Late in the warm, humid, summer evenings, the neighbors of Belmont Terrace would ritualistically gather on the cement stoop of Anna, the resident manager. She loved the company of her neighbors and considered all of them to be close friends. “Hey girl,” said Annette, “what you up to? ” Annette was a older woman, a widow, with short gray hair and an attitude to match. “Not much”, replied Anna. “I’m just sitting here relaxing for a few minutes before going in to get another glass of tea. ” Annette walked up and sat down on the step below Anna. They exchanged obvious comments on the humidity in the air and the need for rain.
Anna got up to get a refill on her tea and offered Annette a glass. Within moments, Anna had returned with two glasses of cold iced tea. Slowly walking up the sidewalk in front of the stoop was a young man by the name of Timmy. “How’s it going, Timmy? ” asked Annette. “Man, it’s hotter out here than the inside of a furnace when it’s thirty below”, he said with a chuckle. Timmy had sweat dripping from his head to his feet. He worked for a restaurant as the lead cook that was some eleven blocks away. Anna had gotten up and quickly returned with a cold glass of iced tea for Timmy. “Oh Anna, you are a lifesaver.
Thanks”, he said before guzzling the entire glass. Within a matter of minutes, the regular attendees to the evening stoop sessions had gathered. Brian, the head maintenance man, and his wife Jessie were there. Jason, a fellow neighbor and eye-candy to Anna, was there as well. A few moments later, Bonnie, a. k. a. Barracuda, had walked up to the stoop with a soda and her lawn chair. Space to sit on the stoop ENGLISH 3 quickly filled up once the conversation and laughs began. “How ya doing, Anna?
”, asked Bonnie. “I’m hanging in there. Next week is gonna be a terror though with rent due”, she said. Brian casually brought up the destruction in a recently vacated apartment in the complex. Many in the group just sat there shaking their heads in disbelief as he described the extent of the damage. “Can you believe it? Within a matter of only two-months that they lived here, I have had to replace nine sheets of drywall, two sink faucets, a garbage disposal, a dishwasher…”, Brian started before Timmy interrupted. “A dishwasher? I thought you just put a new one in there right before they moved in”, Timmy added.
“I did, but apparently they didn’t have a washing machine so they were using the dishwasher to wash their clothes…oh, and store garbage”, Brian said. Noises of disgust were exchanged amongst the group. “Yeah, I took twenty-one bags of trash out of a one bedroom apartment today. Anna, you gotta get them to let you run tougher background checks and pre-screen these idiots a little harder ‘cause I can’t keep doing this. Not for what I’m getting paid. ” “I know Brian, but my hands are tied, and you know that. At least you aren’t working over on Kassel Street right now”, she said. “Kassel Street? ”, asked Jessie.
“What’s the deal over on Kassel? ”, inquired Timmy. “Didn’t you all hear about that guy who went nuts over there last night? ”, asked Brian. “No, what happened? ”, asked Bonnie. ENGLISH 4 “Well”, Anna began, “Officer Terry came in today to pick up the list of illegal vehicles to be towed out of here on Friday, and he told me that he felt like he was walking on stumps. When I asked him why, he said that he’d been on call all last night because of the murder-suicide over on Kassel Street last night.
Do any of you remember the guy who used to live over in 515? ” “I do. He gave me the creeps every time I walked to the mailbox”, said Bonnie. “Didn’t he have like a wife and some kids or something? ”, asked Jessie. “Yeah, he did”, replied Anna. “Anyways, he moved his wife and kids over to Kassel right after we evicted him from here. ” Annette interrupted Anna and asked, “He got evicted cause he never paid his rent didn’t he? I always thought he was a bum. I never saw him leave for work ever, but he would hang all over the postal boxes every other Friday just waiting for that unemployment check or something.
“Well, I’m really not supposed to say anything, but I guess it really doesn’t much matter now. He was evicted because we had gotten so many complaints from other neighbors over in his building about loud thuds, bangs, a woman screaming, and kids crying at all hours of the night. I was told to urge the complaining tenants to call the police if it happened again. Officer Terry told me that they had him under surveillance for over two weeks because of reports of possible illegal drug activity at his new place. They went to his house last night to serve a search warrant and there he sat, on the floor with a .
45 pointed at his head”, Anna said. “Oh my goodness, did he shoot one of the police officers? ”, asked Annette. “No, but after seeing him with the gun at his head they looked around and saw the bodies of his wife and two children lying in pools of blood on the hallway floor. Officer Terry said it ENGLISH 5 looked like she was trying to get the kids out of the house because there was a bloody handprint on the doorknob of the back door.
He also said that she was less than three feet from the door where they found her and that she had her arms around her children,”, Anna concluded. Annette, Jessica, and Bonnie were crying. Anna was fighting back her own tears when she got up and went into her apartment. She returned moments later with a box of tissues. “What in the world would make somebody so messed up? ”, asked Timmy. “He was a screwball anyway, so it really doesn’t matter how he got that way. What’s even screwier is that the police were there, but they hadn’t received any calls from neighbors about hearing gunshots? ”, Jason asserted.
He stood up and lit a cigarette, and began walking around the front area of the stoop. “Is that jerk still alive? ”, asked Jessie. “Officer Terry said that he shot himself as soon as he recognized that they were there”, Anna added. “You know, I couldn’t do that, ya know? I mean, I couldn’t hear something like a gunshot and do nothing. Maybe I’m paranoid by nature or something, but I couldn’t just sit idly by and wonder what the noise was. ” “I agree. I couldn’t just sit there either. I care too much about all of you”, said Bonnie. “I kind of think of you all as like my family, ya know?
I mean, Annette is like the mom, Brian fixes our messes, Jessie fixes Brian, Bonnie is the big sister, Timmy is the little brother, and I’m like the big brother”, Jason said laughingly but with sincerity. “So what is Anna in our family? ”, asked Timmy. “Anna is the drop of glue that keeps us all together “, said Jason. The End ENGLISH 6 I Need to Go to the Store Have you ever just needed to run to the store and pick-up one item?
What should be a normal and easy experience can quickly turn into a very long joke. During the past Christmas season, I found that I was out of scotch-tape. Of course as luck would have it, I ran out of tape on Christmas Eve. The very thought of going into the only store open for business after twelve noon on Christmas Eve invariably left a terrible taste in my mouth. The very thought of having to be hustled and bustled and accosted by the Santa perched at the store entrance ringing an annoying clanging bell was not how I had imagined spending Christmas Eve.
Suffice it to say, I threw on a clean pair of sweat pants, my winter coat, and mittens and set out on my holiday quest for adhesive tape. Much to my surprise, the streets were not as crowded as I had originally imagined. As I continued travelling, my journey was hindered by a parade of stop lights. It seemed that I was destined to hit every light in town. At one particular light, I had stopped alongside of a minivan. Inside the minivan was the typical American family image of my Christmases past. Dad looked like he’d rather be anywhere but in that vehicle.
Mom was sitting half-way in the front seat and half-way in the back seat. The children in the backseat couldn’t be seen because of the tinted windows, but they were undoubtedly heard by one and all. I could only imagine that their trip had about five hours of driving time remaining. I laughed out loud at my humorous prediction without worry of who may have heard me because no one in the free world could have heard me over the noise coming from the minivan next to me. As the light changed from the yuletide red to the festive green, I was once again on my quest and search.
I spent the next hour looking for a place to park. I now realized why the ENGLISH 7 traffic was so easy to maneuver. It was because everyone in town was at the store! I found a parking spot and ventured to the front entrance hoping to avoid the Santa with his clanging bell. In theory, no one was ever supposed to see Santa. He was to enter and disappear without notice in the wee hours of Christmas Eve with a sleigh full of toys and travelling with a slew of reindeer.
Hhmmm. Another childhood theory shot full of holes. Once safely inside and away from the imposter Santa, I headed straight for the stationary department to retrieve my tape, and head for a checkout lane that might process my sale sometime before New Year’s Eve. Much to my surprise, the store was sold out of tape! How could a store be out of tape on Christmas Eve? This was unheard of. This was un-American. I grabbed a store clerk and inquired about other areas in the store that might have additional tape, and then began my scavenger hunt.
A store of this magnitude could manage to be in full stock of items like eggnog, pine scented candles, and wrapping paper, but they forgot to order an abundance of the one item that would surely sell at Christmas time. I found bows galore while searching for the famed tape supply. I even found a complete aisle dedicated to pets at Christmas. It was full of squeaky toys, dog bones with bows, kitty-cat condos, and pet beds with satin sheets. I found myself become more and more discouraged over the fact that I may never find the tape.
I decided finally that it was a hopeless cause and surrendered to the fact that the store was indeed sold out of tape. I began my shameful walk towards the front of the store via the clothing section. In my defeat, I felt the urge to hide myself from view of others who had easily found their desired items. In doing so, a young boy who couldn’t have been any older than a year or so, was sitting in the seat of the cart while his mother was looking for socks in a big bin of ENGLISH 8 selections. I happened to notice that she had five; yes I counted them, rolls of tape in her shopping cart.
For a moment I hesitated in doing what felt so natural, but then the seasonal spirit of shopping hit me. I circled around and re-approached her cart from the opposite side where she could not see me. I casually gave the impression that I was looking at the selection of underwear, and then I did it. I retrieved one roll of tape out of her cart. I immediately headed to the front of the store to pay for my celebrated item.
After doing so, I cheerfully donated my remaining change into the collection bucket next to the clanging Santa, and with a smile might I add. After returning home, I realize that I should have felt some level of guilt or remorse for what I had done, but that did not happen. I managed to convince myself that what I had done was actually for the betterment of someone’s Christmas. If this woman had been allowed to purchase such a vast amount of tape, then she would most assuredly have enough tape to wrap all those socks that she had in her hands. Socks are the most despised and disappointing present that one could offer at Christmas.
I managed to keep in the seasonal shopping spirit by hustling an unsuspecting customer out of her tape, bustle my way through the check-out line, and I holly-jollied my way all the way home. I finished wrapping my remaining presents, and headed straight to bed. It was an exhausting adventure, and I needed my sleep in case a sleigh full of toys and a bunch of reindeer decided to adorn my home with a clanging and banging Santa. The End ENGLISH 9 We the Jury…
The minute hand on the clock seemed to be frozen in time. What seemed like hours passing by were only a few moments in reality. I sat in the chair adjacent to my attorney anxiously awaiting the jury’s entrance into the courtroom. The air in the courtroom was absent of any true scent. The furniture was all made of heavy solid oak. The chairs were wooden and very uncomfortable as I had discovered over the last several days of my trial. My attorney kept mumbling different legal phrases to me and offered explanations of what actions could be taken if the decision was not in our favor.
Still, I sat very impatiently awaiting the jury’s return. As I sat waiting, my mind began replaying different events that had taken place in my life over many years. I remembered my birthday parties as a young child and family gatherings like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter. I remembered specific school teachers, especially the ones who weren’t deserving of any memory at all. I was reminded of my early high school days where I didn’t really feel as though I fit in. My number of friends was limited to a select few, but by my senior year, I had gained a status of popularity due in part to the guy that I was dating.
It was almost an unspoken rule that if a girl dated an athlete then she was automatically permitted to participate in the group activities of the popular crowd. I began attending parties and going on trips to the mall with the other girlfriends of athletes. We shopped for our prom gowns together and celebrated our graduation together like a members’ only society of our own. Suddenly, the prosecuting attorney shut the lid of his briefcase and I was shocked out of my past and back into this hideous reality that was now my life. Legal phrases like “thirty years to life” and “without the possibility of parole” lingered in my mind.
Once again my mind carried me to happier days when I was truly permitted to be myself. As I glanced over at the twelve ENGLISH 10 empty chairs, I was reminded of the empty seats behind the pulpit of my father’s church. He had been a minister my entire life, and the choir always sat directly behind him in what was termed the choir loft. Shortly before the services commenced, the choir would enter into the choir loft via an side door and file into their respective seats.
The noise of their robes swishing was as fresh in my mind as though it had all occurred yesterday. Then I heard a voice. “All rise. The court of the Honorable Judge Curtis James is now in session”, announced the court bailiff. “You may be seated”, stated the judge. “Bailiff, you may instruct the jury to enter the courtroom. ” The bailiff promptly exited through the door by which the judge had just entered. Within a matter of seconds, he reappeared and the twelve members of the jury re-entered the courtroom. The courtroom was overrun with silence as the jury entered.
There was a distinct swishing noise made by some of the female jury members wearing dresses. “You may be seated”, the judge instructed. The judge appeared to be fumbling around with the paperwork in front of him when he said, “Members of the jury, have you reached a decision? ” One lone man stood up and responded, “Yes, your honor. We have. ” A small piece of paper was passed between the man to the bailiff. The bailiff gave it to the judge who read its contents, and he then passed it back to the bailiff. The bailiff then returned the white paper to the man who was still standing. “Mr.
Carlisle, please instruct your client to stand as the decision of the jury is pronounced”, the judge instructed. “Mr. Foreman, what say you? ” ENGLISH 11 “We the jury, in the matter of Commonwealth of Virginia versus Henry Conner, find the defendant guilty on the charge of forcible rape”, stated the jury foreman. He then lowered the piece of paper to his side. “The court has recorded the decision of the jury. Members of the jury, this court thanks you for your time.
You are excused. Mr. Carlisle, your client will be remanded to the county detention center immediately. Sentencing will begin on Monday at nine in the morning. This court is adjourned. ” With one slight smack of the gavel, the judge stood up and exited the courtroom. My nightmare was finally over. I could finally begin to move forward; to make new memories. I had spent the last year in torture following the rape. I had become a recluse and withdrawn from most of my friends and had become inconsolable. My family initiated contact with me by telephone, emails, and even dropping by from time to time, but I just couldn’t bring myself to move forward.
This issue was still unresolved in my book. I needed closure and certainty that justice would prevail and punishment would be imposed. I could now sleep again. This was by far the most painful memory in my life, but I survived and now it is just that; a memory. The End Much inspiration and ideas were acquired through research and conversations with friends (Bulman, 2007). It is through these portals that I have been able to venture out and write in ways I had only once imagined. Thank you for this opportunity. References Bulman, C. (2007). Creative writing: a guide and glossary to fiction writing. Malden, MA: Polity Press.