Inspiring Short Stories
Isaiah stepped from the warm foyer, closed the front door and into the crisp morning air.
The sweetness of a new day and the stillness of the empty street caused his pulse to slightly quicken as if he’d downed a combined cappuccino and espresso, with unexpected renewal.
Gazing ahead, he spotted his favorite fir tree in the Victorian street divider laden with heavy branches that separated the large houses from each other on the cul de sac, where he lived.
Sampling the pleasant, dewy summer scent, he angled his head upward as he listened for the tree birds’ to begin their daily homage to the heavens.
Checking his aged Timex, he knew that in a few minutes the trees and the line poles themselves would erupt with tweeting and chirping.
Waiting for the coming explosion, he saw the daddy grackle’s blue black body cross the sky and into the foliage with its beck and talons dense with the chicks’ morning meal.
Immediately the clamoring chicks were silenced.
Isaiah watched as the mother’s glossy black wings lifted off a branch and into the quieted grey as was her pattern once her mate returned to supervise.
He wanted to get a gander at the babies and not just hear them from their cushioned lair.
Too often, he’d imagined that he might mount a tiny camera inside the nest but he knew that he was too old for all of that now, plus he might fall.
Searching his mind for ways to get a ladder across the street and up the tree with nosy neighbors and his wife watching his every move, he chuckled and mused, “I should do it and show them just how senile and crazy, I really am.”
Today, for some reason, the bird family inspired within him a dormant sentiment of protective fatherhood, duty and love.
Shunting his feelings, he marched down from his porch, grabbed the metal railing while asking himself where he should go for his daily exercise.
Something inclined him towards the left and he turned east in the direction of the boulevard, four blocks away.
Usually he avoided Haunt Boulevard with its congestion and shady merchants selling glittering junk.
The Haunt was simply too busy with noise, dirt and wild, careening vans,for him.
The entire area, the lack of any police presence reminded him of controlled chaos and impending violence so he shied away from the hodgepodge of scurrying people, honking, racing vehicles and wide- eyed, covetous beggars.
Everything on the boulevard was for sale but nothing there was worth buying and that bothered him, profusely.
T.V. commercials for the new and improved washing detergents, replayed themselves in his mind’s eye and in his opinion marked
King Solomon as a liar.
Continuing onto the next block, the bird’s song faded and he sensed a change.
A faint, muffled cry sounded as he approached the cemented, graffiti wall surrounding the block’s huge houses.
Obscene images spray painted on the wall forced him to wonder why the owners didn’t erase the dark phallic images.
Guessing that the writings belonged to the sons of the owners, he shuddered,moved along the wall and not wanting to touch it, he squinted and gawked at the gang writings, the penis drawings and the hoe sucking rhetoric.
The malice and base double standard disturbed him.
Once again reflected on the ritualized customs of men and boys in America.
A high-pitched French-African dialect that he knew was Creole, briefly halted his march.
Slowly proceeding, he rounded the wall and peered at a struggling middle-aged couple.
The woman’s strangled alarm causes his body to jerk with tension.
He instinctively prepared himself for either, fight or flight while admonishing and steeling himself with,” Slow down, don’t rush into danger, like an idiot!”
Yet Isaiah’s feet kept moving toward the boulevard and the voices.
The woman’s panicky pleas compelled and mesmerized him forward.
Rounding the contoured wall,he witnessed a woman shrilly speaking into her phone as the man slapped it from her ear.
Flying from of her hand, it fell onto the sidewalk and shattered.
She flinched away from him in shocked fright.
Raging with menacing hands as she shrunk he hovered, yelling and spitting out,” If I was in Haiti, I would kill you right now, you f…..g b….!”
Sensing Isaiah’s approach, the Haitian turned from the woman, lowered his raised hand, a tad and glared.
Isaiah could not stop himself so he made his stance in the small space between them.
He faced the man.
The shunned Haitian looked from the woman to Isaiah and back again with perplexed annoyance as if to say,” What? This is not your business, so buzz off!”
But there was something in Isiah’s eyes that made the violent man hesitate.
The woman’s terror had broke through to Isaiah and any brotherhood code with this man was lost.
He positioned his back to the woman and faced the bully with nothing but rising ill-will.
The Haitian’s expression changed from certain hatred to vexation to fear, in seconds within Isaiah’s viewing.
For Isaiah’s part, he was certain of this type who was big to women and children so he relaxed inwardly and braced himself for what he needed to do to make the bully walk away while he still had his petty pride.
Suddenly from the boulevard, came running feet.
Not knowing what was about to happen, he defensively pressed her until her back touched the wall with Isaiah’s torso towering over her.
A young man about twenty-five raced towards him and the couple.
The running man shouted something in French and quickly, she responded.
Trembling and weeping, she reached out for him, pushed pass Isaiah and collapsed into the young man, with great sobbing words.
It was clear to him that the young fellow was her son.
He held her and repeatedly said, “Oui, Mama, Oui Mama” and after comforting her for a time, he moved her behind him.
Holding one of her hands, the son searched the ground for the smashed phone and picking it up he turned on the older man with, “We are not in Haiti anymore, Dad. Touch my Mom again, and I promise you something that you will never forget.”
Isaiah moved from between the man, his son and the abused woman, not waiting for a retort or excuse.
Resuming his walk east, he found solace in that he had turned aside and stood.
Photograph by Aerogondo