8/23/2019 Part 86 Claire’s Story: How can I escape from this?

By      A. HosackK. Hecht & P. Berman 

Davy wasn’t dead. But that nightmare could come true. I don’t want to kill Davy or anyone else’s kid. 

Larry arrived at the booth on-time, as usual.  Martin was already sitting at the back. He said he just wanted to keep Larry company for a while, but Larry knew something was up. Martin being in his booth meant his own would be closed. It must be because of the dream. Larry had controlled himself well around the gang, saying what he figured they wanted to hear. But last night he had woken up screaming Davy’s name; he had been so loud- he had woken Martin up in the room next door. After a moment of being disorientated, Larry realized Martin was talking to him, “Why were you screaming your kid’s name. (1-minute pause) You said you were forgetting that old life- you said it wasn’t worth remembering.” (2-minute pause) 

Larry didn’t know what to say, “huh?” he said, pretending to still be groggy from sleep. “Larry, what is up with you. I asked you why you were calling out Davy’s name?” “I don’t know man, it’s weird but it doesn’t mean anything.” They had gone back to sleep but now, five minutes into the workday, Martin was at the back of his booth.  

“You seem to be doing a good business this morning,” Martin said. “Yeah, I have some dependable customers here. I don’t know where they get the money. I couldn’t have afforded this stuff when I was a kid. (2- minute silence while Larry is passing some goods to some kids) Where are they getting all this money to spend?” Larry said curiously. “It’s the neighborhood, Larry. That’s why your booth is here. These kids get allowances and they get paid for helping at home,” Martin replied. “I got paid for taking care of my brothers and sisters too,” Larry said, “That’s why I could buy myself this great store.” Martin snorted. 

Larry had been on autopilot, listening for this week’s password and handing out the tee-shirts. Then, the autopilot shut off. There, in front of him was a boy looking just like the Davy in his dream. He had the right password, but Larry was just stupidly staring at him.  The kid said the password again, this time, louder. Larry gave him a hard look and a tee-shirt, without drugs. The kid felt in the tee-shirt for the packet that wasn’t there. “Hey, I said the password,” he said, shoving the tee-shirt back at Larry.” Larry whispered in his angriest voice, you get out of here and I don’t want you ever to come back here.” Larry tossed the kid’s money in the grass. 

The kid was scared and angry. He picked up his money and ran off. Larry carefully refolded the tee-shirt and tried to act as if nothing had happened. “Larry, the kid said the right word. What is wrong with you. Why did you throw that money away,” Martin was absolutely sure now he would have to report Larry to the boss. First, Larry had screamed his kid’s name in his sleep, now he was refusing to sell drugs to someone who had the password.  

“Martin, something just felt wrong to me about that kid. I have seen him before prowling around at the beginning of the school day. He has always spent more time talking to teachers, than the other kids. I don’t trust him. I don’t care that he had the password. I am not going back to jail!” Larry’s answer made sense, but Martin still didn’t believe him. Martin hated to tell on Larry but, he had to put his own family first. If the boss said Larry had to go, that would be it. He said goodbye to Larry and walked off until he was out of sight, then he pulled out his cell phone. 


Martin didn’t know it, but Larry had snuck out behind him and was listening to the phone call from behind a tree. He was in trouble. The question was, how much. By the time Martin put the phone back in his pocket, Larry knew he was going to have to do something- quick. He rushed back to his booth, sold a few more tee-shirts and then locked the booth down. He looked quickly around and rushed off down the block, headed for church. It was too early for a service, but Larry knew the Priest would show up soon. He would into the confessional, turned on the light to indicate he was in there, and waited for help to arrive. He checked his money. He could take a bus out of town but where? He had to avoid Claire and Davy, or he would put them in danger. He was on parole so he couldn’t just disappear. Larry prayed to God that the Priest could help him. 

Larry had never directly asked God for help before. He listened to the prayers of others, but he just couldn’t get himself to ask for help from a God he wasn’t sure existed. The first time he took help was from Manuel.   Manuel had seen him struggling in the library and had offered to help. It had been hard for Larry but overtime, he had come to be able to accept this help and it had really paid off. He had learned a lot from reading books with Manuel and from attending church services with him. He didn’t know if he was capable of it, but he knew now that people could live very differently than he did- they didn’t have to make each other bruise and bleed just because they were angry. Larry wanted a life like this, and he knew it wasn’t going to happen if he didn’t get out of Philadelphia and away from the gang. 

Larry was being his own advocate. He didn’t know what to do so he was directly asking someone for help. Someone he thought might have an answer that could help him. Are you struggling with a problem? Is there someone out there, a teacher, a social worker, a politician who might know something you need to know?  

Consider being your own advocate this week and asking for help from someone who might be able to provide it. 


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