“A long walk home”
By Joseph DiBartolo
The click of his phone closing was drowned out by an obscenity James blurted out as he exited the restaurant and discovered it was raining. His call to his friend Greg went unanswered, which means that he got drunk and passed out so James would be walking home from work. James, being the conventional type of course had his umbrella with him. As he began to open the gigantic awning of an umbrella, two police cars went by with great haste in the same direction he was walking. He instantly began wondering what was going on that required such urgency for the police. Although leading a mundane life for the most part he often longed for some adventure or even danger.
About a mile into his 5 mile hike on this damp Boston night James became startled by a sudden commotion coming from a nearby alleyway. Without hesitation he dashed into the dark narrow corridor to see what was happening. As he turned the corner he instantly reacted to the man running towards him with a woman’s purse by lowering his shoulder and spearing him into the dumpster immediately rendering him unconscious. He kept his composure and grabbed the purse and headed down the alley towards the woman who was a bit shaken up to say the least. James was at a loss for words as he approached the woman due to her unmatched beauty.
“Are you alright?” asked James, as he handed the woman her purse. “Yes, thank you so much,” she replied. “My name is Natasha, what’s yours?” “Hey, I’m James” he said, beginning to get a bit nervous due to his lack of experience talking to women. Luckily, before he said anything asinine, her ride pulled up. She told James that she worked across the street at the bookstore and that he should come to visit her. After thanking him again for his courageous act, she jumped in the faded red jeep and departed.
Before James continued his walk home he went to see if the thief had a pulse. He was relieved to find that he did and then quickly got out of there before anyone saw him. After jogging for a few minutes to put some distance between him and the unknown perpetrator, James realized he dropped his umbrella during the incident. The rain had subsided by this point and he was not about to go back to find it. It was quiet out being that it was late and not much traffic around. He began to replay the incident again in his head with the thief and the beautiful Natasha. With an almost goofy smile of satisfaction on his face, James was unaware that his 5 mile adventure was just beginning.
As James continued to recap the earlier event his thoughts were interrupted by the sound of sirens. It seemed the sirens were getting louder and louder which could only mean that they were getting closer. The possibility of someone seeing what happened made him think the fuzz was coming for him. He quickly ducked into an alleyway only to see a man running by who happened to drop a small package on the wet sidewalk. Only seconds later two police vehicles made their way past my location at dangerously high speeds. Although relieved that they were not after him, James could not take his eyes off the small brown envelope just laying a few feet from him.
Looking at the little brown envelope with much scrutiny, James calmly grabbed it and instantly knew what was inside. He gave a quick glance in each direction and continued heading home at a rapid pace. Quickly peeking inside he could see the thick stack of hundreds. His heart began racing making it hard for him to keep his composure. As James passed the next alleyway he noticed a woman and her daughter curled up together by the dumpster. He thought to himself that these could only be ill-gotten gains and should be put to good use. Without counting James took a stack of cash from the envelope and gave it to the woman with advice to go find a motel and some food.
For the next half mile he kept his head on a swivel looking out for anyone suspicious. Up to this point in his journey home he almost felt like some sort of superhero who could do anything. Overwhelmed with feelings of excitement and anxiety, James attempted to calm himself with thoughts of his next encounter with the lovely bookstore girl. This feeling of bliss almost made him forget about the massive stack of cash bulging from his back pocket. He had never seen so much cash nor had this much adventure in his entire tedious existence. Things had seemed to calm down a bit as he passed by the local watering hole that was known for their unsavory clientele.
Still deep in thought about the recent events James thought he noticed Natasha inside the bar. The bar was packed so he could not be certain. Not wanting to push his luck or look to eager he decides not to go in. Whether it was her or not it really stimulated his imagination. Suddenly out of the corner of his eye, James noticed a black SUV quickly pass and something didn’t seem quite right. The woman driving looked panicked from the brief glimpse he got. It seemed as if she was trying to stop but couldn’t. Then as she came to the intersection she was plowed by a black sedan that had the green light.
The loud collision was heard by everyone around, and inside the pub, even with the music blaring. James and a couple others ran over to assist as another woman quickly dialed 911. He was able to pull the little boy from the car seat which was miraculously still in tact. The brunt of the blow was on the front end, and the other man pulled the woman out, who seemed to have a broken arm. Shortly after the rescue, the paramedics showed up and quickly attended to the woman and her son. James heard applause coming from behind him and turned to see that the entire pub had emptied onto the street. It only took a second for him to recognize that the woman clapping the loudest and running towards him was Natasha.
“Oh my god James that was great,” said Natasha, as she approached him in the middle of the mayhem. “Hey you, I thought I saw you in there as I passed by but then the accident happened,” James replied. “So is this an average night for you, going around saving people all night long?” asked Natasha. As he was just about to answer, James noticed the man who dropped his envelope full of cash was in the crowd staring right at him. The thick brown envelope was bulging from his back pocket in plain sight for the stranger to see. Drawing attention to myself trying to play superhero was probably not the smartest idea considering the night I had, James thought to himself. “Hey Natasha, I gotta get goin,” he quickly said. “I’ll walk with you,” she said. Feeling uneasy about letting her come thinking this guy may follow, James agreed and they departed the scene.
They had been walking for about ten minutes now, and there was no indication that the stranger was tailing them. James would still give a quick glance over his shoulder every couple of minutes to be safe. They had been getting to know each other a bit during their stroll, and James became more relaxed as they neared his apartment. Suddenly James heard the sound of a man clearing his throat behind them, no doubt to get their attention. He quickly turned and noticed the man standing there, shivering, perhaps in fear of the much larger James. As he walked towards the little man, James turned to Natasha telling her to stay back, unaware the man was concealing a pocket knife up his sleeve, James walked right into a brutal assault to the ribs. Dropping to his knees holding his ribcage, the assailant quickly snatched the envelope along with his wallet and took off into a dark alley. Natasha began screaming frantically as she rifled through her purse looking for her phone, and called 911.
A couple hours had gone by since James passed out, and was now starting to come to. In a bit of a daze, the bright white walls made him think he was in either heaven or the hospital. Seeing Natasha’s face did not make him come to any conclusions as to where he was since she looked like an angel. Then the doctor walking in made James realize he was still alive. The doctor told him he would be a little weak due to the blood loss, but he would be just fine. With a feeling of relief, James turned his attention to the door as his friend Greg walked in with a guilty look on his pale face.
His first instinct when Greg walked in was to get up and pummel him. Then reason was able to prevail, and James realized that Greg not answering the phone was the best thing that ever happened to him. If it had not been for his unreliable, drunk of a friend, James would not have met Natasha the way he did, or save the people he did. In a way, Greg was the real hero because he set this whole night in motion. The knife wound was even warmly welcomed because the scar will forever remind James of the greatest night of his life. Just as Greg was about to speak, James grabbed his forearm and said, “Thank you”. Finally, he laid his head back, closed his eyes, and smiled from ear to ear.