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And he walked
And he walked, intentions fixed, on to the next street and the next, past the Jacobs' white wash fence, past the orange street lights. Keeping up the pace, toes pressing on the asphalt; A fire in his heart and wonder in his eyes. But as he walked the shadows grew tall. And it wasn't long before he began to feel small. So he stuck to the light and the well-traveled path.
The barefooted boy came to man on the side of the road, his legs were bent and his back was bowed.
Out of the dirt where the man sat protruded crank. He sat there and turned it as fast as he could around and around, the best that he could. But the boy wondered at why the man thought that he should.
"Excuse me sir?" "Yes boy?" "Why do you turn that crank?" "To keep the gears turning boy"
"Why must they turn?"
“To run the machine boy! Has your father told you nothing? Now get out of here I'm trying to work!"
So the barefooted boy kept walking along until next to a sign post he spotted a woman. Her arms were free but her feet were tied to the sign post close beside. Her arms she kept busy spinning a wheel as fast as she could around and around the best that she could.
"Excuse me ma’am" "Oh hello son I didn't see you there" "May I ask you a question?"
"Well, I am somewhat busy but I guess you may, just keep it short I don't have all day"
"Well that wheel you're spinning, what does it do?" "Well it pulls the belts of course" "And the belts run the machine?" "Yup! I see your father's taught you well" “May I ask one more question?"
"Okay but just one more" "What keeps you here?"
“Well I have to pay the bills boy! Do you think money grows on trees? Is there something wrong with your head boy? Go on now I don't have anything else to say to you"
So he turned and went on his way. He walked towards the sun and the sun walked towards him. And if he looked closely over the hills he could just make out its rim. But it was still dark like night where he stood on the pavement except for the faint remnants of the street lamps orange light.
The boy was passing a stretch of forest when he heard a rustling so for a moment he paused; a hand reached out and bent the trees spreading the bushes that grew by the curb
The boy turned and stared too frightened to speak His whole body quivered and his knees grew weak.
But the voice that came from the gap in the trees was deep yet soft and spoke along with the breeze
"Hello there son. Why do you shake? Are you afraid? I have a secret for you, would you like to hear?"
"Well lean a little closer and listen to me. You saw those people out on the road, do they look free? They can't get away even if they tried but look here above my head. Money may not sprout from these branches but they do grow fruit and ask for nothing more from you than you may give by living. And the best part yet the trees let you be, they don't try to trap or entangle your legs! Oh but I'm getting carried away. I must not keep you any longer go on be on your way,"
So the barefooted boy still shaking a bit took one last look at the forests face and walked onward towards the sun. The sun was rising and with it a silhouette The silhouette turned and smoked and shook But the boy kept walking, because he wanted a look At what this strange creature was As he approached it he could see it clear Billows of smog, pistons spinning a gear And a suffocating stench that clouded the air.
"What are you?"
The machine choked and sputtered, "I just am" "Why are you?"
The machine creaked and moaned, "Because, the people they keep me here, they keep on turning my gears."