R. J. Simmons
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Chapter 1

Attention!

“Attention all units! Neighbors say shots were
fired at 2116 Barry Avenue. Neighbors reported hearing
loud noises and arguments at the house for at least
an hour. One person appears to have been injured.
We have no word of his condition yet,” reported a
dispatcher after receiving a very disturbing phone call.
Several units responded to the call with emergency
lights and sirens.

“Units there is an ambulance in route,” the dispatcher
continued.

This is what took place after a shooting at our house
in the suburbs. When the police arrived, four people
were in the house — two men, a young boy, and a lady.

One of the men went to the hospital. Everyone else
went to the police station.

When we got to the station, we were asked to sit
down in a small room without a picture on the wall.
Four hard, steel chairs are piled in the corner. Three
detectives were in the room. One stood with a cup of
coffee in his hand, staring at us. The other two looked
like rookies, ready to take orders.

“Okay, who wants to start talking first? You all
have heard your rights. Right?” asked the detective
who stood with the cup in his hand.

We all looked at the detective and nodded our
heads in agreement.

“Okay. Start from the beginning. Take your time.
We’ve got all day.”

“I will do all the talking,” proclaimed the man of
the house.

“The rest of you may jump in whenever you feel it’s
necessary,” the chief detective responded as he looked
at the lady and child for confirmations. “Go ahead, sir.

Again, how did this start?”

“Well, it all started with Mr. Smith.”


Chapter 2

Mr. Smith

Mr. Smith had just received a well paying job as
a janitor, and he appeared to like it a lot. He did a very
good job, so much so that at the end of the work day,
he was filthy. The pay was better then what he had been
making, and consequently, he was looking forward to
meeting his son, Fred, at the end of the payday to take
him to McDonald’s and the movies. He’d never had
enough money to do this before. While he mopped
the floor, his son was at home, worrying his mother by
continually asking her the time.

Mr. Smith took a break for lunch. While he chewed
his sandwich, he noticed a co-worker eating lunch and
reading the pages of a newspaper that were scattered
on a table.

“You mind sharing your paper?” Mr. Smith asked,
staring at the entertainment section.

“No, I don’t mind,” replied his co-worker.
Mr. Smith grabbed the entertainment section to
see the times of the show. Oh, good! The show doesn’t
start until 8:30. That will allow me lots of time to get
home and take my shower and take my son to McDonald’s,
he thought.

The horn blew, signaling that lunch was over, and
Mr. Smith wasted no time getting back to diligently
mopping the floor.

Meanwhile, a co-worker approached him. “Mr.
Smith, the boss told me to tell you that he would like
to see you at the end of the day.”

“I hope it’s to give me a raise,” he said, mopping
steadily, “though I have been working here only two
weeks.”

“Well, I don’t know what it’s for. He just told me
to tell you.”

Mr. Smith nodded his head in agreement, and the
co-worker walked around the mop bucket to the rest
room. Mr. Smith stayed focused and kept mopping
until the horn blew to announce the end of the day.
He thought about changing clothes before going to see
the boss, as his co-worker had told him to do. Then he
realized that it might take him too long, and he didn’t
think it would be wise to keep the boss waiting. Plus
the boss would know how hard he worked when he
saw his filthy clothes. When he arrived at the boss’s
office, the door was open a crack.

“Hey! I see you got the message that I needed to
see you,” said the boss when he saw Mr. Smith peep
through the crack.

“Uh, yes sir,” Mr. Smith answered nervously because
he did not have a good feeling about this meeting.
It was like a déjà vu.

“Have a seat,” the boss said, extending his hand
and pointing at the chair.

“No, no! I will stay standing, because I don’t want
to get your furniture dirty.”

“Yeah, judging by how dirty you are, you appear
to be a really hard worker,” he replied with a raised
eyebrow. “That’s why it’s really hurts me to tell you
this.”

Mr. Smith sighed.

“Well here it goes. Due to a cancelled contract, our
compensation expense is way over budget. Therefore,
I have to lay you off for now.”

“Lay me off!” Mr. Smith replied. “Please don’t do
that. I’ve only had this job for two weeks.” He raised
two fingers to show his time on the job.

“That’s why we have to lay you off, because you are
at the bottom of the seniority list. I am so sorry. But
we sure will call you back if we get another contract.”
“All right. But are you sure?” Mr. Smith said, looking
disappointed.

The boss nodded his head to say yes and frowned.
“I am so sorry,” he added.

Mr. Smith left the office very upset and disappointed.
He was in shock and felt that he had nowhere
to turn. Then he noticed an advertisement for liquor.
There is a liquor store right below the ad, he thought. He
walked to the store and asked the cashier for two pints
of their hardest liquor. After paying for his purchase,
he left the store and walked over to a bus stop bench.
He sat, drinking and wondering what had just happened.
He forgot all about the promise he had made
to his son.

A bus stopped and the driver opened the door for
him to get on. He waved the bus off. He did this repeatedly,
and as time went by, the more he drank, the
less willing he became to go home and face his girlfriend
to tell her the bad news. Another bus stopped
and opened the door for him to get in. He decided
to take this one, having no idea where it was going.
He just wanted to get as far away as he could. That is
exactly what happened, because without realizing it,
he had boarded the express bus to the suburbs. During
the drive, he constantly sneaked drinks. By the time
the bus reached the suburbs, he suddenly remembered
the promise he made to his son.

“Damn!” he cursed. “Bus driver, let me off at your
very next stop!”

He got up and tripped over himself. He didn’t realize
that he was drunk. He held the rails until it was
time to get off. Once on the sidewalk, he started talking
to himself.

“Man! Where am I?”

He then noticed a bus stop across the street. Without
looking from left to right, he attempted to cross
the street. I say attempted, because an oncoming car
just missed him, and he fell to the ground.

“Wow! That was close,” said Mr. Smith as he looked
at himself to make sure he wasn’t hurt.

He stared at the car and saw someone turning
around to make sure he was all right. The car never
stopped, and Mr. Smith wondered if it would ever
stop. It never did.

“Man! What kind of people are they? I hope they
never need anything from me,” he said to himself. Then
he realized that he was sitting on the street. When he
attempted to stand up, he stumbled, but this time he
wasn’t so lucky. A car full of teenagers struck him and
left him unconscious. Someone called 911. When
the ambulance arrived, they found no identification
on him. You see, Mr. Smith had left his wallet in his
locker at work along with his clean change of clothes.


Chapter 3

The Johnsons

I can’t tell you who hit Mr. Smith, but I do know
the people who almost hit him. I know what was going
on at the time and why they couldn’t stop. Earlier that
evening, the driver of the car was a wealthy man name
Mr. Johnson. Mr. Johnson and his wife were rushing
their son to the hospital. This is what happened that
day. Mr. Johnson had come home from work, called
his son, and wondered why his son didn’t answer him.
He became very frustrated and went after him.
“Boy, don’t you hear me calling your name?” Mr.
Johnson asked as he turned down the volume on the
TV with the remote. “Boy, I said get up! Let’s go eat.
Get up!” He nudged him. “Why aren’t you answering
me? What’s wrong with your eyes? Are you sick?” Then
he yelled, “Honey, get in here!”

Mrs. Johnson dropped her fork and knife and ran
into the room to see what was so important.
“What’s wrong?” she asked. She glanced at her son.

He looked like he was asleep.

“It’s Tim! He won’t get up.”

“What do you mean, he won’t get up? He’s probably
just tired from a long day in school.”

“No! I have been screaming and hollering, and he
hasn’t said a word or even moved.”

Mrs. Johnson reached down to check Tim’s neck
for a pulse. She found a pulse, but something told her
things weren’t right.

“I’m going to get the car ready.” Mr. Johnson said
as he pulled the keys out of his pocket.

Mrs. Johnson put on her clothes and her son’s
clothes. She closed her eyes and said a short prayer
for her son. “Heavenly Father, please don’t let nothing
happen to my son. He is all I got.”

“Okay. Are you ready? Is everything ready to go?”
Mr. Johnson cut in.

He picked up his only son to carry him to the car.
“I will lock up and be right out,” Mrs. Johnson said
while getting the rest of her son’s things.

Mrs. Johnson locked the door, ran to the car, and
jumped in the back seat. She thought it would be wise
for someone to sit with her baby. Mr. Johnson backed
up without looking for passing traffic. He put the car
in drive and peeled rubber. He ran stop signs and became
eager to run traffic lights. The only reason he
didn’t was that there was oncoming traffic. When the
light changed to green, he was swift to pass other cars.
As a matter of fact, he became so swift that he came
very close to hitting someone.

“You see that?” Mr. Johnson asked.

“Yeah, he was a bum, right?”

Mr. Johnson moved his shoulders up and down to
say “I don’t know.”

“Well, please don’t stop. We’ve got to get our son
treated,” Mrs. Johnson replied, as she looked back and
noticed the bum sitting up on the street. She sighed
with relief. “He’s sitting up. You didn’t hit him.”

They maneuvered their way through traffic and
finally made it to the hospital. Mr. Johnson and his
wife sat in the emergency waiting room. Their son was
in a room with Mr. Johnson’s doctor. About two hours
later, another emergency came in from an ambulance.
Mr. Johnson got a glimpse at the guy.

“Honey, did you see that guy?” He asked while following
the stretcher with his eyes.

“It looked like that bum you almost hit!”

“Yeah, it did. I thought you said that you saw him
standing up.

Mrs. Johnson put her hand on his thigh to assure
him. “I did. Besides, there was no bang, so if we did hit
him it wasn’t that hard. That guy who came in looked
like he was about to die.”

“Okay. Well, someone else must have hit him.”
“I hope he is okay,” Mrs. Johnson said sincerely.
“Well, hopefully they won’t take their attention
from our son. I would like to know that our son’s life
will be more important than the life of some old bum,”
Mr. Johnson replied.

They sat in complete silence. Mr. Johnson daydreamed
and subconsciously listened to the receptionist
as she talked on the phone. She appeared to be
angry about something.

“Girl! You mean to tell me your man couldn’t come
back to watch his son so you could go to work? And
he promised to take him to McDonald’s and a movie,
too? Are you going to take him yourself? Girl, I told
you to leave him a long time ago. I mean, who needs
an irresponsible man? Hey, I will fill in for you. We
already had two emergencies. I don’t expect anymore
tonight. So go take care of your son, and don’t worry.
We will find some good men one day.”

The doctor walked into the waiting room and took
Mr. Johnson’s attention away from the receptionist.

“Well, your son is suffering from his heart condition,”
said Dr. Cashion, holding a clipboard with paperwork.
“Due to the late stage of the illness, your son
needs an immediate transplant or he may not make
it.”

“What do you mean?” Mr. Johnson said with a
raised brow.

Mrs. Johnson started to cry.

“My secretary put the word out already. She will
immediately contact me when she knows something,”
said the doctor.

A nurse came rushing in. “Doctor, you are needed
right away in the emergency room!"

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