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Light streaming in from the window blanketed his dusty face. The rags that he was wearing were falling apart and seemed to be holding on by just a thread, but this only enhanced the look he was trying to pull. His crusted over eyes cracked open to see the dazzling sun shining, as if giving him a cheery good morning. Groaning in disgust he sat up and surveyed his pitiful excuse for a home. Cardboard walls, dirty mattresses, plastic windows, everything was made from what you can find in your average dumpster. Sighing he gets up to his feet and looks to the right.
--Get up Nick, he said, kicking Nick’s mattress, time to work.
--Awww come on Jason! It’s freakin’ seven in the morning! Nick groaned. I’m going back to bed.
--Come on! You know that the earlier we beg the more we get! exclaimed Jason.
--Yeah I guess… Nick sighed slowly rising out of his decrepit bed, But it doesn’t make it any less annoying. You gonna grab the signs?
--Nah I’ll make new ones, the old ones are in pretty bad shape.
He walked to the table made of sticks and a pizza box, were squares of cardboard were laid along with black markers. Thinking about it, he scribbled In the name of Jesus, any help will be appreciated, thank you. Ha! Like Jesus gives a cr*p about anyone, he smiled to himself, but I’ll write anything if it helps to get food on the table, or box. You ready? he asked Nick.
--Hehh… yeah let’s go. Nick responded.
Jason and Nick walked out of their rundown shack out into the alleyway of the bustling city, Los Angeles. It was rush-hour time, incisive honking of raging city folk could be heard for miles all around. There were raging drivers, crying drivers, drunk drivers, and bored drivers; those were the ones that would give the most money. Alright, you go right and I’ll go left. We’ll meet back at the house at five. Got it?
--Yeah yeah... Nick grumbled. Snatching his sign out of Jason’s hand, and going off in the direction he was told. Starting with the first car he knocked on the window and was answered with a middle finger. Not noticing his partner leave the street, Nick continued to work his tiresome job. Sighing he went to the next one, and the next one, and the next one, until he rounded the corner, out of sight.
Jason was starting to itch now. He hadn’t had a fix in over a week now, and now he is starting to crack. He looked behind him to see if Nick was following, when he sure he wasn’t he turned into an alleyway. Walking up to a door he knocked two times, paused, and then three. A hulking black man opened the door.
--What do you want? The gargantuan man questioned
--I’m here to see Paul.
--Very well. He motioned for Jason to enter. Jason walked into the place and the big man shut the door behind him. He walked down a long hallway, the glaring eyes ever present from the gorilla behind him. He reached a metal door and knocked on it.
--Come in come in. A voice called beyond the door. Jason opened it to find a wide open room. The room was almost totally bare except for a chair in the middle of it, and a guy sitting on the chair. So you’re back! I haven’t seen you in a while.
--Yeah I know, money has been pretty tight lately, Jason explained, but I really need it right now!
--Of course, of course. So before anything, where is the money?
--Oh yeah! Digging into his pockets he pulled out a couple bills. Offering them to Paul he said, Umm here, it’s all I’ve got.
--What is this? Twenty dollars? What do you expect to get with this? barked Paul.
--Well, I thought because we went to high school together, maybe you can give me a break or som…
--Shut up! I don’t give two s***s about you! There are only two things that are important in my life! Me and my money! Now here! Tossing a small packet with some white powder he yells, Fifty bucks by the end of the week or you’re dead!
Catching the packet, Jason bolts it out of the apartment. Reaching the outside doesn’t stop him as he runs out of the ally and down the street. After a good five blocks he stops near a dumpster to catch his breath. His breathing regulated he reaches into his pocket and pulls out the packet of powder. Pouring some into the palm of his hand he looks at it. One day I’ll quit, he thought, but not today. Putting his nose to the powder in his hands he snorts it all up.
Eyes rolling back into his head, he rides his little joy ride, but only for a brief moment. He soon comes back to reality, his disgraceful reality. Sighing, he starts off to work his share of the cars, but a sound stops him. A faint crying noise can be heard down an alley beside him. Figuring it’s better than panhandling; he decides to check out this disturbance. It wasn’t long before he came upon a saddening sight. A boy, no more than eight, was sitting legs curled up and crying. His hair and clothes look dirty, but not torn up or mangled.
--Hey kid, what’s eatin ya? Asked Jason
--What? The kid said looking up at him
--Why are you crying? He restated
--My dad and mom! The boy was able to say before a torrent of wailing erupted from him.
--Woah, woah kid. Calm down.
--I can’t! I can’t find mommy or daddy! After the accident I just ran away and didn’t look back! He screamed
--Hey, hey. Just calm down, I’ll help you find them. Jason reassured
--You will? The kid looked up in fascination, stopping the flow of tears.
--Yeah, follow me, it’s getting late. Jason told him and he began to walk back to his shack. The boy scrambled to his feet and quickly followed. It was about six o’clock when Jason and the boy made it back to the shack. Jason knocked on the door and went in, followed by the child. Nick was sitting on a chair by the cardboard table.
--You’re late. Where have you been? He then noticed the boy. And who is this kid? I’m gonna roll over on you if you kidnapped him! Yelled Nick
--What? No! He is just a kid that is lost, we have to help him find his parents. Explained Jason.
--Screw that! There’s an orphanage down the road. Drop him off there.
--I don’t want to go there! I want mommy and daddy! Wailed the boy.
--Well you can go be mister hero all you want, but I’m here to survive. So, as I see it there are only two options now. Help this helpless child find his parents, or stay with me and survive.
Jason just sat in silence, thinking, just thinking of what to do.