A Time For Change – an incomplete short story

city-997390Andre winced as a sharp pain pierced his side. He didn’t even realize he was being shot at, until several bullets found their home in the wall behind him with several consecutive thuds as they buried themselves in the dirty cinder block. Andre wasn’t just being shot at, he had been shot. He heard tires screech as a black sedan made a sloppy U-turn and headed back to where he was standing. He saw the muzzle of a gun flash as several more bullets were sent in his direction. Andre wasn’t able to see who was shooting, he had to think quick to stay alive. Diving behind a half filled dumpster. Several more bullets hit the wall where he was standing a moment ago, and a few more pierced the front of the dumpster. He hid in the shadows, peering carefully around the dumpster. A black sedan had stopped in the alleyway, and the passenger side door was open. Andre struggled to see if anyone was coming towards him with the high-beams of the sedan aimed straight at him. A black silhouette of a man, wielding a semi-automatic handgun, was searching for him, but the sound of approaching sirens in the distance startled the dark figure. Andre breathed a sigh of relief as the man shuffled his feet noisily as he got back in the car and drove off. As soon as he was sure that the coast was clear, Andre stood up and brushed some of the dirt off of himself, the bleeding ache in his side reminding him how close he was to not making it to see another day. Andre was tired of running for his life all his time. It was time for him to make a change.
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Maria stirred in her bed at the sound of knocking at her window. Andre rapped on the window once again. This time Maria slowly sat up and after seeing Andre through the dingy glass, put on a robe before unlocking the window and opening it. He was slumped against the railing of the fire escape, blood soaking his shirt, and his hand pressing against the wound he received earlier to slow the bleeding. Maria helped him crawl through the window into her apartment, then went into the her closet to grab her bag of medical supplies. Normally, Maria would use these supplies when she was helping out at the free clinic at the shelter downtown, but tonight she needed it for different reasons. Andre was now laying on the floor near the window he crawled through. Maria methodically began cleaning the wound, while Andre tried his best to not show the pain he was feeling. There was no bullet in the wound, it had passed clean through and, luckily, missed any vital organs. Maria was relieved when she discovered this, and was able to stitch up the wounds quickly. After cleaning up the bloody mess Andre had created, Maria opened up a closet and pulled out a pillow and blanket. She helped Andre up onto the couch, he was still week from the blood he lost. He was already dozing off, as Maria tucked him in and cut off the lights. It had been a long night for both of them.
Andre woke up to the smell of coffee brewing, and warm sunlight coming through the windows. Maria was dressed in hospital scrubs, eating the last bit of toast and jam, before heading out the door to work. Seeing that he was awake, Maria said, “Help yourself to anything you can find to eat and try not to move too much. You don’t want to tear the stitches I put in you last night. Rest, and we can talk more when I get home from work. I’ll see if I can get you anything for the pain” Andre nodded, knowing he had a lot of explaining to do. Maria grabbed her keys and bag, before making her way to the apartment door. She closed the door quietly behind her, and Andre winced as he got up to make himself something for breakfast.
There was still a piercing pain in his side if he moved the wrong way, but not as bad as last night. He knew it would take a while until the pain subsided fully. He would definitely have at least one scar to remind him of the whole ordeal. He was thankful that the coffee pot wasn’t empty, and poured himself a cup. He drank it black, with more sugar than he knows was good for him. Andre dropped a couple of pieces of bread in the toaster, and his gaze drifted outside the window at the clouds drifting across the sky. The view was obscured by the urban landscape, but between each building, a little bit of the blue sky was able to peek through. Andre was lost in thought. The events that unfolded last night were much too close for comfort, but Andre knew he had to do the right thing. After his near death experience last night, he knew that doing the right thing was not going to be easy.
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Andre had pretty much grown up on his own. His mother did the best she could trying to raise him as a single mother, but working two jobs to make ends meet didn’t leave much time for her to actually spend raising her son. Andre got mixed up with the wrong side of the law early on in life. By the time he had reached high school, he had been in and out of juvenile detention a handful of times on various charges. By the time Andre was 18, he had dropped out of high school and earned himself a reputation as someone that could get things done. If he didn’t know how to do it himself, he knew somebody that could get it done – whatever it was. It was this reputation of getting things done, that landed him in this latest situation.Normally Andre didn’t find himself with the dangerous end of a gun pointed in his direction, and it was even less often that bullets were actually flying at him. This time he knew too much, and that made him a liability. Andre didn’t even know who was after him at this point, but he knew why.
–To be continued…

Photos from the Philippines


If you have been following this blog, you would have seen my previous post/rant about my recent trip to the Philippines (previous post: A Very Long Trip Home). I did capture a few images while I was there, that I would like to share with everyone.

Villa Escudero Resort – San Pablo City, Philippines (villaescudero.comVilla Escudero’s Facebook page)

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Miscellaneous Pictures in the Philippines

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A Very Long Trip Home

 

This morning I arrived home from what has probably been my worst travel experience, up to date. It wasn’t the destination that made it bad. It was the delays I experienced on the way home, that have left me feeling the way I do today. My flight was scheduled to leave Manila, Philippines at 6:30 am a couple of days ago. It was delayed due to some less than desirable weather. A tropical storm hit the Philippines just about the same time I was supposed to flying out, and of course my flight was delayed.

After calling the airline, I was informed that my flight had been rescheduled for 3:55 that afternoon. I showed up to the airport around 1:00 pm to check in. After saying good-bye to my family members that had driven me to the airport, I waited to board my flight. Then I waited some more… And then I waited some more. The flight finally started boarding around 6:30 pm – over 2 hours later than what I was told.
By this time, my connecting flight to New York City, out of Beijing, China, was long gone – it was scheduled for 1:30 pm earlier that day. I didn’t arrive in Beijing until about 1:30 am. The airline provided me with a hotel room for the night, well, half a hotel room. I had to share a room with one of the other passengers that also missed a connecting flight. That wasn’t ideal, but it wasn’t terrible. I was able to take a shower and get some food, but I didn’t get any sleep.

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Beijing, China – checking into the hotel

I didn’t get checked into the hotel until about 4:00 am. It had taken that long for me to get through China’s immigration and catch a bus to the hotel. I checked out at 10:00 am to check into my flight scheduled for 1:00 pm – a day later than I was originally supposed to fly out. This plane didn’t take off until 2:30 pm, which seems to be on par with what I had been experiencing with this airline.
It took about 12 hours to get to New York City. After getting through US immigration, I grabbed a cab to Chinatown and was just in time to catch the bus back to Virginia – another 7 hours of travel. I had barely made it in time – the bus had pulled into the station as I was buying my ticket.


I finally arrived in Virginia at around 1:30 am this morning. It was a good feeling to finally be home, but the travel ordeal has take it’s toll on me. Besides being extremely tired, my body was sore. My tailbone ached from sitting for such a long time, my back ached, I’ve got a sore throat, and my nose was beginning to run.
I’m glad to be home. It will take me a few days to get over the jet lag. And before I actually lay down and sleep, I’m going out for hot soup and a sandwich.

Pursuing My Passions

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About a month ago, I was having a conversation with my mother while eating lunch. The subject somehow found its way to art, and my mother was telling me how gifted she thought I was and how great she thought my artwork is. I then told her, that I wanted to pursue something creative as a career.

I have been thinking about going back to school and getting a second degree in graphic design. I currently have a bachelor’s degree in computer science, but I haven’t been able to land a job in that field. I have a pretty good job right now, doing technical support on the phones for one of the leading electronic companies. What is a good job, it’s not something that I feel is a career and I am nearing plateau as far as advancement. I feel like it’s a time for change. I want something I can call a career, not just a job. Not only that, I want a career I can be passionate about.

Well okay, let me get back to that conversation I was having with my mother. I had just told her, more or less, that I want to pursue my dreams.that I want to pursue my dreams. After hearing the compliments she had for me, I was expecting her to be supportive… Or at least, be open to the idea of me doing more creatively. What she said next has been bugging me ever since. Instead of saying anything remotely positive, she jumped right into saying that I needed to be “practical”. Then comma she went on to say that I could do it on the side, but I needed to keep working a “real job”.

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This pretty much ended the conversation. I’ve always wanted to do things that would allow me to be creative, and this is always been her response. I guess I was foolish to expect anything else. When I was younger, I love this train of thought determine what I did. After High School I just started working. After a while, my parents offered to send me to school in the Philippines where I, eventually, got my degree in computer science – something that seemed “practical”. Since coming back to the United States after college, I feel like I’ve done everything but work in the field that I studied.

I do appreciate the job I have today, but I know that this is not the end of the road for me. I don’t plan to quit this job and become a starving artist, but I do realize that I need to start pursuing my dreams.I believe that the talent I have been given and the passion that is deep inside my heart were given to me by God. If I pursue what’s in my heart, I believe I will be successful. I know getting there will not be easy. I don’t have any attention to not be “practical” in the pursuit of my passions, but I’m no longer going to let being “practical” get in the way of pursuing the things I’m passionate about.

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