Progress is Dependent on too Many People

It was an old factory converted into an apartment building back in 1972. The detective had already put himself out in the alley of that apartment building where the child had been abducted. He looked into the basement apartment and noticed the curtains were still drawn. If there was a witness, why wouldn’t that witness call the police while watching someone carrying a little girl from the back door to a car trunk?

That didn’t make any sense to him, so he decided to investigate some more. The detective walked the full length of the basement until he came to that apartment. It was that basement apartment that overlooked the alley.

He knocked several times on the gray steel door until someone finally opened up. He was a balding black man with white skin patches on his face and neck. He was in his fifties and in pretty bad physical shape.

The apartment was dimly lit and smelled like cat urine. There was an old wooden table in the center and beach chairs surrounding it. There was a green sofa with brown stains against the peeling brick wall. There was also a laundry basket with kitty liter lining the bottom that desperately needed changing.

“Did you see a little girl being abducted?” the detective wasted no time.

“Me?” The question startled him. “Are you talking about that little Puerto Rican girl that lived in this building?”

“I’m talking about that girl.”

“No, I didn’t see nothing.”

“If that girl dies, what do you think they should do to everyone that could have helped?” asked the detective.

“Nothing, it’s not our business.”

“You saw that girl through your window, right?”

“I got a doctor’s appointment; I can’t stay and continue answering questions. As you can see I am a very sick man.”

“I see… maybe you should just clean your house and take a freaking bath. Maybe you won’t be so sick.”

“Like I said it’s just not my problem.”

“A little girl that lived in your building might be murdered, and you still think it’s not your problem?”

“Not my child.”

“What if it was your child?”

“I wouldn’t let her have the freedom to roam the building. A girl that young could get hurt. You know this was an old cigar factory in the 60’s right?”

The detective nodded.

“Family should be responsible for watching that child, not me.”

“It takes a village?” added the detective.

“This just ain’t no village my friend. It’s a run down apartment building that’s trying to be a home for a lot of poor folks.”

“If you change your mind or feel guilty why don’t you give me a call,” said the detective as he handed the man his card. “I will answer 24/7.”

When the detective turned around he was greeted at the door by a large black pit-bull. The dog was growling and baring his teeth.

“Is that your dog?” he asked.

“Yes, that’s my dog. I need protection living alone here.”

“Calm him down,” the detective demanded.

“Why don’t you just show him your badge?”

“You better keep in mind that I carry a gun.”

“Down boy, let the man pass.”

“You could have ordered this dog on the man in the alley when he was abducting that girl!” the detective said as the dog walked toward the green sofa.

“Nothing to do with me,” he said as he walked to the dog and gave him a dried piece of meat.

“It’s a shame,” said the detective as he closed the gray door behind him. “Progress is dependent on too many people.”

© 2012 Frank Atanacio

More by this Author


Comments 39 comments

tobusiness profile image

tobusiness 4 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

The sad thing is, that there really are people who think like that. Thought provoking and another terrific write.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton Author

thanks tobusiness :)


Sueswan 4 years ago

It angers and saddens me how people can turn a blind eye.

Voted up and awesome

Take care. :)


Valleypoet 4 years ago

A great read Frank, you kept me engrossed from start to finish. What I feel is poingnant about your story is how, today, we all live so very close together, yet we hardly notice each other. If we do notice, and we witness something untoward or unpalatable, more often than not, most of us will turn the other cheek. There's not enough love going around! Thanks for sharing your story my friend:-))


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 4 years ago from Dallas, Texas

Great first chapter of the story, Frank. I hope this is Chapter one. You left me wanting to know more. That's good! Intrigued. I liked your use of dialogue and description of the surroundings to set it up. Reminds me of the story of the Good Samaritan, well, at least the part about the people who walked on by and turned a blind eye to the situation. Nicely told.


writer20 profile image

writer20 4 years ago from Southern Nevada

Frank, this could definitely be a fantastic book. I hope there's more to come.

Vote up and awesome, Joyce.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton Author

thanks so much for stopping by Sueswan..:) ..and you are so right Valleypoet.. the closer we come the further we get.. Thanks for reading my Progress... Pegcole nope.. this is just a reaction flash fiction everything right there hoping I can stir something.. so no chapters to follow this all he wrote..:) thanks for stopping by and Joyce thank you as always for popping in :) bless you all


SandCastles 4 years ago

It is sickening how many people say, "I don't want to get involved; it's not my problem". It's sickening and scary.

A person doesn't have to get involved in every matter, like stopping for someone with car trouble on a dark street. They can call the police in that situation instead of getting out of their car. They don't have to pick up a hitchhiker. But in other situations they should help. They need to be discerning instead of just closing their eyes.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton Author

you hit it right on the head sandcastles..:) thank you


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

This happens way too often.


Entourage_007 profile image

Entourage_007 4 years ago from Santa Barbara, CA

Great write up! Now following you


dingerd profile image

dingerd 4 years ago from Tennessee

Very good!


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton Author

thanks justasksusan for stopping by and thank you entourage and dinegerd :)


Alastar Packer profile image

Alastar Packer 4 years ago from North Carolina

Apathy to ones neighbors child being abducted is a sign of a community on the fifth circle of Dantes Hell. Hundreds of thousands of Americas children go missing every year. Those that are later found are less than those who are never found. Where do all those poor children wind up. To believe some top researchers and speakings they're sacrificed by powers that feed off their low vibrational terror. This has been going on through countless ages and continues up until today. Ava Marie help us- save the innocents.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton Author

Amen to that Alastar....


Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

So true and very very interesting!!!

Enjoy yourr day.

Eddy.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton Author

thanks eddy :)


AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 4 years ago from California

Hate apathy! Great write Frank!


Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 4 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

So many people do not realize or forget that we reap what we sow. People like that man who just won't care or get involved die alone, bitterly alone. Let us pray the children don't. Frank you really are the best at this genre.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton Author

thanks Audrey... Hyphen I agree.. I too believe that we reap what we sow thank you so much for stopping by :) Frank


marcoujor profile image

marcoujor 4 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

Dear Frank,

I have checked and you have over 300 hubs...I have read a drop in the bucket and been riveted by every one. You have an ability to make me think, piss me off, make me cry, elicit grunts, even laughter, when I read... And you always put heart and soul in your words.

Well, this one pissed me off and sadly, I have seen this apathy...especially in my work with the vulnerable homeless population.

Your style can create change, awareness raising ...even with one reader.

Your style inspires me to keep trying. Voted UP and UABI. Hugs, Maria


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton Author

thank you Maria comments like this keeps me motoring... bless you girl :) Frank


Seeker7 profile image

Seeker7 4 years ago from Fife, Scotland

Oh Frank! What an excellent, brutal story!

I'm trying to imagine if I could ever become so frightened, poor, sick and pissed off with this life that even the abduction of a child wouldn't make me feel anything! The heart this man once had is shown in his tiny bit of affection for his dog - and maybe his cat! This old guy is just waiting for life's end, but wants to do it as peacefully as possible with no one around. People are trouble, pain and hurt. If he had helped the little girl it would have just meant trouble for him from other people - he's too far gone to see the good for the child!

Indeed, progress needs too many people who are poor in body, spirit and soul!

Blessings to you Frank, this was awesome and a beautiful snapshot of this life that can be so awful for some!


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton Author

again thanks for the full content comment Seeker bless you :)


epigramman profile image

epigramman 4 years ago

.....well I always have to take the opportunity when I arrive here on your scene Frank and say you are one of my favorite writers.

I love the 'dialogue' in this piece - it really tells the narrative in this story and for many writers it's a hard thing to do but you make it look/read so easy and natural - but then again as a writer you are a natural - and I always love your 'crime' writing - it's a genre in which you are the master!

lake erie time 12:40pm


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton Author

thanks Epi for your kind words bless you


b. Malin profile image

b. Malin 4 years ago

Wow Frank, This was Sadly so True, in so many Situations...People look the other way because it doesn't concern them. You've done an Excellent job in keeping the readers Interest, with the Cop and Tenant conversation, which is so life-like...great dialog.


Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 4 years ago from Nepal

Frank,

this story is a wonderful comment on irony of human existence.

Have a great weekend.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton Author

Thanks Vin you too :)


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton Author

thanks so much b. malin for your wonderful comment bless you :) Frank


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 4 years ago from North Carolina

I loved the detail of your description. You kept me on edge-I thought he was going to spot the little girl under the clothes in the basket. It's sad when people refuse to get involved. Thanks for a great write. Up/A


Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 4 years ago from Georgia

You have amassed quite a collection of crime short stories with such thoughtful social commentary. You have a style all your own. Voted up.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton Author

LOL @ Denise... but thank you so much for reading my progress..:)

@ Cyndi thanks you so much bless you both


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 4 years ago from North Carolina

Do I have a wild imagination or what! LOL


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton Author

Yeah of course you do Denise LOL


SandCastles 4 years ago

The only thing that bothered me about this article is the dog reference. Not all pitbulls are monster dogs (some are loving) and it is common for dogs to bark when someone's at the door. I wouldn't want a police officer threatening my dog with a gun just because he barked; that's not acceptable.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton Author

LOL of course sandcastles..


DDE profile image

DDE 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

Simply an interesting read from you thanks for another good hub.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton Author

thanks DDE

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working