The sun glaring through the window woke me up. I got out of bed and got dressed. I proceeded into the kitchen where I ate cold cereal for breakfast, just like every morning for the past 3 years. It was time to go to work. I stepped outside and walked at a leisurely pace down Madison Ave. It was the best time of year for my line of work: the summer when all of the tourists came to New York. I got to the city square, and as usual, the very same cliques were there, and in numbers today. 'It looks to be a very good day,' I thought as I smiled to myself. I saw a white man in his late 30's. Guessed he looked kind of lost. 'Perfect,' I thought to myself. 'Time to work.' I calmly and confidently stepped up to the man.
"Hello, sir. Can I help you?"
"Yes. I am looking for the Madison Hotel."
"Yes, yes... Oh, okay. Go three blocks down, and take a right. It will be on your left. You can't miss it"
"You're welcome. Have a good day sir."
I walked away with not only a smile on my face, but with the man's wallet in my pocket. I opened it up to see 48 dollars, a Discover, and a MasterCard. A couple of hours and 4 wallets later, I decided to get lunch. So far, I had acquired 6 credit cards, 726 dollars, and several patent leather, hand-made Italian billfolds. I decided to go to my favorite place a little bistro called daVinci's. They have the best pizza. But then, I saw the man. He was about 6 feet tall, with a dark chocolate complexion. He was actually walking in circles - even an amateur could easily recognize that he was lost. Perfect.
I cautiously approached him, like a lion stalking his pray.
"Hello, sir. Can I help you?"
"Yes. Do you, by any chance, know where the movie theater is?"
"Ah, yes. No problem. Go down 52nd Ave. and take a left. It'll be right there. You can't miss it."
"Thank you, so much."
"No problem, sir. My pleasure."
I was practically bouncing up the street as I opened up the mans wallet. I found three hundred dollars and three credit cards. I glanced at the name on one of the cards. 'Mr. Johnson,' I thought. 'Thank you very much, Mr. Johnson.' I arrived at the restaurant feeling very good indeed. After my 4-course meal Italian feast, I privately made a toast to Mr. Johnson. 'May he increase his own happiness like he has mine.' I decided I was done for the day, and started on my way home. Little did I know, something was about to happen that would change my life forever. On my way back, I passed through a small alley. As I got to the end of the small alley I saw him, I saw my gracious benefactor. A little white girl had fallen down, and Mr. Johnson was kindly helping her up. The mother saw what was going on, and started to scream and yell for help. The mother started to hit Mr. Johnson with her bag and continued to scream. Mr. Johnson tried to explain to her that he was just trying to help, but she would not listen, and incessantly panicked. A few men heard the noise, and came barreling out of a house carrying a couple of bats. The 3 men, who were all white and each about 5 or 6 feet, started yelling at Mr. Johnson. One of the white men hit Mr. Johnson across the face. They all started punching him and hitting him with the bats. They just would not stop. They kept swearing at him, and spitting on him. I wanted to scream: "Stop! Stop! What are you doing?" But I could not. I just stood there, frozen, and was unable to say anything. He was only trying to help - only trying to help a little girl up off of the street. Then, one of the white men pulled out a knife and proceeded to stab Mr. Johnson several times. Then, the 3 white men ran away, dropping the bats as they ran. There, he was the man I had stole from, laying dead in his own pool of blood - alone in a dark alley. It was unfair I had stole from this man when he was looking for my help, and because of this, he is dead. Then it hit me: I killed him. He probably came looking for me when he was killed. I was responsible. I heard the sirens and I ran. I just ran. I realized that I had not only stole his wallet - I had stolen his life. Tears streamed down my face as I ran. God had given me a second chance to realize what I had done. Yes, God had given me a second chance, and Mr. Johnson had paid for it.
back to the Short Story Page.A Second Chance, 4 August 2005