Dressed in jeans, a turtleneck, cloth maroon scarf, and loafers underneath a long black wool pea coat, Terry sat on a bench next to a public bathroom and watched as the busy people hustled past him. It was chilly out but not enough to keep most people inside. He liked to come to this place and people watch. It was amusing to see how many people didn’t give regard to their fellow man enough to even pause and smile. It was all really very sad when he thought about it.
For the last three months, he’d come to this place to remind himself he was in fact human; that the world cared about something. On this chilly day, he sat back on the bench and smiled at several passersby, when a woman with a child came strolling by. She didn’t bother to look in Terry’s direction. However, she held the child’s band tighter as he stared at Terry with curiosity. He appeared to be a bit dazed and hyperactive but he smiled at Terry and Terry waived in return.
Terry felt whole at that moment. The simple eyes of a child had changed his mind about humanity. He hustled from his seat to catch up with the woman and her son, but they were nowhere in sight. He turned left then right then left again only to be greeted continuously by more of the same; more people with no smiles and vanishing hope and no light in their eyes. Terry clutched the envelope in his pocket tightly and headed home.
Terry returned to his usual spot on the bench next to the public restroom and began his afternoon of people watching. With his hands planted in his coat pockets, he smiled at passersby and awaited a friendly return when the lady with the little boy happened upon him once again. The lady still looking forward wouldn’t make eye contact with Terry, but the boy did again. Terry smiled and pulled the envelope from his pocket and quickly passed it to the boy whose mother pulled him along by hand with a tug. With a raised brow, Terry smiled at himself because this day his social experiment would begin. Terry stood to walk away when he felt a tug on his coat. It was the little boy and his mother. The woman smiled and thanked him for such a generous thing.
Terry nodded and crouched down so that he was eye to eye in front of the boy. “Thank you, young man.” He said shaking the boy’s hand. The hyperactive boy pulled the object from the envelope and giggled while jumping up and down shouting “Where? Where? Where? Where?” Terry looked up at the mother and tapped the upper left side of his coat. Without hesitation, the mother let the boy’s hand go and with both hands the boy jabbed the crochet needle in the corner of Terry’s right eye.
Crimson rain sprang out of Terry’s face and onto the boy and his mother as he fell to the ground. His face hit the concrete path, driving the crochet needle deeper into his skull while the boy clapped his hands in excitement and giggled. The woman knelt down and turned him over as onlookers gasped, screamed and ran in various directions. No one came to Terry’s aide. The woman felt around for the envelope in his breast pocket and pulled it out of its security blanket. She stood to unveil the envelope’s contents when three police officers came upon her guns drawn. “Stop right there!” They shouted. “Don’t move!”
Still clapping with an increasingly frantic motion, the boy shouted, “Where?Where?” as the woman held her hands in the air gripping the envelope. One officer slowly approached and snatched it from her hands. She stood silent. The officer opened the envelope, there was a note inside that read;
Thank you for proving how vile humanity really is. The prize you’ve won is my entire fortune as promised and a trip to jail for murder. The bonus for me is I get to leave this world and float away to heaven while you will spend eternity in hell for greed.
The officer looked puzzled. The boy pulled the first note from his mother’s pockets and handed it to the officer, it read;
You’ve made my heart sing because you noticed me! For that, I will reward you if you can bring yourself to complete a simple task. Using the instrument in this envelope help me see the place I’ve longed to go. My entire fortune is yours for the taking and I promise that you will go places you’ve never imagined.
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the
product of the author’s imagination or are used fictiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.
First Edition: December 2014
Printed in the United States of America
Giggles in the Park Sabrina Childress