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Progress is Dependent on too Many People

Updated on March 24, 2014

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

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    • Frank Atanacio profile image
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      Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton

      thanks DDE

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

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

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
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      Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton

      LOL of course sandcastles..

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      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
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      Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton

      Yeah of course you do Denise LOL

    • 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
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      Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton

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

      @ Cyndi thanks you so much bless you both

    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 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.

    • 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

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
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      Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton

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

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
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      Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton

      Thanks Vin you too :)

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
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      Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton

      thanks Epi for your kind words 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
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      Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton

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

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      Helen Murphy Howell 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
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      Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton

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

    • marcoujor profile image

      Maria Jordan 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
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      Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton

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

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      Brenda Barnes 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.

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 4 years ago from California

      Hate apathy! Great write Frank!

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
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      Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton

      thanks eddy :)

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

      So true and very very interesting!!!

      Enjoy yourr day.

      Eddy.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
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      Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton

      Amen to that Alastar....

    • 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
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      Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton

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

    • dingerd profile image

      Darrel Dinger 4 years ago from Tennessee

      Very good!

    • Entourage_007 profile image

      Stuart 4 years ago from Santa Barbara, CA

      Great write up! Now following you

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      This happens way too often.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
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      Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton

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

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      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
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      Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton

      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

    • writer20 profile image

      Joyce Haragsim 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.

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      Peg Cole 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.

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      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:-))

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      Sueswan 4 years ago

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

      Voted up and awesome

      Take care. :)

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
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      Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton

      thanks tobusiness :)

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      Jo Alexis-Hagues 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.