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The Man

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Richard strolled by the man’s sidewalk home, slowing down, his mind elsewhere, but he never forgot to drop a dollar bill into the coffee stained Dunkin Donuts cup. The men exchanged a nod, revealing the silent comfort between them. For all but that second, these men existed in two different worlds.
The man spent his days entranced in a state of observation and anticipation, mornings consumed sitting outside a 38th street office building, counting on the compassion of strangers, who had more than enough to give. His cup gained weight, mostly from spare change, and the occasional dollar bill from a conscience wary executive. While he told the probing donors that he would use the money to shower, eat, and get back on his feet, it always went to the same place. A clever man, he was always told he belonged in sales. At the point where his cup filled with just enough money to top off his grandfather’s stainless steel flask, his days reached their climax with a trip to the liquor store.
Richard, a dedicated man, was a young 35 and found that success in the business world came to him easily. Richard was prompt to work everyday, wearing a neatly pressed suit and never giving anyone the impression that he was struggling. He had flown through the ranks rather quickly, and conventional knowledge was that he would wind up in upper management before he even reached 40. Richard tried to take it one day at a time, brushing off everyone’s jokes that some day he’d be their boss, with a modest response.
He sat at his desk, cold and silent. His mind raced, thinking only the worst. Every couple of minutes Richard would rub his hand down his neck, slowing down as it passed over the lump that had grown two centimeters in the past month. That morning he visited with an oncologist a friend had recommended, finally succumbing to that fact that there was something wrong with him. Richard had put off the doctor’s appointment as long as possible, hoping it was just a lymph node still enlarged as he was getting over a cold. The cold was months ago and the lymph node only continued to grow. The office functioned as normal around him, while he remained a statue at his desk staring at the phone, waiting for the doctor’s call.
The phone rang. A rush of anxiety hit him, all of his fears suddenly raced through his head. He remained motionless as the phone continued to ring. His peers’ gentle gazes turned to stares, as Richard, beaded with sweat, willed his hand away from his side to pick up the phone, “Yes this is Richard, what’s the news doctor?” There was a long pause before Richard spoke again. He slouched in his swivel chair, ran his hand through his hair, and loosened his tie, “and how can we fight this?” Another pause. “Do you think my brother could be a match? Can I come with him later today to get tested?” He began to pack up his things and put on his jacket, “Ok doctor we’ll see you then.”
Richard slinked out of the building and saw the unshaven man, dressed in rags adjacent to the shopping cart overflowing with his possessions. Richard stood over the man, “How are you doing Jack, I need a favor.”



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