#

© 2013 Frank Atanacio

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Comments 36 comments

MrsBrownsParlour profile image

MrsBrownsParlour 3 years ago from Chicagoland, Illinois

The ugly facets of human nature are everywhere, but it makes the kind ones stand out and shine. Very realistic characters!


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 3 years ago from Ontario, Canada

At first I thought this was going to be a happy story :( Kept me on the edge of my seat as I read along.

Voted up +++ and sharing.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton Author

Thanks for stopping by MrsBrown.. and JustaskSusan sorry it wasn't happy.. but I thank you for sharing it bless you :)


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

Dearest Frank, you always have the most interesting titles.

Hooray, at least, for O-Joe!

Very sad reality that people choose to close their eyes to such, but at least one person did not do so in your story.

It really did keep me on my seat. Well, we know that young person, if he keeps going at that rate, will wind up in prison one day, but how much damage will he do before then, is the question? Or maybe someone will step up to the plate (a good mentor) and he will change his life around : ) !!!

Voted up +++ and sharing

(buttons not appears yet, so I shall return)

God bless, Faith Reaper


btrbell profile image

btrbell 3 years ago from Mesa, AZ

Very intense! I wondered when I read this, how often this or something similar happens. I bet, sadly, it is very often. Thank you for this eye opening story!


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton Author

thank you so much Faith for keeping the Faith..:) bless you and Btrbell thank you for visiting my profanity :)


rose-the planner profile image

rose-the planner 3 years ago from Toronto, Ontario-Canada

Excellent short story with a strong message. I think that nowadays people would rather turn the other way rather than helping or being a Good Samaritan. Sometimes Good Samaritans end up getting hurt in the process. Thank you for sharing. (Voted Up) -Rose


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton Author

I agree with you Rose the planner.. and thank you for visiting my profanity :)


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 3 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

Sad ending, but a good write.


Becky Katz profile image

Becky Katz 3 years ago from Hereford, AZ

Your crime stories are always well written and engrossing. This is no exception. I am jealous and sharing.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton Author

thanks willstarr and always thanking you very much Becky Katz bless you


MsDora profile image

MsDora 3 years ago from The Caribbean

Frank, the title almost scared me, but I ventured and am glad I did. Too bad nobody before O-Joe ventured. If the kid straightens up after this, that would be a good thing. Interesting a usual.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton Author

I think I agree with you too MsDora bless you :)


tobusiness profile image

tobusiness 3 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

Frank, another brilliant write.... so sad, yet so very true to life.

Excellent short story.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton Author

thank you so much tobusiness..:)


Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 3 years ago from The Beautiful South

Another great write. At one time I only read true stories and although I am sure this is not, it very well could be and well done. ^


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton Author

thank you Jackie :)


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

Came back to share : )


Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

Gypsy Rose Lee 3 years ago from Riga, Latvia

A gripping story indeed. A good deal of teenagers these days have no respect for elderly people. We have a lot of crime going on here just because kids have no money and they'll do anything to get some. Passing this on.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton Author

Faith you faithfully Rock! Thank you for restopping... and Gypsy thank you for visiting my profanity...:)


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 3 years ago from Dallas, Texas

Oh Frank. This was so much like being there. Such a sad and realistic depiction of the ugly truth of poverty and crime. I kept hoping the boy would get a chance to make up for his act and yet, the reality crept in.

You are a masterful storyteller.


Genna East profile image

Genna East 3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

I agree with Peg, who phrased it perfectly: “Reality crept in.” My heart went out to that poor woman, and O-Joe who has a hero’s heart and courage. You take us into your stories so well, so deftly, and with a natural flow. We were there, feeling the woman’s panic and hurt, and running with O-Joe as passersby looked away. I wish could hug O-Joe. Excellent write, Frank.


BlossomSB profile image

BlossomSB 3 years ago from Victoria, Australia

Great story, sad, but so close to the truth of what often happens.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton Author

thank you so much Pegcole that was very kind... and Genna East thank you for commenting on my profanity.. and Blossom good to see you bless you ladies :)


Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 3 years ago from Nepal

Frank,

you always have like like character and situation. Thanks for sharing this entertaining story.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton Author

thanks Vin for stopping by :)


wayne barrett profile image

wayne barrett 3 years ago from Clearwater Florida

I know I say it all the time, Frank, but you are really top notch at this style and genre. Up and sharing.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton Author

thanks again wayne barrett


Valleypoet 3 years ago

Just back from holiday Frank..and catching up with my favourite writers...we need more O-Joes' that's for sure..sickening when you read about people turning the other cheek when the vulnerable need help...a thought provoking read Frank...thanks buddy:-))


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton Author

thanks Valley for stopping by bless you bro :)


Marlin 55 profile image

Marlin 55 3 years ago from USA

Great job again Frank. It's a great read. You're quickly becoming a master st spinning tales.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton Author

thanks Marlin55 :)


Seeker7 profile image

Seeker7 3 years ago from Fife, Scotland

Brilliant story and thank our lucky starst that we do still have a few folks around like O-Joe!! This world is so scary at times and your wonderful characters are so life like, that I felt I was on that street watching what was going on - absolutely awesome!!!!


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton Author

thanks so much again seeker7 :) bless you


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

Sometimes the only one who appreciates our doing a good thing is us, but it shouldn't stop people from trying to right wrongs like O-Joe. The young man is going to get what's coming to him, now or later. We all do.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton Author

thanks so much Flourish :)

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