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Short Stories by: Anthony Davis
last edited on Friday, July 15, 2005, 12:59 AM, CDST

Apathy

It was mid afternoon on a Friday and Tony was on his way home from work when he saw several people hanging out underneath the Stemmons Freeway overpass at Inwood Road. His car was in the shop for needed repairs and he was having to take a Dart bus to and from his job at OfficeMax on Stemmons. Tony was a computer sales associate.

One of the women approached Tony and asked if he had any money he could give her.
Tony told her he only had bus fair, but just didn't want to give any hand outs at the moment. Dwelling on his own personal problems, Tony crossed the light at the walkway that approached the front lot of a liquor store at Irving Blvd. For no good reason, Tony went inside, purchased a glass of ice and a fuzzy navel. an   alcoholic beverage that tasted a bit like orange juice with vodka but rather with rum or gin. While waiting for the bus, Tony hastily sipped through a straw and tried to finnish the fuzzy drink before the 83 medical center/ red bird bus came to ride back to Oak Cliff. He was half way finished when the bus came and he had to throw the rest of the drink on the ground.

You get into trouble drinking on a bus, and by now, Tony's breath already smelled bad enough to alert a driver that he had been drinking. Nobody seemed too concerned. At times, while he traveled to and from work for about 2 weeks, he witnessed everything from drunkards stumbling onto the bus caring a bag with a bottle of whiskey inside and the bus driver gave it no never mind.

One day, a man had a box with a lid on it and he removed the lid to reveal it's contents. Several huge knives, for hunting that were obviously too large to carry around in public knowing that the knife law limits you to carrying only knives that are about 6 to 7 inches when fully deployed. But these were not steak knives and when the man asked me in his poor english after trying in spanish, do you want see my knives mister? No thank you! Tony rebelled. I most certainly do not! He added. You know those knives are illegal to be selling on this bus, but to have them in your possession could land you in jail. The man got a bit nervous and after a few more blocks, he up and left the bus.

Once back into driving again, Tony no longer was taking the bus nor alternate rides with his drinking buddy who always gave his beer freely to him when he took his Chevy Z-28 Camero, carrying a cold ice chest full of ready to serve lite beer. By now, Tony had got back to drinking beer after trying so hard to stay off of it. But, driving to work was a thing he preferred to do on his own and back from work alone, also, and the men at the corners of Stemmons Freeway and Inwood Road were there carrying their card board signs every single morning and evening and every time Tony ignored them.

One day many years later, Tony was setting in the parking lot of the Good Will Store on North Hampton Road on the way towards Parkland Hospital, and his wife was inside doing some light shopping. He played his stereo taped music and had the window down at his side. A black woman approached him as he was almost half asleep, asking him,
Do you consider yourself a Christian? in reply Tony said: Yes, I think I am a pretty good Christian. Then, she asked, Will you prove it to me by giving me a few dollars so I can go over across the street and buy some food at the KFC and Taco Bell? Tony replied. I don't have any money, I'm sorry. She turned around and disappeared so quickly it was almost as if she had been a figment of his imagination.

So far, Tony never gave in to handing out money to strangers who begged for it, because his wife informed him that most of these beggars and bums and street people are all on drugs and are looking for gullible people like you to give them a few dollars, just so they can save up until they have enough to get some crack or other type of illicit street drug, so by giving them your money, you are actually contributing to their self destruction. Tony felt bad about that and every time he thought of giving in and handing a few dollars to a beggar on the street, he remembered his wife's wisdom.

But, as time went on, Tony kept on dealing with his conscience. Did I do the right thing? I could have made a bunch of tuna sandwiches, egg salad sandwiches and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and took them to the Down Town Dallas Central Public Library and handed out the food to the hungry homeless people who hang out there practically every day and especially on Sundays. But his wife told him, what if one of them got sick and wanted to sue you for poisoning? Would you want to have to deal with that? So in giving it further thought, Tony figured it was not such a good idea after all.

One day, his older brother BUBBA, had brought many many clothes to their Father's house, as BUBBA worked as a volunteer at St. Elizabeth's Church at South Hampton near Ledbetter aka Loop 12 and the several bags of clothing seemed full of  interesting items of men's and women's boy's and girl's clothes. Tony asked BUBBA this question: Why don't you take these donated clothes and give them to the people who really need them? The people at the Donation Center are probably expecting you to arrive there with the bags so they can sort them out and make them ready for donation. BUBBA replied: Tony, my little brother, charity begins at home, and our home is where I want to start with. After everyone has a chance to look through them then, I will bag them up and take them to the Donation Center. Tony was angered at that kind of flawed reasoning. So he decided he would not participate in it by taking any of the clothes for himself, even if they were the best thing he ever saw because he knew, deep down in his heart of hearts, that those clothes, all of them were not meant for us, but for the needy, the real down and out, and that the Church trusted BUBBA with them and in Tony's opinion, he was letting them down.

The issues of right and wrong were always clear cut for Tony. He knew the homeless, the street people and the drug addicts all needed help and their plight was not good in this apathetic city of Dallas. What was the answer? Tony didn't really have the right answers but he did know this, the problems of this city were ever increasing. Drive by shooting, drive by shouting, he laughed just a minute, a manic moment. Backwards wearing ball cap street spitting males who's sole attribute of maleness was that they could produce saliva enough to gross others out by contributing to the spread of nasty to the streets of Dallas as a so called macho thing. Tony read somewhere that spitting on sidewalks contributed to a great number of instances of or incidents of the spread of Tuberculosis aka TB. Why? because people walking barefoot on the side walks and parking lots might have an open wound on the sole of their feet and when they walk on top of wet TB infected saliva, even if it is dried out in the sand and sunlight, they can get it into their blood streams and that will cause the infection to become permanent in their body which could lead to death. Reason enough, Tony thought, for it to be harmful to spit in public and that it should be a crime punishable by a stiff fine, but no beat police walk the streets of Dallas, and they're cutting back in Fort Worth, Dallas' Sister City, of their police force numbers.

Nobody seems to care! I live in a city of Apathy and Indifference and Greed and Self Centeredness. Tony had lots of fears of bad things that happen to good people, but most of all he feared living in a city of apathy, a city that did not care about others.




 



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