Extended Short Story: THANK YOU M'AM by Langston Hughes

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
I wrote this short story in my Spring 2013 Fiction Writing Class. One of our assignments is to write an extended (very) short story based on a published story. I decided to write a prologue of Langston Hughes's "Thank you M'am"

Based on Google Book's summary, "Thank you M'am", by Langston Hughes, is about a teenager tries to steal the purse of Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones and is rebuked in a surprising fashion (Google).

EXCLAIMER: I do not own the characters, they respectively belong to Langston Hughes.

Submitted: June 08, 2013

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Submitted: June 08, 2013




Today is another day that he has no motivation to attend any of his classes. School isn’t a place for him but neither is his home. From time to time, he’ll get up from his bed, get ready for school, and leave while tuning out the shouts and the arguments that his parents constantly have. Then when he’s at school, anytime he feels discourage or has no interest, he’ll ditch. No one catches him nor does anyone care. Roger is his name and no one—not even his teachers—knows that. His parents didn’t really care about his commitment in school; for a boy who is turning fifteen, this is not a good start for him. He didn’t care.

The boy grabs whatever pieces of clothing that’s near him. He quickly puts on some old jeans, a white shirt that he wore last week, and slips on his worn-out tennis shoes. Then he goes to the bathroom to do his daily bathroom routines—all but washing his face or combing his hair, not even putting on deodorant. No one tells him to do these things because they didn’t care so why should he? Once he finishes his daily routines, he walks down the wooden stairs and realizes there is something odd in the atmosphere. It’s quiet; too quiet. Just before he takes the last step, he stays still to observe the house.

“Mom? Dad?”

Roger hears no replies. There is nothing. Not a snore, not a sneeze, not a step, and not even a breath. He is alone. It should bother him, but it didn’t; he then walk towards the entrance door and leaves his abandoned “home”.

Not one soul pays attention to him on the busy streets of the city; occasionally people will unconsciously bump into him. As the Sun kisses goodbye to the city, circular lights blinds him in the overwhelming darkness. A lady pushes her way through the crowd and knocks him hard enough for him to stumble onto a glossy glass window. His hands are on the window and right below his nose are astonishing blue colored suede shoes. He has never laid eyes on something so cool and so desirable before. The shoes have an invisible force that pulls his forehead and makes him press his face against the window as though he can get closer to it. He has never wanted something so badly before until now. There’s no one in school that has it and if he shows up to school with those covering his feet, everyone and hopefully a lot of girls will be attracted to him. The thought makes him tremble from head to toe, but one glance at the price, his heart drops. His eyes are focus on the new and never-used shoes before him and then looking down at his abused tennis shoes as he wiggles his toes from within. With a sigh, he walks away from the window. Oh, how he wants those blue suede shoes.

The farther he is from those shoes, the more he wants them, and the more he’s getting desperate. Many ideas fill his mind of how to get those shoes. He could steal them and take off the tags; no one will notice him. Or perhaps he could ask his parents but that’s a long shot; they hardly buy the things he needs.  Maybe he could take some money from his parent’s wallets. Or he could beg…or ask. Out of nowhere he laughs at that thought in frustration. He looks up and he sees a large woman standing there with a purse. Or maybe, just maybe he could try stealing someone’s purse and make a run for it. The only problem is he has never done that before, does he have any courage to do so? He didn’t have any when it comes to asking his parents, so how could he steal anything from a stranger? The lady apparently is by herself and there aren’t a lot of people around them at this time of night.

He looks down at his tennis shoes and closes his eyes. “Just one time. And never again.” He sighs and stalks from behind.

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