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Walking the Streets on a Cold Fall Night: A Short Story

Updated on September 16, 2015

Nature’s darkness has fallen, giving way to the artificial daylight of neon signs.

I am restless.

The four walls of my third-floor studio are doing an anaconda on my psyche. The crying baby in 3A, the endless arguing in 3B, the dripping pipes, the smell of vomit, piss and rotting food wafting up from the alleyway below, all have me on edge, man, and I can’t watch one more minute of reality tv without going postal on someone’s ass. That shit on the tube ain’t reality. This is reality. They should film a day in the life of yours truly, but that would probably kill their ratings.

I need to walk.

The windblown, frostbitten streets of the city are calling me.

I grab my Army surplus coat, tug the stocking cap over my ears, walk down battle-scarred stairs and step out to face a north wind that immediately invades my threadbare clothing. The calendar says October but it feels like deep December. I make my way over to Fourth, searching for I know not what, hoping to recognize it when I find it.

Darkness falls on the city
Darkness falls on the city | Source

My Neighbors

Some rag tops have started a fire in a garbage can and are warming their hands while singing do-whop. I nod as I pass them. They return the street greeting, wary eyes immediately categorizing me as no threat. It’s too damned cold to get into it unless pride is at stake, and I’m just one of them, walking the perimeter of their lives.

Ikem leans out his apartment window and yells down at me.

“Hey, Billy the Kid, I’ve got some Freight Train up here if you want a swallow. I’m watching a rerun of Super Bowl Ten. Get your ass up here and join me.”

I wave him off. “Maybe later, Ikem. I need to stretch it out and clear the cobwebs.”

He’s a good man but maybe a few bricks short of a load. He’s been out of stir for over a year now. Paid the full ticket for a convenience store robbery. Never snitched out his partner. That kind of stand-up will earn you some respect on the streets. He gets by on military disability and the occasional pot deal.

Just up ahead is hooker row. Paula and Mindi are providing a glimpse of the future for anyone with a spare twenty, their high heels clacking on the cobblestone, their wares on display for all to see. They’re passing a cigarette back and forth when they spot me. Paula smiles.

“Shit, Mindi, it’s Billy the Kid. What’s the haps, Billy? You keeping out of trouble?”

It’s hard not to smile at Paula, no matter your mood. She’s the momma bear for the girls on 4th, the protector of those who lack the common sense to protect themselves, and the dispenser of street wisdom for anyone who will listen. She’s the old lady of the hooker’s union at thirty-eight. She still looks damned good, a living testimony to the benefits of a drug-free life. She was once a banker if you can believe that shit. College degree, life in the fast lane, then screwed over by a husband who should have been flushed with the after-birth. Lost her home, lost her job, lost her reputation and now spreads her legs and dreams, flat on her back, of the restaurant she wants to own somewhere down the road of life. She’s my friend and I like her a lot.

“Momma Bear, how’s it hangin’? It’s too damned cold for any Johns tonight. Your nips look to be frozen solid. Why don’t you and Mindi grab a burger with me over at the all-nighter and we’ll all warm up?”

“Love to, hon, but the landlord don’t give a damn about cold weather. He just wants his scratch. And don’t you be looking at my nips.” She laughs. “Next time, Sugar, okay? You stay out of trouble now, you hear? Keep it in your pants where it belongs.”

We all have dreams on the street, except those who don’t, and they’re just waiting for the end to arrive. I wave to Paula and Mindi, turn right onto Main and keep walking off the dis-ease of unease.

The mean streets
The mean streets

The Sounds of the City

The closer I get to downtown central the louder it gets. Horns are honkin’, trash cans clanking in alleyways, the constant symphony of sirens, some close, some distant, playing a melody of someone else’s misery. Movie-goers are out, shoppers are out, dinner parties are out, the freaks and the sleeks, all compressed together and marching to nowhere. The tattoo parlors and titty bars fade from view as department stores dominate a few blocks. A cleaner crowd here. Oh sure, the occasional panhandler can be seen, but by and large the undesirables know their place and it ain’t on the corner of 8th and Main.

Bright lights promise entertainment, great food, an escape from reality for all who can pay the price. A long line waits to enter a popular nightclub, held back by two monster doormen and a velvet rope. One of them spots me approaching.

“Billy the Kid,” he says with a gold-toothed smile. “I ain’t seen you in months, man. Where you been hiding?”

His name is Jerome, former tight end in college, a torn Achilles his personal Achilles, that and a fondness for crack, now he’s just shuckin’ and jivin’ with the rest of us, visions of a pro career dead and buried.

“Keepin’ a low profile, Jerome. A few people want to talk to me and I really don’t want to talk to them, if you get my drift.”

“Shit, man, talk to you? More like kick your ass for that stunt you pulled last week. Keep your guard up, Billy, cuz the man’s got a thousand eyes.”

I fist-bumped him. “You got that right, big man. Stay cool and I’ll catch you later.”

Ladies of the evening
Ladies of the evening

Artificial Confidence

Never show fear. That’s what my old man taught me. Never show the assholes you’ve got concerns. Stare them in the eyes, tough it out and always, always hit first.

Buy this, buy that, look better in this, save money here, get cash there, bail bonds, salvage, pawn, reds, oranges, whites, blues, all the colors of the rainbow speaking to me in flashing neon as I leave upscale and enter The Inferno. You won’t find this neighborhood in the Chamber of Commerce brochures, and heaven help any poor sucker who takes a wrong turn off the I-90 and ends up fresh food for the piranhas. The only safe place in this area at this time of night promises a bowl of soup in exchange for a sermon listened to. Jesus saves you, and you, and you, no color barrier here, no social class ladder-climbing, just a hot meal for a ticket to heaven, dispensed each night by the Reverend Thomas and his devoted wife, Sister Sarah. Whatever grievances there may be on the streets, they are not allowed in the blessed, puke-stained halls of salvation, a demilitarized zone in the heart of the city.

Reverend Thomas has done his time, twenty in Raiford, a hell-hole if there ever was one, and he’s respected by the mules, the jewels, the tweakers and the spinners alike. Rumor has it a sawed-off shotgun rests behind the pulpit, but to my knowledge it’s never been used.

The Rev spots me coming in and strolls over to meet me, his gap-toothed grin welcoming me before the words escape his mouth. “Billy the Kid, you’ve really stepped in it this time, haven’t you? I told you that pecker would get you in trouble and this time it has. Didn’t your daddy ever tell you to keep it in your pants when Ivan the Red’s daughter is in the neighborhood?” He roared at his own joke and slapped me on the shoulder.

“My daddy wasn’t one to dispense advice on those matters, Rev. I’m just going to lay low for an hour or so, if you don’t mind, then head back home. I was feeling the walls close in, my man, and I needed to stretch it out.”

“Listen, I can talk to Ivan if you want? He owes me a few favors. He’ll call off the dogs if I ask him to, but you need to stay away from that girl of his.”

“Dammit, Rev, ask me to pledge allegiance to your church but please don’t ask me to ignore that young woman. Have you seen that body of hers? It’s to die for, Rev.”

“It just might be, Billy. It just might be. Go grab some soup and stay as long as you like.”

I ate my soup, hugged Sister Sarah, and listened to thirty minutes of salvation from the Rev. He seemed to be talking to me, stories of sinners and winners, the righteous and the dead-enders, embrace the loving arms of Jesus and walk the golden path.

But he never explained how you find the golden path on an unpaved, dead-end road where good intentions are a dime a dozen and the weakness of the flesh is more powerful than the gospels of men long-buried.

2015 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

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    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 18 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so much, Shanmarie....realistic for sure, but a reality I am grateful is not mine.

    • shanmarie profile image

      shanmarie 18 months ago

      Not a pretty picture for sure, but probably a very real reality for too many. I particularly like the line about everyone on the streets having dreams except those who don't.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so much, Rajan! I'm happy you found this one...it's one of my personal favorites.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 21 months ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      You literally took me with you for a walk and it what an experience it turned out to be. You are a great story teller my friend. Thoroughly enjoyable.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 23 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you very much, Alicia. I do love hearing that.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 23 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      This is a great start to your story, Bill. The description and imagery is wonderful!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 23 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Chris, I'm so glad you enjoy my fiction. My wife tells me I write about the dark side a bit too well. LOL I appreciate you being here, buddy.

    • cam8510 profile image

      Chris Mills 23 months ago from Maple City, Michigan

      Bill, I love your fiction writing. This stroll through the city is full of one gem after another. I think Mama Bear's frozen nips may be a mental picture that will stick with me a while. I know there is a lot more to this story, so I'll keep following the trail until I catch up.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you very much, Missy!

    • Missy Smith profile image

      Missy Smith 2 years ago from Florida

      My goodness, this is a very good story. Your details brought the reader completely along for the ride. I mean I wanted to puke at the smell of the puke. To be honest, I felt nauseous through this whole story. It was so dreary, but really well told. The reality of the story is what makes it a great read.

      You are a very talented writer billybuc! :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Peg, thank you so much. You chose my favorite line in the story and for that I am appreciative.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 2 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      This slice of life story is as real as it gets, Billybuc. Your dialogue and street smarts are shining through on this one. I particularly liked the line, "playing a melody of someone else’s misery." We rarely hear the sirens out here in the country and when we do, we know it's a neighbor or friend who is looking at the flashing lights. Wish I could vote this one way up.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I appreciate it, Frank, and Billy said he appreciates it as well. :) He'd write more himself but he's putting distance between him and the mob right now. :)

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton

      oh yeah I remember this one... going to check number two..

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Billrrr, I've never been on the east coast during a huge storm. I was in Vermont for a Nor'easter, a blizzard, but nothing coastal. Still, we have some doozies here in western Washington. :)

    • Billrrrr profile image

      Bill Russo 2 years ago from Cape Cod

      Thanks Bill. I am a coastal person, and like yourself I suspect, I have seen dozens of hurricanes, torments, Nor'easters, and such; and I can't help it; they are always thrilling. I like to park my auto at the edge of a beach's parking lot and ride out the storm - pretending that the vehicle is a wooden three masted ship. When the storm gets bad enough, all you can see is surf and wind-blasted sprays of rain. The car begins to rock and just when it gets really exciting, the local police come along and spoil it all by closing off the beach!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Billrrr, I appreciate your kind words. Thank you, and good luck with that hurricane heading your way.

    • Billrrrr profile image

      Bill Russo 2 years ago from Cape Cod

      Yup. This story is so real it reminds me why I left the city so many years ago and now walk on sand only. It's the Cape Cod life for me. No jobs, no pollution, no violence, and most important of all - no clocks.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks for sharing that, Deb. I know you aren't lying. I've known quite a few like that. There but for the grace of God go I, my friend.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      I have met folks just like this, to see what makes them tick. I once found a drunk on the streets of San Francisco that was once a college professor. He was not lying, as I could see the education in his voice. He told me that the drink got him and one thing led to another. It tears me apart to see those souls fall through the cracks because their vices are stronger than anything else. Great read, very smooth.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Michael my friend, thank you! I am indeed surrounded by eloquent writers...and friends they all are...including you of course.

      blessings and peace to you and yours

    • Michael-Milec profile image

      Michael-Milec 2 years ago

      Great story my friend. Thankfully, you are followed and surrounded with all knowledgable, capable and eloquent writers ; collectively they kept me alive following you closely, otherwise I would be lost (definitely) as a stranger coming from different century ' curtural-continent.' Uh.

      Have a great and blessed week.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Zulma, I don't have a clue how I do it, whatever it is I do. :) I just stumble along, mixing and matching, recalling scenes from a long lifetime, and happily it all ends up as something someone enjoys reading. :) I think I'm just along for the ride.

      I do appreciate your very kind words.

      Happy Monday my friend.

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 2 years ago from United Kingdom

      Brilliant stuff, Bill. Sounds like you've taken a walk or two in my old neighbourhood. These people and places cam alive for me as I walked these streets with you. I could hear their voices in my head; could feel the cold wrapping around me. How do you do it?

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Vellur! I hope Billy finds his way too, but I suspect he hasn't quite learned his lesson yet.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so much, PS. All is well in WA today, and I hope the same for Florida. I don't know what's going to happen to this story...we'll let it simmer and see what cooks. :)

      hugs and blessings coming your way

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 2 years ago from Dubai

      Form the beginning to the end your story drew me in and I could feel and see every word. I hope Billy finds the golden path soon and sticks to it and sad that the Reverend could not shine a light for Billy to follow. Great write.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 2 years ago from sunny Florida

      so my question is this..it says a 'short story' but I could easily read more....enticed to read on, to know, to understand....

      how many times can I say this without boring you??? I never am disappointed when I come here to billy's place...

      hoping all is well in WA tonight

      Many Angels are on the way bringing hugs and good wishes and blessings ps

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Genna, I wish you were my agent. Seriously. You always make me feel so good about my writing. Thank you so very much, and blessings and hugs coming your way.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      drbj, I don't know if this will be a book. It was just a writing an exercise, flapping my wings, and this came out. We'll see, my friend.

      Thank you for the very kind words. Pretty face? LOL

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 2 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      "The four walls of my third-floor studio are doing an anaconda on my psyche." This sentence and others in the opening paragraphs kidnap the reader. We are yours for however long, or to whatever destination, your journey take us. We're there, willing and eager observers, walking on those streets with your words and eyes. This is real, with an ending that is inescapable. Great writing doesn't get any better than this, Bill.

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 2 years ago from south Florida

      I hope this is just a taste of the first chapter of the book you are planning to write, Bill, because I am already hooked on learning more about 'Billy' and his, shall I say, colleagues.

      When it comes to writing - almost any kind of writing - you are the real thing. And I don't say/write that to every pretty face!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ann, you may be the only person on earth who thinks a trip to Seattle is equal to a trip to France. LOL Thank you for the laugh, my friend.

      bill

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      You intrepid explorer you! I'm sure a trip to Seattle is just as good, if not better, than a trip to France. I've never been to Seattle but I'd like to, sleepless or not.

      Ann :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      It's kind of funny, Mary. I had no intention of continuing the story, but now that I think about it, I'm kind of curious what happens to these good people. Maybe there is a follow-up. :) Thank you for your kind words and I hope your weekend is an outstanding one.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ann, I agree with you, the comments are wonderful and they give me hope as well. Thanks for returning. I just got back from Seattle where I was helping Bev with her job...a little extra money never hurt. Hey, a trip to Seattle....it's not France but it's a trip nonetheless. :)

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Awww shoot, Sis...thank you! How does it feel to own my readers? It feels great to have such wonderful friends. How's that for a diplomatic answer? LOL Seriously, it is the encouragement of people like you that gives me hope that one day I'll be known outside of HP. Thank you so very much.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 2 years ago from New York

      True grit Bill. Nothing pretty or flowery about that way of life. Of course, you left us wanting more. What happened to Billy the Kid? Did he make it or did he lead himself into temptation again or did Ivan catch up with him? So much to wonder!

      I don't need to tell you this is well done. How lucky we are you choose to stretch your writing legs every now and then ;)

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      I had to come back to this to see others' comments. You've certainly had a great reaction - as I expected. Do you know what strikes me the most? I can hear the voices of all these people I've come to know a little better through their writing; putting the comments with the writing is fascinating. There is political and social comment here that gives me hope. Maybe we should all run for collective President/Prime Minister of the US & Britain!

      Having scared everyone with that thought I'll just say have a great weekend and thanks for raising the stakes with such wonderful writing, bill.

      Ann :)

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      I could hear the sad and haunting tenor sax playing bittersweet blues that pull at the gut and slice up a heart......Billy walks off his guilt while his after hours friends validate their means of survival......

      Bro, This is a taste of torture as we wait impatiently for your next work of art. I'm on those streets now for the rest of the night. That damned pull of yours. There's no defense. How's it feel to own your readers?

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sha, Paula does get around, doesn't she? I was going to change her name but then I decided I liked the woman and wanted her to appear in both the book and this piece.

      96 days and counting and I do indeed know what you are talking about. :)

      Looking forward to that hub you have in mind.

      love,

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Dora! I am humbled by your wonderful praise.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so much Nell. I'm very happy that you found it engrossing.

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      Shauna L Bowling 2 years ago from Central Florida

      I'm so glad you posted a short story, Bill. Fiction is what you do best, my friend, which is why I devour your novels.

      Billy the Kid did a great job of taking us along for his walk. Sad about Paula. She really gets around though. Wasn't she also a friend of Toby's?

      I really loved this look at a lonely soul who seems to be drawn to trouble. I can relate and so can you. Fortunately, we turned our lives around.

      96 days and counting! I know you know what I'm talking about.

      Catch you soon, my friend. I have a hub in mind. Just need to find the time to put it together....

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 2 years ago from The Caribbean

      Bill, you write with a charming pen. You illustrate "the dis-ease of unease" so well. I hate the situation but I still want to read what you write about it. Expertly done!

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 2 years ago from England

      That was amazing Bill, I think you took me there, I got lost in the writing and started smelling those streets, wonderful!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so much, Marlene. I guess I paid attention back in the tough times. :) I'm glad you found this realistic and I appreciate your kind words.

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 2 years ago from Northern California, USA

      It is amazing how well you can take a moment in time and bring the reader right into the middle of it as if we are part of the scene - seeing and experiencing it all first-hand.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Flourish! As I writer I love your reaction to this piece.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      The descriptions made me want to stay in my house and bolt the door. Very vivid, Bill.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Ruchira! My goal is to improve. Comments like yours help me to do that.

    • Ruchira profile image

      Ruchira 2 years ago from United States

      You have portrayed the helpless life out there...it is sad, yet riveting.

      In short...you came out well as a writer, my friend!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Shyron, thank you so much. That comment is music to my ears and I greatly appreciate it.

      blessings to you and yours, always

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 2 years ago from Texas

      Bill, I could see, hear and feel the hopelessness in the streets, almost like the streets of Chicago, where the only good smell came from the greasy spoon cafes or from the first start of rain on the sidewalks. You sure can put people in your stories, almost as if we are living it.

      Blessings my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Frank, coming from a great fiction writer like you, that is a great compliment. Thank you sir!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mel, thank you! I should be worried that this was so easy for me to write. LOL As for tenement houses, I think it's a distinct possibility.

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Exactly, Faith. There are always a few who find it hard to read my work when I go dark, but I think it's necessary for my growth. Can't keep everyone happy now can we? :)

      blessings always dear friend

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton

      wow the loneliness, the sadness.. the walking through life in limbo.. Brooklyn USA is what this drawn out saga reminds me of. I like the drama and the descriptions.. the trust only shared by folks who use to matter.. this is a wonderful piece of literature my friend.. very well written

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California

      You have painted a vivid word picture of just about every ghetto in America, where a street called hope hits a dead end. Are we headed back to the tenement houses of the turn of the century, or will be smart enough to put in some politicians that really give a damn about us. Great hub, my friend.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

      Well, look at you, dear Bill, going ahead on to that place and it's about time! LOL ... you may have encouraged your own writer's muse into writing this creative and well written piece here instead of just me. I was there, with the smell and noises ...that means great writing. Billy the Kid on the mean streets of America is all too real and maybe we will see a continuation of his plight on the streets.

      That's what I am talking about too, the opposite of the norm in writing, stretching our creative juices to where they are overflowing on the pages.

      Blessings

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Jackie! Maybe it will grow into something one of these days.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 2 years ago from The Beautiful South

      Wow; you are wasting this on us, you should publish it!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Alan, upbeat??? Where's the challenge in that? That's my default personality. I need to delve into the opposite of "me" and see if I can't capture the feelings of hopelessness....and obviously I succeeded. Tell you what....I'll toss an upbeat posting at you in a couple weeks. I might even dedicate it to you.

      Thanks my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Manatita, what are the Govnors doing? Not much from what I can see, but I don't sit in an ivory tower and my view is obstructed by piles of garbage. :) Thank you as always, my friend.

    • alancaster149 profile image

      Alan R Lancaster 2 years ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      'Ullo Bill, went for a stroll with you through downtown - we know a song about that, don't we - but didn't like the scenery.

      This reads like the first scenes in 'Kojak' before the title sequence comes up.

      I'm not keen on acres of brick, concrete and glass. It's just the same here. Some parts of London are no-go areas for the law. They don't even pound the pavements any more, just ride around in pairs or threes, looking for someone they can tick off without having to do the paperwork.

      I'd sooner be up North. London depresses me these days. Let's have something a bit more upbeat next time, eh?

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 2 years ago from london

      Interesting one, Bill. Still frighteningly so in some places, and yes, we feel for them. The system, Bro, I suspect that's what you're looking at. We may feel empathy and powerlessness at the same time. What are the Gov,nors doing?

      Never mind bro. A real life story and since I'm a visionary, things will change ...we hope ...

      Great Hub!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Will, you are a master wordsmith and your compliment means a great deal to me. Thank you, sir!

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      WillStarr 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      I could smell the rotting garbage, and feel the chill. I could hear the traffic noises and sense all the misery and lost hope. All that requires a great skill with words, and you have that skill in abundance, Bill.

      Wow!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Bill. It is dark for sure...and I've been there, done that....and may one day write the book. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm glad to hear it, Larry. Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so much, Kim. I would be happy with one classic line in my writing career. :)

    • Homeplace Series profile image

      William Leverne Smith 2 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Now that is dark, Bill. I couldn't even bring myself to read the whole thing. Just don't need that, any more. But, great writing!! ;-)

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 2 years ago from Oklahoma

      Wonderful imagery and feel.

      I enjoyed reading this.

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      ocfireflies 2 years ago from North Carolina

      chill bumps my friend--"But he never explained how you find the golden path on an unpaved, dead-end road where good intentions are a dime a dozen and the weakness of the flesh is more powerful than the gospels of men long-buried." will go down as a classic...

      Awesome Read,

      Kim

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      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Brian. I'm not sure if Billy the Kid will resurface but we never know. That's up to Billy and my muse.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Venkatachari M, thank you, my friend. It is a style I use occasionally, most often in books I write. I'm glad you found it interesting.

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      Brian Leekley 2 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

      Superb writing. I hope to see more Billy the Kid stories. I like your finding human dignity and hope--or at least love of neighbor--among the down and out a lot more than the pessimism and hopelessness in, for instance, Selby's LAST EXIT TO BROOKLYN.

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 2 years ago from Hyderabad, India

      Very interesting story. But, of entirely different style. I wondered at all this one coming from your pen.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Pop, I am humbled by your comment. Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you, BarbRad, for sharing your personal experience/reflections. I don't think anyone is served well by pretending this doesn't happen in our society. We bring it out in the open and let people see the dangers of this kind of life.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Clive! I appreciate the kind words.

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      breakfastpop 2 years ago

      I felt like I was right next to you on the street. You always amaze me with the breadth of your talent.

    • BarbRad profile image

      Barbara Radisavljevic 2 years ago from Templeton, CA

      You certainly brought the streets to life. I have seen what drug use can do to a family, and have also seemed that same family come to a new realization that God could help them win the battle against heroin. He did. One family restored, but still attending meetings every day over ten years later just to stay clean. Reading this showed me what might have happened to someone in my own family, and I praise God it never got that far. He took a situation that seemed hopeless and turned it around with a Bible Study Fellowship group meeting in a prison.

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      Clive Williams 2 years ago from Nibiru

      creative, nice and very intriguing.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Linda, thank you! I still have a long way to go, but I appreciate your kind words.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so much, Ruby! I love to write about the mean streets but it also depresses me, you know? Sure you do. :) Thank you again. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so much, Eldon!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Mike. Coming from a fiction pro like you, that is high praise. I appreciate it very much.

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      Linda Lum 2 years ago from Washington State, USA

      Wow, Bill. I didn't want to follow you down that street, but I couldn't stop reading either. You're too good at this.

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      Ruby Jean Fuller 2 years ago from Southern Illinois

      Wow, Bill you were able to touch the inner core of emotions with this true-life story. I could feel the dampness as you walked among the so-called misfits on the streets. The battle-scarred steps was a vivid line that set the pace throughout the horror these people chose to live in. The minister was so real. I love all your stories. This one tops the list. Bravo!

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      Eldon Arsenaux 2 years ago from Cooley, Texas

      Dug the Hub Billybuc! Keep 'em comin.

      -E.G.A.

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      mckbirdbks 2 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Uh-oh, the fiction writing competition has escalated. You had it all, crisp narrative, snappy dialogue, likeable characters. Even the dirty streets were a part of your story. People will learn from you.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you bzirkone. I appreciate you visiting and commenting.

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      bzirkone 2 years ago from Kansas

      Excellent piece, Billy. Looking forward to the novel.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mike, thank you my friend. I do most of this writing in the novels I'm working on, so it's rare I toss this into the HP mix. I'm so glad you enjoyed it.

      Enjoy your day. I hope fall weather has arrived in Arizona and cooled things off a bit.

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      Old Poolman 2 years ago

      Bill, all I can say is "Wow". This is exactly the kind of writing I love to read. I could smell it, hear it, taste it, and feel it.

      You are a true wordsmith my friend.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      MizB, if I repulsed you then for sure, you paid me a compliment. Thank you so much for that...now go back to a more pleasant day. :)

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 2 years ago

      This is difficult for me to make a comment because your writing is so vivid that the story actually repulses me. It is a place that I don’t want to be, nor do I want to know the people there. I guess I just paid you a backhanded compliment, me friend. I like the way you ended the story with the sad fact that sometimes animalistic urges can override common sense, or is it love. Who knows what’s in Billy the Kid’s mind.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Music to my ears, John. Thank you! I've known a few of these people in a past life, so it's not that big a stretch for me. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Wicked Ann! :) I'm just spreading my wings and working the craft. I am happy you enjoyed it and it seemed authentic to you.

      Have a topnotch Wednesday, my friend.

      bill