MAKE MINE MYSTERY : HARD CORE OR COZY, JUST KEEP ME GUESSING

Random Writings


NO VACANCY
by Sherry

Between the hours of midnight and dawn, the old man wanders the streets alone. Even the hazy night can't hide the bleak ugliness that surrounds him. A shaft of light escapes through a torn shade in a dilapidated building and makes crazy patterns on the broken sidewalk. Ahead is an eerie glow that paints a pastel picture on the wall of the fog-grey night. The old man recognizes the Aurora Hotel sign by the way it flashes...

NO VACANCY... NO VACANCY... NO VACANCY...

In the corner of an alley, a box moves as its restless occupant tries to get warm, but the old man takes little notice as he shuffles past. A sudden crash of garbage cans thunders through the streets as two cats face off over a scrap of food. His stomach rumbles almost as loud as the garbage cans. The cats circle and hiss before launching an all-out attack, their screams shattering into his apathetic mind. His stomach rumbles again. If his luck doesn't improve tomorrow, he might have to jump into the frey.

He continues on, looking for a particular doorway. There is little time to rest before the day begins. He shuffles slowly, making strange swooshing sounds in the over-sized shoes stuffed with paper. His coat hangs loose from his too lean frame. It had fit once, but now there is room to stuff the papers that will keep him warm.

NO VACANCY... NO VACANCY... NO VACANCY...

A siren wails somewhere in the distance, or do his old ears hear a baby's cries? Sights and sounds are no longer clear - too many years and too much wine have dulled them.

Around the corner comes a speeding car. Lights flash quickly across the old man, casting him in silhouette only for a moment. Flashes of fire spit toward him as the sound of three shots reverberates off the buildings, and the sulfurous smell of gunpowder fills his nostrils. The hotel window explodes into tiny crystals around him and a piece of the flashing sign crashes at his feet. In the same instant, the old man crumples to the sidewalk. He hears laughter mingle with the roar of the car's engine as it races away.

While the old man's life oozes from his body and flows into the gutter, tears etch their way through the whiskers and grime covering his leathery face. Fleeting scenes from his past and present intertwine. No one will mourn his passing. In this overcrowded world of people like him - homeless, friendless, and alone - one less person only means more room.

His dying eyes see the neon sign still flashing. A smile softens his grizzled face.

VACANCY... VACANCY... VACANCY...

Maybe this is the legacy he leaves behind, or perhaps... his epitaph.


NOTE:
This story is dedicated to the homeless of our world; the visible invisible; the ignored; the forgotten; the voiceless; the disposable of our society. The sad truth is, as our nation struggles with a budget of billions of dollars,  families (not just single men) are losing their homes and livelihoods in ever increasing numbers.

When you curl up in your comfortable bed tonight, remember the families just like yours, who may be living in an old car, bathing in a public bathroom, and praying for a job. Remember also, the children whose only source of a hot meal is when they're at school. Budget cuts don't affect the ones making them, but they sure affect the ones on the receiving end.

Look through your closets or your attics, in all those boxes of forgotten and little used items for needed items like; little used clothing, especially baby/children's clothes, school supplies, and toiletry items. In winter; jackets, warm clothing,and blankets or sleeping bags. Most of these people aren't looking for a hand-out, just a helping hand.. Tomorrow, it could be any one of us.















No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you!