The Tribulation of Lora

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
An uncomfortable view into world no one wants to talk about.

Submitted: July 26, 2016

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Submitted: July 26, 2016




The two looked gaunt and unhealthy in the harsh sodium arc street lamp. The little boy watches the moths as they tic-tac out a kind of rhythm on the yellow plastic lens. His mother examines letters carved deep into the forest green bus stop bench they were resting on. Not really reading “who” plussed “who” but rather avoiding her boy’s eyes. He was such a good boy and she knew she couldn't be a good mama for him. Not anymore.

It was warm this evening but the two were dressed for a cooler season. Their over-sized clothes served a duel purpose, one of them being a type of protection from perverts and the other was their bedding.

They spent most of the day sleeping in a safely forgotten blue dumpster behind an old boarded up Seven Eleven. Leaving it just as the sun was setting, she told her boy today they would find a kind soul, someone with a giving heart and that they would be okay again for awhile. Her little boy only looked at her with trusting eyes and nodded.

Spending the first part of the evening like most others in their situation, they found a busy corner and begged. Using a clean piece of cardboard they found earlier, she had written their plea for help in big friendly letters. It didn’t seem to matter...

Some nights the Hindu man at the Circle K would let them use the restroom to wash up, if there were no customers around, and sometimes even giving them day old donuts. They always appreciated his kindness. Tonight he had shooed them away.

Pulling her dumpster stained gray hoodie further over her head in shame, she scooped her boy up and hurried away from the convenient store and into the night embarrassed and scared to think how long it had been since her boy had eaten...or herself.

They wandered streets in a city that didn’t see them. With her duct taped sandals, less than fresh hoodie and a snot crusty faced little boy, they didn't want to see them. Cold sidewalks, cold buildings, cold benches in cold parks, cold policemen in cold uniforms and a city where cold people, like herself and her boy, would pass each other without even a sideways glance or a nod.

One night a dirty Ford pickup with a dirty man squeaked his truck to a stop right next to them as they walked down 11th street. He propositioned her.

“Hey, Sweetheart.” he said in a voice that sounded like crushed dry leaves.

“You’s and the kid need help, maybe, yes?"

He continued.

"We can come to an "arrangement", maybe, yes?.”

She looked down in shame and shook her head No while maneuvering the little boy behind her.

The dirty man in the truck said

“Fine, Sweetheart. Have it you’s way.”

Hearing him making a fuss in the cab, she looked up just in time to see him pull a large bunch of mostly brown bananas out of an old brown paper bag and toss it at her. Not turning away in time, they bounced off her forehead and made a mushy flop sound as they hit the cement and part of her foot. He pulled from the curb and drove away...There was just enough for her little boy that night.

That was three nights ago. She found herself thinking about his possible “Arrangement” and shuddered. She made her decision right then.

The little boy put the weight of his head on her left shoulder. After a bit he turned his face into the side of her skinny arm and rubbed his nose on her dumpster floor stained sleeve. She automatically put her right hand on the top of his head and tenderly pulled him in tighter. The boy made a stuttering yawn and said

“Mama, I’m hungry.”

“I know, Babydoll.” she said, looking off into the oncoming headlights.

She was holding him tight and kissing his cheek as she stepped out in front of them.

© Copyright 2018 R.Guy Barringer. All rights reserved.

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